Andrew Beyer, racing columnist for The Washington Post, won $195,070.50 yesterday at Laurel Race Course. In a crowd of 10,891, he was the only one to correctly project the double-triple, something that had not been done in 15 days.
The winning ticket was his largest in 20 years of horseplaying. In April, he won $134,682 by hitting a double-triple at Pimlico.
He invested $1,296 in Laurel's double-triple, which requires bettors to select the first three finishers in the third and fifth races. He sold minor shares but said "the vast majority" of the bonanza was his. He cashed for $156,056.40 after a federal tax deduction of 20 percent.
In the double-triple, each correct third-race triple combination brings a payoff and one fifth-race triple exchange. Yesterday's third race threw a scare into many double-triple chasers but ultimately left many with high hopes.
Bill The Blaze was cast off at 87-1 odds after failing to finish his last race at Timonium, but showed new life. He sprang from the gate and led until midstretch as Smart Tip (7-2), Specific's Lester (8-1) and favored Don Freluche (5-2) closed in.
Smart Tip overtook him a furlong from the wire, but even then Bill The Blaze refused to wither. Specific's Lester passed him about 10 strides out and Don Freluche overtook him just before the wire. The 6-7-1 sequence produced 733 live tickets, so many that the first-half double triple of $36 returned $6 less than the exacta.
Beyer had 24 winning tickets, which brought him $864 and 24 chances for a major score. He also had a few angles. In reviewing races at the track's video library, he discovered that Big A.J. had had a very difficult trip in his only start. And through computer analysis, Beyer said he gleaned insight into an unraced gelding named Lanahan.
He said the dam of Lanahan, Lady Pippin, had produced two offspring who won their debuts. Lanahan attracted little backing, however, whereupon Beyer decided to use the 40-1 shot only in the third slot. He needed A Call To Rise, Big A.J. or favored Runaway Willie to run first and second, and any of six horses to finish third.
He placed his wager in the press box and raced down three floors to the Sports Palace, intent on sitting in the same seat and watching the same TV screen he had employed in his double-triple conquest last April. (Laurel was simulcasting Pimlico's races that day.)
A Call To Rise lagged amid the 14-horse field early on, but he gradually advanced and took command after circling into the stretch. Big A.J. followed with a powerful rally, and Lanahan managed to push past Bearded Monk in the final strides to complete a 6-9-10 triple.
"It was only in the last millisecond I saw the silks of the 10 horse, and even then I wasn't totally certain," Beyer said.
Within minutes the race was made official, and Beyer walked triumphantly to cash his ticket.
"The Sports Palace applauded when I went to the window," he said. "It was a touching moment." International Takes Shape
Laurel President Joe De Francis said he expects a strong foreign contingent for the D.C. International. Pre-entries for the five-race International Turf Festival Oct. 20-21 will close at noon today. . . .
Gala Goldilocks overtook Saratoga Triple on the far turn and beat Stem The Tide by three lengths in the $38,550 Cameo Stakes.