Tulsa attorney Lee Levinson took a chance with his passion for horse racing, and this past weekend it paid off.
"My dad gave me five bucks to bet, by the time it was over I'd won $50. I thought, ‘This was easy money,’ that's how I got hooked."
Levinson has loved horse racing since he was 10; 30 years ago he bought some horses and trained them. They weren’t too successful, but he didn't give up.
Later in life, Levinson paired up with Don Nelson - a district attorney in Creek County - and started L and N racing.
"I said, ‘Don, someday I'll be in the Kentucky Derby,’ and I laughed,” he said. “We bought good horses and we got lucky. It’s a dream.”
It wasn’t a joke or a dream; one of the horses they bought was Lookin at Lee, and after a couple good results, Levinson was at this year’s Kentucky Derby.
"It was an out of this world experience, that's the best way to put it,” Levinson said. “Some people spend 10s of millions of dollars to get in the derby and I was fortunate to have one."
Lookin at Lee was bought for $70,000.
In the Derby, it was in the first post position, set off at 33 to 1 odds.
"We come out of the gate slow, but we have tremendous closing speed so I didn't think the one hole would kill us like everybody thought, and I really thought we had a good chance to win the race," Levinson said.
Second place was the result - but at long shot odds, local bettors won some unexpected change.
"A lot of people cashed tickets. I've had calls, that's the best part, all day, thanking me. That's the most money they've one in their lives," Levinson said.
Now, for Levinson and Lookin at Lee, it's on to the Preakness, then the Belmont.
"We're getting better. We're going to run the Preakness in two weeks - they'll be less horses. I think the Belmont, at a mile-and-a-half, we'll really be hard to beat, but I feel fortunate we've got one of the best 3-year-olds in the country," he said.