The great mystery of Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy’s big day at the race track has been solved.
Last week, Duffy revealed his 2011 tax returns to the media, showing $2,628 in gambling winnings that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aides said came from a single day at Saratoga Race Track, north of Albany.
After a meeting of Cuomo’s cabinet today, Duffy unveiled his strategy: pure luck.
“It was one blind, lucky day,” he said.
Duffy’s entire winnings came on a $2 bet on the sixth race on Aug. 13, when he nailed a trifecta — picking the top three horses in the order of their finish. The payout was $2,630, according to NYRA.
“It was my first time ever being at a race track in my life,” said Duffy, the former Rochester mayor. “A couple from Rochester invited my wife and I to go with them, so we drove our own car on a Saturday.”
The secret to his success didn’t come from studying a race program or obsessing over a horses previous race. It was all in the horses’ names, Duffy said.
And those names were: Clip the Coupons, Right to Vote and Love to Run, in that order.
“My sophistication for horse racing is as follows — I pick names,” Duffy said. “One was Right to Vote, because I’m from the home of Susan B. Anthony; No. 2 was Clip the Coupons, which my wife does extremely well; and the third was … Love to Run, and I’m a runner.”
Duffy’s status as a horse-racing rookie showed when he went to the betting window. Someone suggested that he bet an exacta — correctly picking the first- and second-place horses. “But I misspoke and said trifecta,” Duffy said.
“I went back and I was blown away by the amount of money from a relatively small bet,” Duffy said. “I gave my identification, I gave them my receipt, I ensured that I paid my taxes, and I bought dinner for the other couple. And that was the first and last time that I have ever been at a horse-racing track.”
Duffy said he would likely return to Saratoga some day, but not to bet.
“Anybody who hasn’t been there, you don’t have to bet on horses,” he said. “Just walk around and see the place. See the excitement. It was a great day.”
Cuomo’s reaction, according to Duffy, was succinct: “Luck of the Irish.”