Can the amazing Kentucky Derby win of 'Margaret from Austin' help revive the fortunes of the state's parimutual betting industry?
Officials at Retama Park, where the woman managed to take an $18 dollar bet on Saturday's races and win $1.2 million tell 1200 WOAI news it definitely can.
"I can see the comments that people were making about this, and they were favorble," Retama Park Racing Manager Steve Ross says. "Many were saying, 'hey, we should go to Retama Park'."
The Texas horse racing industry has been stumbling for years, amid more varied gambling options offered in other states, and the stubborn refusal of the Texas Legislature to grant the state's three big paramutual tracks the right to open slot machines, 'historic racing' devices and other types of gambling.
But Ross says Margaret's big win has done for Retama what a winning lottery player does for the Texas Lottery, energize potential customers."People play the lottery because of this idea that 'I can win so much money that I can be set for life'," he said. "At the race track, you don't usually have that type of life changing amounts."
But he says there is already evidence that Margaret, who picked the winner not just of the Kentucky Derby, but of the four races preceding it as well, could refocus bettor interest in the ponies.
PHOTO COURTESY; RETAMA PARK