The 44-year-old Corrado is an actor who has had featured roles in movies such as "Hannibal," and "Dinner Rush," and TV shows like "Sex in the City," and was last seen regularly as the maitre D on the NBC reality show, "The Restaurant." He spent most of last week in Hoboken charting horses for the Kentucky Derby.
"It was all hatched in Sullivan's on Sixth and Washington in Hoboken," Corrado said. "I was sitting with the owner George Palermo [also an actor] and a regular named Willie the Weeper, and all week, I was going over the horses for the Kentucky Derby with them. Up until Friday afternoon, it looked as if Bellamy Road was the second coming of Secretariat. But I was going over all the options, exactas, trifectas, superfectas."
Corrado came up with a plan to bet a six-horse superfecta wheel, where the bettor selects six horses. The cost for a $1 six-horse superfecta wheel would be $360.
"I called my girlfriend [Lisa Marie Madden] and asked her if she wanted to go partners on the bet," Corrado said. "She said that she was interested, and so was her father."
The superfecta bet would cost each partner a total of $120.
Now, it came down to selecting the horses among the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field.
"Lisa's family always has this big Kentucky Derby, party and her father [Mark Madden] is a pretty big horse player," Corrado explained. "The party was in Morganville, which is about a 10-minute ride to Freehold Raceway. So we sat down Saturday morning, while Lisa had a bowl of Lucky Charms, and decided to pick the horses. We were each going to pick two horses."
The three agreed on picking three of the favorites, namely odds-on choice Bellamy Road - "because of [owner George] Steinbrenner," Corrado said; " Afleet Alex - "because of my name," and Bandini - "because it was Italian," Corrado said.
So Corrado then called a place in Kentucky that was making hats for the Derby entrants and he bought hats for Afleet Alex, Bandini and another Italian sounding name, Giacomo.
"I also know Mike Smith [the jockey who rode Giacomo to the stunning Derby upset], so I decided we had to throw Giacomo in there," Corrado said. "Plus, I had the hat. I loved the name of Giacomo. I thought he was named after Giacomo Puccini, the famous opera composer and I love opera. I also bet on Giacomo in March to win the Derby. So I picked Giacomo."
Mark Madden's other horse in the mix was Don't Get Mad. When it came time for Lisa to throw her other pick into the pile, she came up with long shot Closing Argument.
"When I asked her why, she said she could just hear the call in her head," Corrado said. " 'Here comes Closing Argument down the stretch.' So that was her pick."
So while Lisa went shopping at the Freehold Mall with her mother, Corrado and Mark Madden went to the Raceway to make the bet.
"I walked to the window and had to make sure that I was betting the right thing," Corrado said. "Plus, the numbers of the horses were weird - 10, 12, 15, 16, 17 and 18."
Corrado also made some straight bets on his pick, Giacomo, which was unfortunately not named after Puccini, but rather the rock musician Sting's son.
After making their bets, Corrado and Mark Madden went back to Morganville for the party. When it came time for the race, they didn't think much about the bet.
"When the race was going on, we didn't know what the hell was happening," Corrado said. "There were so many horses, it looked like a cavalry charge. But there was one thing I was sure of, that we had the winner."
Giacomo roared from way back to storm past all other 19 horses and take the Derby at odds of better than 50-1, the second longest long shot to ever win the Derby crown.
Lisa's longshot pick of Closing Argument did close like she imagined and finished second at odds of 71-1, making it the largest exacta payout in Derby history.
Afleet Alex was third, and Mark Madden's pick of Don't Get Mad stormed up to take fourth, meaning that they owned the winning superfecta ticket.
"Lisa's father said that it was going to be a big payoff," Corrado said. "He figured somewhere like $30,000. Then he said $50,000. When the announcer said, 'Am I reading this correctly?' about the superfecta, we knew it was bigger."
The result was a whopping total of $864,253.80.
"That just started the insanity," Corrado said.
After taxes, each partner receives $207,400.
You can buy a lot of Lucky Charms with that loot.
Corrado, his girlfriend, and her father went to Freehold Raceway Tuesday to collect the winnings. Since that day, they have appeared on NBC's "Today" show, the syndicated show "Inside Edition," and held numerous press conferences.
"I was even offered my own handicapping show in California, picking horses," Corrado said. "I'm living large."
Ironically, that was the name of an Off-Broadway show that Corrado acted in and produced, along with long-time Hoboken friend and former soap opera star George Palermo, Jr.
Corrado said that he plans to invest some of the money, pay off bills with some, and travel a little. He also now may marry his long-time girlfriend.
"Well, we hope so," Corrado said.
Can he believe what has happened?
"It still hasn't sunk in yet," Corrado said. "It's starting to sink in now since we got the money. Before it totally sinks in, I think we're going to blow some of it at the Borgata (in Atlantic City). It's like hitting the lottery. It's just all pretty amazing."