By Jude “Pontiff of the Pick Four” Feld
Every day, Equibase, the official source for Thoroughbred racing information, publishes a “Top Carryovers” section on the home page of their website. Obviously countless horseplayers are interested in these “bonus” payoffs and the prospects of playing for what amounts to free money, lost on previous days’ races.
Gulfstream Park offers the “Rainbow Six.” Unlike the name suggests, this is not a wager exclusively for gay people and Hawaiians. It is open to everyone and only requires the player to pick six consecutive winners. There is a twist however. You get the whole pool if you possess the ONLY ticket on the winning combination.
Fair Grounds has the “Black Gold 5.” Not a bet just for Steelers fans or Jed Clampett, it is a five straight winner concoction with same singular ticket payoff rule.
These bets often offer life changing pools and they are certainly preferred to playing the lottery, but to say they are tricky would be the understatement of all time.
Just think about how many times you have hit the Pick Six.
Then think of how many times you had the only ticket.
Do these wagers still interest you?
I have been a serious player since 1978. At one time, I was part of a small Pick Six syndicate that won the bet seven days in-a-row. Only once in that stretch did we have the only ticket – a $75,000 score at Los Alamitos.
Twice in my life I have had a chance at a “whole pool” life changing score in the Pick Six. Once, at Del Mar, when I was singled to a horse I was training, who was running in the last race of the day, for a $200,000 payoff – he finished third. The most painful was a $640,000 chance, when my single in the feature was scratched, and by rule, I got the post time favorite, who also finished third.
In over 30 years, my handicapping and racing luck was that good twice…and I still got beat.
I am certainly no Hindu holy man. The siren call of winning enough money to retire to a beach house in Barbados resonates in my soul almost every time I see huge carryovers. But you’ve gotta pick your spots.
Last year, at Gulfstream, I really liked three longshots in the Rainbow Six sequence. Singling those three, I used four in two races and two in the other race, purposely leaving every morning line favorite off the $32 ticket.
I had four winners and two seconds, making my ticket excellent scratch paper.
That was the only time I played the Rainbow Six in over a dozen days at Gulfstream. The other times, the pool was small or I liked too many chalky types.
Thankfully, I backed my longshots by themselves, so although my day wasn’t life changing, it was extremely lucrative. It is always nice to win when you lose.
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