Harness Racing: We Was Robbed!

The Friday night crowd at Long Island's Roosevelt Raceway was in a festive mood. In the grandstand, beer cans rattled and pari-mutuel machines beat a steady thunk, thunk, thunk. In the Cloud Casino, champagne corks popped and waiters served steaks. For some, it was just a night at the races. But most were drawn there by a fantasy of instant wealth.

Just two nights before, Joseph Mariano, 39, a Waterbury, Conn., bartender, had made an alltime record killing $79,660.30 on a $2 ticket—by picking four straight winners in Roosevelt's "twin double." Now, as eight pacers raced toward the finish of the...

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