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Fantasy 5 winner can't believe his good luck

SPRING HILL — About 1 a.m. Friday, John Gilmor sat down at his computer and called up the Florida Lottery Web site to find the previous night's Fantasy 5 winning numbers.

Up popped 7, 11, 21, 28, 34 — his numbers.

Sharing the $207,772 payoff with three other winners across the state meant a cool $51,943 for the 60-year-old retired electrician.

Not too shabby. But he's done better.

Earlier this year, he took home $268,249 as the sole winner in a Fantasy 5 game. In 1991, he raked in more than $169,000 in another shared Fantasy 5 payout.

"I think it's unreal," Gilmor said Monday. "I'm still a little dazed. The odds are, well, I don't know."

Neither does the Florida Lottery. The agency can tell you the odds of winning once, and its records can track Fantasy 5 winners by county. But agency officials cannot say how many people have won multiple times.

Spokeswoman Amanda Marquartt said Monday that she has never heard of a three-time Fantasy 5 winner, but she guessed that there probably have been other multiple winners over the 20 years of the lottery's existence.

"A lot of people play religiously and on different games, scratch-offs, specials," she said.

Count Gilmor among them.

He plays the lottery every day, he said, mostly Fantasy 5 but sometimes dropping a few bucks on Lotto and the new Powerball game.

Last week, he splurged and bought $30 worth of tickets instead of his usual $20 outlay. He bought them at the Sweetbay grocery store on Mariner Boulevard, the same place he bought last year's winning ticket. "It seems like a lucky place," he said.

His 1991 win came on a ticket he picked up at a convenience store on County Line Road.

Gilmor has created different sets of five numbers each, numbers he "just drew out of the air." Each time he plays, he uses the same sets. But each winning combination has been a different set.

After learning of his good fortune on Friday, he woke his mother, Marie Gilmor, 84. He lives with her in a house he paid off with his 1991 winnings. The second time, he bought a Cadillac to replace his aging Pontiac.

"It's not a luxury item," he said. "It's a nice car."

Gilmor was almost nonchalant about what he will do with his new winnings. "Gee, I don't know," he said. "Put it in the bank and think about it, just get some interest right now."

He added that his son, Jim Gilmor of Tampa, has been out of work due to a bad back and needs surgery. "So I'll be helping him out on the bills."

Gilmor also will set aside some money for his 9-year-old grandson, Logan, for college. A Vietnam veteran, he noted that the Disabled American Veterans is his favorite charity.

The Long Island, N.Y., native moved to Florida in 1974 and worked as an electrician until three back injuries rendered him disabled in 1992.

As Gilmor prepared Monday to head to Tampa and turn in his winning ticket at the lottery office, he grimaced. "I'm in a lot of pain today," he said.

While some would say Gilmor is an unusually lucky guy, the divorced father noted that good fortune doesn't touch everything in life.

Beth Gray can be contacted at graybethn@earthlink.net.

Fantasy 5 winner can't believe his good luck 10/05/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 5, 2009 10:30pm]
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