Talk about promotional magic.
Mark Verge, the new head man at Santa Anita, hit the jackpot with one of his brainstorms and took 32-year-old Greg Politano of Pasadena along with him.
Verge came up with the idea of a "Derby Owner for a Day" for the Santa Anita Derby. Politano entered (entries were free), had his name drawn and got to go to the paddock and the winner's circle when I'll have Another won the race. Verge's promotion was that, not only did Politano get to act and feel like an owner for a day, but Santa Anita gave him $1,000 to bet on the Santa Anita Derby winner in the Kentucky Derby.
So, when I'll Have Another, trained by Verge's boyhood friend, Doug O'Neill, won Saturday's Kentucky Derby, a stunned Politano won $16,300. He watched on TV with family in New Jersey and said he told his mother that the horse was going off at 15 to 1 and wasn't going to win.