09/12/2008 1:01PM

Triple Carry Day


2:00 pm: Today's last six at Belmont are terrific gambling races, wide-open events filled with shaky favorites and live longshots. It' s a great day for fooling around dollar tris and pick-3's, not such a great day for the biggest pick-6 carryover of the year in New York.

Of course you never know. I thought yesterday's card was cut and dried and the biggest problem was going to be finding something interesting enough to make the pick-6 pay more than $5k. It turned out to be filled with surprises and unhittable. Maybe today will be straightforward and there will be 150 winners at $10k and I can be one of them. That's how I'm playing it, more out a sense of obligation to play for an overlay opportunity through the magic of the $608k carryover than from a position of confidence or optimism.

Every single race is a skullbuster. The bookend maiden races are filled with either firsters (4th) or dropdowns and surface-switchers (9th). The two claiming races each have at least half a dozen entrants who can win, many surrounded by questions of fitness. Maybe the featured 8th has two stickouts in Diverse and Impressionism -- if your idea of reliability is a pair of fillies who are 1 for 9 and 1 for 14.

Oh, and it just started to rain.

Of the 56 betting interests remaining after scratches, I have big red can't-win X's through only 16 of them. The cost to caveman the remaining 40? 8x9x6x6x6x5, which is 77,760 x $2 or $155,520. As this is at least $153k more than I'll be putting in, I've got some serious trimming, stabbing and guessing left to do.

2:50 pm: One down, five to go. I made an unusual $2592, single-substitution, five-ticket play with no singles, no B's, and only one deviation allowed from the A ticket:

In the first leg, the statebred juvenile-filly maiden turf sprint, my A's were the two-ply Rice and Albertrani entries. The former, sent off at 9-5, was running 1-2 much of the way, but both faded late as Albertrani third-timer My Magic Moment ($6.00) took over and held off Donk firster Paraiba by a length, while the Rice duo faded to run 6-7. So I can still go the backup tickets once. Here's the ticket breakdown:

1. AAAAAA: 1,2/3,9,10/3,8,9/1,5,9/2,10/7,8=$432
2. CAAAAA: 5,6/3,9,10/3,8,9/1,5,9/2,10/7,8=$432
3. ACAAAA: 1,2/1,8,11/3,8,9/1,5,9/2,10/7,8=$432
4. AAAACA: 1,2/3,9,10/3,8,9/1,5,9/1,7,9/7,8=$648
5. AAAAAC: 1,2/3,9,10/3,8,9/1,5,9/2,10/2,9,11=$648

The pick-6 handle today was $1,466,218, so about 55 percent of that will aded to the $608k carryover, meaning roughly $1.4 million is available to those who pick 6/6 -- or we'll have a $1.4 million quadruple-carry into Saturday's Noble Damsel-Matron-Futurity-Gazelle card.

3:15 pm: Didn't like the 8-5 favorite in leg 2 one little bit, and he just won easily. That's why they call it gambling. Good luck to those of you played more sensibly and are still alive.

4:45 pm: It would probably take a My Little Dragon/Dark Ripple late double to get a quadruple-carry at this point, and maybe not even then. After four highly logical (except to me) winners, the 99 remaining permutations to divvy up $1.4 million might all be covered.

After My Magic Moment at $6.00 and Dirty Water dog at $5.40, even the smallest players probably stayed alive and might even have singled Missile Motor ($4.70), a violent dropdown who was going to win if he still had three and a half good legs after an 8 1/2-month layoff. Contessa got the win by 7 3/4 lengths (over a 44-1 shot who might have made things really interesting), but lost the horse to Eddie Barker.

American's Cruiser's $12.20 win mutuel in the 7th will inflate the parlay and give some hope of a big payout, but I can't imagine he was as high as 5-1 in the pick-six.

5:05 pm:They're all covered in the finale, at payoffs ranging from $1,987 (about 700 winners) on Analyze Cat to $358,391 (four winners) on Court Appointment.

I'd be alive to five of them if I'd used Dirty Water Dog as a main, and to two of them had I used him as a backup, but I'm not kicking myself too hard. I just didn't like the horse at all in what I thought was a wide-open race teeming with high-priced possibilities. Clearly this was a bad opinion, and I was punished for it, but I'd rather lose straight up that way than with a borderline call, a tough trip or an unlucky photo, and at least it didn't deprive me of a life-changing score.

And my stubbornness persists. I wish you luck if you're singled to Analyze Cat, but I didn't use him and still don't like him as the 9-5 favorite here in the finale. He did no running in his two starts against statebreds and now he's "dropping" to maiden-claiming but also meeting open company.

5:45 pm: So not using Dirty Water Dog turned out to be a $9,048 mistake after Messa Nera won the finale at $10.00 to leave me with six consos for five A's and an omitted 8-5 shot. I have to think it would have paid $20k to $40k had Victory Sign or Youbethecan won the 5th. As it was, it looks like 158 of you had it.

The six consos at $78 apiece didn't do much for balancing the ledger, but the $1,051 anti-Analyze Cat (who finished 10th) tri in the last helped out.

It's been an exhausting and expensive carryover-centric week, but tomorrow the focus returns to racing, with the four graded stakes at Belmont, Big Brown's reappearance in the $500k Monmouth Stakes Presented by IEAH, and some interesting 2-year-old races around the country. I'll be back in the morning with some thoughts on it all.