03/16/2008 12:00AM

Man wins $1 million in Santa Anita promotion


ARCADIA, Calif. - Georgie Boy was not the biggest winner at Santa Anita on Saturday. John Placzankis won $1 million by throwing a ringer in the track's St. Pat's Pitch, a horseshoe throwing contest in which five fans are randomly selected in a drawing and get a single toss at throwing a ringer.

Placzankis, 41, looked stunned when his toss wrapped around the stake, then said, "The drinks are on me," when Santa Anita’s in-house television department interviewed him.

Placzankis was the second of five contestants, all of whom got a single throw, without a warm-up. None of the other contestants came close.

On ESPN Saturday night, Placzankis's throw was No. 4 on the top 10 plays of the day countdown.

According to George Haines, the general manager at Santa Anita, the $1 million promotion was insured.

Placzankis, who lives in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., east of Santa Anita, is a native of New Rochelle, N.Y.. He said he moved to California eight years ago.

"I was just trying to relax," he said of his throw. "I’m pretty calm and I was actually just trying to throw it like a softball."

Placzankis said he had not thrown a horse shoe "in like 30 years."

Placzankis is single.

"I'll pay some bills and take care of my nieces and nephews," he said. "I'm also going to take care of my mom back home."