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Winning Ticket Shared by 5

August 03, 2003|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

For most of Friday afternoon, things didn't go well for longtime horseplayer Jim Archbold and several of his friends at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa.

Saying he was unable to cash a ticket until the 11th of 13 races on the marathon card, Archbold, an insurance broker, said he was down $300.

Once Del Mar's twilight card began, fortunes turned in a life-changing way for Archbold, John Dado, Jim Arntz, Craig Miller and Scott Tucker.

Investing $26 apiece on a $128 ticket masterminded by Archbold and Dado, who is the father of Del Mar's vice president of marketing Craig Dado, the five men made off with a California record pick six payoff of $1,528,818.60.

Using two horses in each race, four of the five partners watched at Santa Rosa as Ganedyl ($13.40), Gods Ear ($23), Queenofluv ($12.60), Potrisunrise ($26.20), Roberta's Mango ($10.80) and Mistical Jaz ($23.20) won in succession.

Dado had left the track and had no idea what had happened until Archbold phoned him. Not believing his friend, Dado checked the results on his home computer to verify the score of a lifetime.

"I couldn't sleep at all last night," said Archbold, who, like Dado, Arntz, Miller and Tucker lives in Petaluma, which is 38 miles north of San Francisco. "It was such an adrenaline rush.

"When the last horse won, I was nervous because I knew what kind of ticket I was holding and I wanted to get out of there. We're just little guys who got lucky. John and I talked about the ticket at the table and it took us maybe 10 minutes to put it together.

"The other guys let me use the two extra dollars to buy a beer for getting the ticket. I love those ponies. This makes up for all those times that they faded in the stretch on me.''

In addition to their windfall for getting all six winners, the group also had six consolations worth $12,719 each, making their total payday, before taxes, $1,639.232.60. According to Archbold, the ticket is in a vault at Santa Rosa and the quintet is scheduled to cash it on Wednesday.

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