They say if you’re a gambler, you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.

Pete and Laura Lepo had just been holding a fork and folding a napkin after dinner at Remington Park on April 26 when they discovered they’d won a new car in the “Remington Wheel Deal.”

Pete said when he heard his name over the loudspeaker, his first thought was, “What do they want me for now?”

What racetrack officials wanted was to tell the couple they’d just won a brand-new, bright-red Chevrolet Cobalt sports car.

That evening, the couple had enjoyed a little time on the slot machines — “contributing to Oklahoma schools,” Pete said — and decided to eat dinner at the buffet, knowing the car was to be given away that night. The person whose name was drawn had to be present to win.

The Lepos visit the race track about three times a week, and enter the monthly drawings for car give-aways as frequently as possible. Last month, Pete said he probably had about 20 tickets in the drawing, and Laura had “at least 30,” she said.

“I just knew that was going to be our car,” Laura said. “I just knew it. At dinner when they were telling about the giveaway, I said, ‘Pete, they’re talking about our car.’”

When racetrack personnel called the first winning name, the person didn’t respond within the allotted three minutes, so a second name was drawn.

“I heard them say, ‘Peter’ and I looked at him, then when they said ‘Lepo,’ I started screaming,” Laura said.

Pete’s ticket was one of 30,000 in the drawing that night. And even though his name was on the winning entry, the car ended up being Laura’s new ride.

“I had that car for about 3 minutes,” Pete laughed.

The couple has lived in Edmond about four years, and Pete retired in December from his position as an operations manager for Boeing.

For Laura, driving a little red sports car is a bit of a change from her former occupation as part-owner and operator of a 50-ton hydro crane operator in California.

As part of that job, she helped construct scenery and sets for the major movie studios.

“It was a great job,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Maybe not quite as much fun as a road trip to California, where the Lepos plan to drive their new car soon, making a few stops in Nevada to play the machines there.

“Now that he’s retired, we can do that,” Laura said.

Brenda Sanchez, Remington Park Casino general manager, was one of the officials present to hand the Lepos their key to the little red sports car.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier for them.”

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