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As the long-time manager of Foxwoods Resort Casino's race book, Nancy Zirofsky knows a thing or two about the horses.
In fact, Saturday's 139th Kentucky Derby "played out as I envisioned," Zirofsky said Monday, having won $28,542 on a bet she placed in advance of the race at Mohegan Sun's race book. (Casino employees are prohibited from gambling where they work.)
Zirofsky, of North Franklin, won a superfecta, in which she picked the race's first four finishers. She "boxed" a number of possible outcomes, investing $32 on the bet. She picked Orb, the favorite, to win; covered all possible second-place finishers; and picked Revolutionary and Normandy Invasion to finish third and fourth, which they did. She would have won if they'd finished in reverse order, too.
In a straight superfecta, a bettor must pick the exact order of the first four finishers.
"I handicapped the race last Wednesday night," Zirofsky said. "I loved Orb ever since he won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (in February). After seeing Normandy Invasion in the Wood Memorial I knew he figured to like the distance at Churchill Downs. Revolutionary drew my attention, too, especially when they picked up (jockey) Calvin Borel. He's a three-time Derby winner."
Hoping for a long shot to finish second, Zirofsky got her wish when Golden Soul, whose odds were 34-1, placed.
Zirofsky said she never played a superfecta before, preferring trifectas instead. She played a few of those on Derby Day, too.
The betting's fun, she said, but it's the sport of horse racing she loves.
"It's a great game, a great sport," she said. "The equine and human athletes are both amazing. The sheer beauty of the sport is what attracts most players."
Zirofsky started playing the horses before she met her husband, Mark, and they've enjoyed the pastime together during their 34-year marriage.
"I've seen a considerable increase in the number of women in the sport in my 18 years at Foxwoods," she said. "As jockeys, owners, trainers, race book managers. ... And players, too."