A scandal is haunting Britain — a scandal involving the color of the queen's hat.
In a country obsessed with class and royalty, and where you can bet on almost anything, wagers have been placed for the past 10 years on what the head of state will wear on Ladies' Day at the Royal Meeting at the Ascot (search) horse races.
The supreme event on the aristocratic social calendar, the four-day-long Royal Meeting (search) is an occasion for money old and new to drink, socialize and wear ridiculous headgear in the presence of the monarch. It is being held at York Racecourse in Yorkshire this year while Ascot Racecourse, in Berkshire, undergoes renovation.
The queen, long famous for her extremely demure wardrobe, wore a white hat on Ladies' Day last year, though lilac had been favored 3-1, The Times of London reported. In 2002, blue had been favored at 4-1, but the queen wore white then too.
With a track, or off-track, record like that, the major British bookmakers had expected to clean up this year as well.
But alarms were raised Thursday morning, hours before the royal appearance, when a run of bets for brown started coming in, displacing light blue as the favorite.
"Nobody was backing brown at all and suddenly everyone wanted in on it," Paddy Power (search), owner of the eponymous chain of betting shops that inaugurated the hat bet 10 years ago, told The Times.
Power's odds on brown went from 12-1, to 2-1, to even and finally to 8-11 before he yanked the bet at 11:30 a.m., 2½ hours before the Queen was due to show.
"Someone must have been in the know. We laid 50 pounds at 20-1 and 200 pounds at 10-1 and some smaller bets," David Hood, spokesman for rival betting chain William Hill (search), told the Daily Telegraph.
"But it was when a cash [bettor] walked in to our shop in Windsor [the seat of British royalty]," Hood explained, "and asked for a good four-figure bet that we became really suspicious and closed the book."
When Elizabeth II finally made her appearance, she was indeed wearing a brown hat with cream trim.
"Somebody has made a tidy sum," sniffed Hood.
Both he and Power, who estimated his firm lost about 10,000 pounds, or $18,000, suspected palace insiders.
"We keep details of Her Majesty's hats a great, great secret," contested Philip Somerville, whose firm supplied the object in question. "Her Majesty would have the choice of four or five hats. We never know until the last minute what hat she will chose."
"We have a very firm policy of not releasing details of the queen's outfit until she is in view of the public," huffed a palace spokesman.
Click in the photo box above to see lots of outrageous hats at Ascot.
KELLER, Texas (AP) — Four Keller High School (search) cheerleaders were sent home early from camp after allegedly putting human feces on a pizza and trying to frame rival cheerleaders for the deed.
Less than an hour later, some Keller cheerleaders took the pizza to the Fossil Ridge sponsor, claiming that Fossil Ridge cheerleaders had doctored the pizza with feces.
After questioning, four Keller cheerleaders were sent home, cheerleaders and parents told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a story in Thursday's editions.
Federal laws bar officials from discussing the girls' discipline, but such an incident would be considered "serious misconduct," district spokesman Jason Meyer told the newspaper.
He said punishment could include sending the girls to the district's disciplinary alternative high school and removing them from the team.
The day after the pizza prank, other Keller cheerleaders apologized and read a letter to the Fossil Ridge squad.
— Thanks to Out There readers Beth M., Joseph D., Greg M. and Don W.
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A 13-year-old boy jumped into a public works truck Thursday and led police on a chase for at least 20 miles, from Broward County into central Miami-Dade, officials said.
The boy tried to run over a police officer and caused at least two crashes, said Hollywood police spokesman Capt. Tony Rode.
The boy was charged with grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding a police officer, aggravated assault, marijuana possession and other charges.
He was being held at a Miami-Dade County juvenile facility until he could face a magistrate Friday and return to Broward County, Rode said.
Two city workers had left the Hollywood Public Works (search) truck running when the boy jumped inside, Rode said.
It was a "nice crime of opportunity," Rode said. "He jumps in it to take a little joyride and does just that."
He drove through several cities and into Hialeah, where officers used stop sticks to slow the truck.
The boy struggled during his arrest and some officers made allegations of excessive force by other officers, Rode said. Those allegations were being investigated, he said.
The boy had been arrested several times before, including a previous charge of grand theft auto.
"He's a punk, he's been arrested multiple times," Rode said.
CHITTENANGO, N.Y. — A sanitation worker whose truck brakes failed somehow managed to steer his speeding vehicle down a steep, curvy road and through a construction zone, missing workers and oncoming cars before smashing into a building.
Witnesses said the runaway Blue Ribbon Sanitation (search) truck accelerated up to at least 55 mph as it rounded the intersection at Route 5 and barreled into this small upstate village famous as the birthplace of "Wizard of Oz" writer L. Frank Baum.
John P. Renfer, 36 suffered only minor injuries Wednesday when his truck jumped a curb and crashed into a building housing a hair salon and restaurant.
"All those turns, he kept making them — for a mile," said co-worker Ken Chase, who was a passenger in the truck. "I was going to jump out, but I didn't. Everybody would have been hit. I can't believe he made it."
State Department of Transportation inspector Brian Solan called Renfer a hero. He pulled bricks off the driver after the truck's front end crashed.
Staff at Shears to You (search) salon were working on two clients when the truck's front end broke through the wall.
"I put in one curl and bam! The whole place shook. It scared the hell out of me," said hairdresser Tracy Wroblewski.
Chittenango is located 15 miles east of Syracuse.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A kangaroo has been on the loose for the last several months outside Charleston, perplexing authorities who have had problems catching it.
The 3-foot kangaroo, believed to be a male, comes out mostly at night or in the early morning, officials said. He makes appearances in backyards and on the county's rural roads.
"People will call in and say, 'I swear I'm not drunk or on drugs, but I just saw a kangaroo,'" state conservation officer Clyde Armstead said Thursday.
The first person to report seeing the kangaroo called police one week after Christmas, saying the animal was in their yard.
"The dispatcher thought someone was celebrating New Year's early," Armstead said.
Some think it may belong to the owners of an exotic animal farm in a nearby town, but the owner hasn't come forward.
Armstead and three police officers tried to catch the kangaroo a few nights ago after it was seen along a road. They managed to corner it, but it was too quick for them and it got away.
"There was no way to catch him, it was like chasing a deer," Armstead said. "And even if we did get him, I don't know what we would have done with our bare hands. They can kick pretty hard."
Readers of Out There know that stray kangaroos have been popping up a lot lately, with sightings in Kentucky and Wisconsin earlier this year.
NORWELL, Mass. (AP) — A Norwell real estate business has two new customers of a different feather.
Two peacocks took up residence in the front yard of Jackson Ltd. Real Estate (search) on June 9 and haven't left.
The birds spend most days wandering around the owner Patty Jackson's property and taking occasional treks across Main Street, The Patriot Ledger of Quincy reported.
"They like looking in the glass — they like seeing their reflection in the door," Jackson told The Ledger.
Jackson's property, which abuts wooded property, has attracted other wild animals like raccoons and deer in the past, but none as exotic as peacocks.
This isn't the first time peacocks have visited the town. About a decade ago, peacocks that escaped from a nearby house would sometimes walk into Norwell's police station.
Jackson doesn't know where her pair of peacocks came from.
"They're just hanging out — they are so tame I wondered if they could belong to anyone," she said.
Peacocks, known for their colorful and elaborate feathers, cannot fly easily or for long distances. In the wild, they prefer hilly jungle areas near water.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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