06/15/2011 1:00PM

Big Belmont Carryover: As Tough as it Gets



1:00 pm: Today's 4th through 9th races at Belmont Park are interesting, challenging and contentious -- terrific for fool-around horseplaying but a nightmare for Pick-6 players chasing a $1.13 carryover from Belmont Stakes Day, the second largest carryover in New York racing history.

I've been looking at these six races for many of the last 24 hours and the more I look the less I like this pick-6. This is in no way a complaint about the card, and I'm looking forward to playing and watching most of the races in the sequence. I feel obligated to participate in the pick-6 because of the seven-digit carryover and the off chance that I'm walking around particularly smart or lucky today, but I'm making more of a token play than a full frontal assault.

These carryovers are usually taken down once they get into rarefied financial territory because syndicates and whales jump into the pool with massive investments, and because even the toughest-looking card can always end up being a chalkfest. This one feels different, with the distinct possibility of another carryover.

Five of the six races are on turf (listed as "good" after taking just a few sprinkles since Belmont Day), three of them at six furlongs. Turf sprints are tough enough, but even the kinds of races that can usually be boiled down to a couple of standouts have come up tough. The first leg, a 10-furlong maiden race, has a field of just eight but six of them have something to recommend them. The lone dirt race, a statebred N1x, is not the usual clash between a recent impressive maiden winner or two and those who have been running 2nd or 3rd at this level -- instead, it's filled with returnees from layoffs and out-of-towners facing statebreds for the first time.

Here's the lineup after scratches. Scheduled post time for the first leg is 2:36 p.m. I'll post my play before it starts and and follow it through to the end win, lose or carry.



2:15 pm: Having some computer issues posting art today, so instead of a pretty Formulator screen-grab with color-coded chiclets, here's a spreadsheet version of my $792 play:


Pretty thin, right? Please understand that I'm not opining that every horse absent above is a true "x" in the usual sense of being a throwout or a no-hoper (like, say, Mission Approved and Ruler on Ice last Saturday.) If I felt like investing more heavily, I'd move all the B's above to A's and the C's to B's and add a dozen or more C's throughout the card. I also note that $648 of my $792 singles a 0-for-13 maiden in the finale, not a horse I'd ever bet $48 to win on much less $648, as a 3-1ish favorite. But if by some miracle I get that far, maybe I'll be looking at a $15k payoff and I'd bet $648 to win on Galaxy Jet at 20-1 any day. 

It worked out to just three tickets because I spent an extra $72 combining all the A's and B's on my main ticket. Ergo:

3,5,7/2,8,10/6,7,9,10/7,9/8,10,11,13/1 = $576

2,6,8/2,8,10/6,7/7/8,13/1 = $72

3,5,7/2,8,10/6,7/7/8,13/3,9 = $144


2:45 pm: Clear Attempt ($4.50) and Colossal Gift, who ran a close 2-3 in an April 29th maiden race at Keeneland, ran a close 1-2 as the 6-5 favorite and 5-2 second choice in the opening leg of the Pick-6. The dime super paid $10.02. What an easy game. Everyone's alive.


3:00 pm: Today's additional pick-6 handle was $4,103,130, a NYRA record other than Breeders' Cup Days. 


3:15 pm: Farewell, Pick-6. My trio of 3-1 shots ran 2-3-4 behind gate-to-wire Must Be Love ($9.60).


3:50 pm: Prince of Danger, first-time Fawkes and facing statebreds for the first time after three starts in Florida last year, ran a hole in the wind demolishing an N1x field on the lead in 21.66, 44.43 and 1:08.94. Not much chance of a four-day $4 million quadruple carryover after winners at 6-5, 7-2 and 7-2, though I suspect all of them were bigger prices in the pick-6 -- the pick-3 of the first half of the pick-6 paid $182 for $2.


4:00 pm: So what are those of you still alive playing for between the $1.1 million carryover and the $4.1 million in new handle? Let's do the math.

Put aside the carryover for the moment. Take the $4,103,130 bet today, and subtract the 26 percent takeout ($1,066,813.20) That leaves $3,036,316.80, of which 25 percent -- $759,079.20 -- will be paid out as consolations today. Now add the $1,130,718 carryover to what's left after takeout and consos and $3,407,955 will be paid out to today's 6 of 6 winners.

And that's the magic of carryovers: Even with the exorbitant 26 percent takeout rate, there was $4.10 million bet today but $4.16 million will be paid out.


4:30 pm: Under other circumstances, I would have been delighted to see my first single, Ms. Stiletto ($5.40), charging to victory. Instead, having used her and my lone B, 7-1 Australis Princess, in equal strength in the pick-4, I only grimaced as the favorite ran by Australis Princess. And no, I didn't pound the $37.40 exacta.

Weird: The race 7-8 doubles are paying $12.40 to Upper Afllet and $28.20 to Saratoga Steve, but Upper Afleet is 3-1 and Saratoga Steve is 5-2.


4:50 pm: Hey Steve, you didn't like Hooligan's Delight? You didn't see him as the uncontested speed?

Apparently not.

Unraced since November, Hooligan's Delight ($52.50) was a daylight winner over 8-5 Upper Afleet and 3-1 Saratoga Steve, finally providing a true bomb in the pick-6. I guess you could say he's a horse for the course, having registered his lone victory going 6f on the grass at Belmont a year and six days ago. Winning trainer Bobby Barbara is now 5 for 11 at the current meet.

I'll post the willpays in a couple of minutes. Looks like there's one uncovered horse -- #10, Magic Queen, who's currently 41-1. 


5:00 pm: Here are those willpays -- thanks to Hooligan's Delight, they range from a low  of $106k to a highof $1.13 million:

 I know, the math doesn't work out to the penny when you multiply the live tickets by the  payouts, for reasons that I can never quite get to the bottom of and that sometimes have to do with the intricacies of Canadia currency conversions -- but they're close enough.

Magic Queen has actually gone down from 41-1 to 34-1 since the betting opened. Wonder how much of that is hedge money from those alive elsewhere?


5:25 pm: Copious Notes ($9.80) completed a sweep of the three turf sprints by gate-to-wire winners to reward 11 pick-6 winners with $308,963 apiece. Congratulations. Grrrr.