SPRING HILL — Dorothy Perez has wanted a Mustang since she was 14 years old.
On Tuesday, the 47-year-old woman got one — for free.
Perez was the first winner in the Florida Lottery's $250,000 Mustang Money scratch-off game, in which 10 Mustangs eventually will be given away.
Her dream was realized when she claimed one of the 2010 Ford Mustang V-6 convertibles at the lottery office in Tampa.
"I've always wanted a Mustang since I was a teenager," Perez said during an interview Tuesday evening at her Spring Hill home.
The winning $5 lottery ticket was purchased by Perez's boyfriend, Richard Harris, 52, at the Circle K store at 6227 Deltona Blvd. in Spring Hill.
Harris, an avid lottery player, said he could not believe his eyes when he scratched off his ticket and saw the Mustang, the indication of a winning ticket.
"I was shocked for a very long time after that," Harris said.
Harris gave the ticket to Perez because owning a Mustang was something she always wanted.
The New York native said her family was in disbelief upon hearing the news.
The former teaching assistant who works with the elderly said she plans on letting all of her friends and family members go for rides in the sporty vehicle.
In addition to the top awards, the scratch-off contest includes smaller prizes, including cash ranging from $20 to $1,000.
The overall odds of winning a prize are 1 in 4.32, according to the Florida Lottery.
Players with losing tickets have the chance to enter the Mustang Money Second Chance Drawing for an additional shot at winning a car.
The red convertible is expected to take 10 to 14 weeks to be delivered, but Perez already has her eyes set on future road trips.
Perez and Harris' first stop: Savannah, Ga., home of celebrity chef Paula Deen's well-known Lady & Sons restaurant.
"I feel so lucky to have my dream car," she said.
"Our five-dollar ticket went a long way."