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2000s / 2002 Breeders Cup Betting Scandal
On October 26, 2002, Christopher Harn and two buddies masterminded one of the most talked about betting scandals ever. The annual Breeders Cup races are often called the Super Bowl of horse racing. Six races are run. The popular Pick Six wager requires a bettor to select the winners of all six races prior to the first race being run. The payoff can be enormous if anyone achieves the feat. As an employee of the computer company that handled off-track betting, Harn used his technical know-how to attempt to beat the system. On Breeders Cup day he placed a routine bet using a friend's off-track account. Then, after four races had been run, Harn took advantage of his knowledge of when the results were transmitted. Harn went to his office and altered his friend's original bet to give him the first four winners of the Pick Six. Then he 'boxed' the last two races, ensuring a winning ticket regardless of which horses happened to win the last two races. The payoff was an astounding $3 million. Unfortunately for Harn, the payoff was too rich for his own good. The bet was immediately flagged as suspicious because of the odd betting sequence and because too many longshots had won that day. Eventually investigators pried a confession out of Harn and his co-conspirators. They were convicted of fraud.