A retired school teacher turned a $3 play into a record $780,307 jackpot Tuesday evening at Kentucky Downs. That topped the prior record of $709,983 hit on July 14, 2018 on one of the entertainment facility’s parimutuel gaming terminals.
The woman, who asked not to be named but said she retired from teaching school in Ohio, was playing at a Scorchin Hot Ruby machine, one of Kentucky Downs’ Penny Slate terminals.
“I’ve tried and tried; I’ve been chasing it,” she said of the big payday. “In a million years I would not have dreamed that this would happen to me, but I’m so thankful that it did. I just moved to Nashville in December.
“Last week I came and played, and every machine back there (seemed to) hit the jackpot but mine. Today, something just drew me back here. This is something I love to do. I love Kentucky Downs. I used to come down at Christmas time and go to my daughter’s in Nashville, and I’d stop here. Every time I stopped, I might win $300 and be tickled to death.”
Kentucky Downs features 753 Exacta Systems gaming terminals with 61 unique game titles in a betting product called historical horse racing (HHR). Based on the results of previously-run horse races, HHR combines the flash and glitz of electronic gaming with the parimutuel wagering system on which American horse racing is based. As with live horse racing, guests are playing against each other in pools, rather than against the house.
“Large jackpots and frequent hits are what Kentucky Downs is known for,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ Senior Vice President and General Manager. “We love nothing more than for our guests to hit a life changing payoff. Even after this jackpot hit, we still have another 30 jackpots that combined are more than $530K waiting to be hit. It feels like there is always a jackpot frenzy happening here.”
Kentucky Downs on average pays out more than $3 million a month in jackpots. The track in September, 2011, was first in Kentucky to institute historical horse racing. Kentucky Downs' jackpots have ballooned from a total of $10.3 million in jackpot payouts in 2015 to $33.8 million in 2018.