As did most bettors, a 25-year-old clerk at Hollywood Park thought that Sunday Silence was a sure thing in the eighth race on July 23.
But Sunday Silence came in second, losing to Prized by three-quarters of a length.
The clerk has admitted losing more than $5,000 in track money that day, police said. They were not notified until last Saturday, after the track gave the clerk a chance to repay the money, investigators said.
The clerk, identified only as a Long Beach resident, told track officials that he initially bet $200 of Hollywood Park's money on earlier races, police said. He bet on Sunday Silence to get even, police said.
When that didn't work, he bet $3,000 on the final race, still trying to get even.
Again, he picked the wrong horse.
The clerk failed to show up for work the next day, but returned the following day and admitted taking the money. He was fired.
"He violated every rule of the Hollywood Park Race Board," said Inglewood Police Sgt. Harold P. Moret.
The man has not been arrested but the district attorney's office is investigating, Moret said.
Neither the track's management nor the former clerk could be reached for comment. The former clerk worked for an auto dealership until last Thursday, a spokeswoman for the dealer said.