LOUISVILLE, Ky. » It turns out Wes Welker’s luck at the Kentucky Derby extended beyond the racetrack and into the cashier’s window.
Welker was seen at Churchill Downs with a large stack of cash and handing out $100 bills to random people earlier this month.
A spokesman for Churchill Downs said Friday that a patron believed to be a member of Welker’s group was accidentally overpaid $14,898. TMZ reported that the Denver Broncos receiver sent a friend to collect his winnings for him.
"It was clearly an innocent mistake on both ends," said Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers. "We had a mutuel clerk and a tote technician accidentally overpay a patron on Kentucky Derby Day, an individual who walked away unknowingly with a $14,000 overpayment."
Although the track sent a letter to that individual seeking repayment, the track doesn’t expect to be repaid.
"It was our mistake, and we’re not necessarily worried about the recovery. We hope they come back to Churchill Downs with an extra $14,000 to burn," Rogers said.
Welker told "The Dan Patrick Show" on Friday that he and his friends never calculated how much they were due and that they made most of their winnings at the Kentucky Derby from boxing Commanding Curve, a 37-1 long shot that finished second.
Welker’s friend was supposed to receive $42,295.35 but instead was given $57,193.90 for an overpayment of $14,484.55, Rogers said. After processing some tickets, the screen on the tote terminal malfunctioned and went blank but it actually still had a total going, Rogers said. So, the patron was accidentally paid twice on those first few tickets.
The mistake was realized at the end of the day when the mutuel clerk was short $14,898, Rogers said.
"We investigated the matter, and it became clear very quickly that the mistake occurred on our end when this patron that we sent the letter to was cashing several tickets after the Kentucky Derby," he said.
Rogers said this type of mistake happens every few years. He said the director of mutuels told him he has sent about 10 such letters through the years and estimates the money was returned on four of the occasions.
"There are no demands within the letter whatsoever. It’s an explanation of the mistake and an opportunity for restitution. We’re not worried about the mistake that we made," Rogers said.