When I met Alberto Kreimerman for the first time, I was seized by the almost irresistible urge to rub his head. It’s not that he’s a lovable cuss so much as that he’s a lucky one, so full of good fortune that there’s always the possibility that some of it might rub off on you.

Last year was a very, very good year for the 44-year-old Kreimerman. Over the span of twelve months, he won two megafectas and twelve twin trifectas at the Valley Greyhound Park in Harlingen—all high-stakes bets with astronomically long odds—earning more than $400,000 by accurately predicting the top finishers in back-to-back races.

That kind of success would suggest that the Mission resident, who owns a string of music stores in McAllen, Brownsville, Laredo, and San Antonio, is on to some kind of scientific method to select the winners.

The perennially smiling Kreimerman protests. “The secret about my system is I have none. I just look at the dogs and have a feeling. I don’t study the tip sheets,” he says. Pressed further, Kreimerman does admit to avoiding heavy favorites, explaining that the payoff isn’t that lucrative. Besides, he says, “Greyhounds are not too logical.”

More revealing is his nickname in his native Argentina. “They called me Bingo Reyna,” he says, a tribute to his luck and his ability to play guitar like jazzman Django Reinhardt. “All the time, I’ve been a lucky guy. When we’d go fishing, I’d catch the biggest fish. Some people told me I was happy because I was lucky. I said it wasn’t true. I was lucky because I am happy. I really believe in the power of the mind. If you imagine something, you can make it happen. You just have to think positive.”

Just like he did in October, when he showed up at the track following a business trip to Houston. After he greeted the general manager at the entrance, Kreimerman told him that he came dressed in a suit for the picture they’d take of him after he won the megafecta, which he went on to do, to the tune of $148,118.

Amazingly, Kreimerman, whose string of correct picks began in December 1989, when he won $28,000 in a twin trifecta pot, insists he’s no gambler. “I honestly think gambling is bad,” he says. “If you enjoy it and can afford to bet an amount that won’t hurt you, it’s okay. But there are some people who bet money that they don’t have. I don’t bet money that would hurt me if I lose. If you want to go to the track to make money, you’re better off staying home.”

So what’s Kreimerman going to do with his winnings? “It’s not my money,” he says. “I work for my money. The money I won at the races is money someone else lost. I’m going to give it back.” For Thanksgiving, Kreimerman distributed two thousand turkeys through the Valley Food Bank, and his accountant is setting up a charitable foundation to disburse the balance of his racetrack winnings. With his luck, he can always go back to the track and win some more.