MISSOULA, Mont. - It's less than 24 hours before race time, but there's been a steady stream of racing fans placing bets on their favorite horses.
Most days, Katie O'Keefe's takes 10 to 200, maybe 300 simulcast bets. On Saturday, the day of the Derby, live teller bets could top 3,000. Self-serve betting machines could bring in 10,000 bets.
"It's My Lucky Day," said Cecile Sorensen of her favorite horse, as she placed bets in the Derby.
Bets will be taken right up until race time. There are now 19 contenders after Black Onyx scratched.
For weeks, fans have been hearing about horses that are projected to win or place high. There's Revolutionary, Orb and Verrazano.
"I like Revolutionary and I've got a little money from the futures on Overanalyze," said Tim Anderson, "so that would be a big one, and obviously Orb."
At 50 to 1, Montana fans have a special favorite.
"My brother says that Billings one, Frac Daddy, should be a good one, said Cecile Sorensen. "So we'll see."
Frac Daddy is owned by Magic City Thoroughbred Partners. A Caldwell, Idaho, jockey is riding Oxbow.
There's a good chance of rain at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Floyd Nicolai knows a lot about horses. He's a former jockey. He owned and trained race horses for years. He's paying attention to the weather forecast.
"I'm going to have to see if there's any good mudders in the form," said the horseman.
Katie O'Keefe's is expected to be packed on Saturday.
"And if we have a Triple Crown contender" said simulcast manager Val Crossland, "then the Belmont will be big."
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