10/02/2008 2:08PM

Weird Double Carry


3:00 pm: When Belmont drew Thursday's card last Sunday, no one could have known there would be a $201k double-carryover in the pick-six and that some races might have to be taken off a soggy turf course. As it turned out, the two races that were taken off this morning were the first two legs of the pick-6 (the last two legs are still on the grass), and it radically changed the complexion of those two races and the wager.

Fields of 15 and 14 became fields of 7 and 6, and the first leg was a doozy: Only 4 of the 7 had tried the dirt, and had fared so badly that favoritism fell to two who hadn't: Night in Tunisa, a Pletcher second-timer, and City Sneakers, a Rice third-timer. I usually go the other way when the public overbets grass horses making their dirt debuts, but in this case the four dirt veterans were so hopeless that I went along for the ride and made the two grass runners my first-leg A and B and pressed Night in Tunisa. He came through in what I consider more of a lucky guess than good handicapping, paying $5.40 and keeping my C's alive for at least one more race:

You can see just how many strong opinions I had today that Night in Tunisa turned out to be the closest thing to a single on the card for me.

3:15 pm: Well, that didn't last too long. Mondo Diverso at 31-1 won leg 2 as the three favorites and I ran 2-5-6 in a field of six. I never seriously considered using Mondo Diverso, who I've chased a few times on the grass recently, and this sure looked like a race where you were a heavy favorite to get by with the two favorites.

The question now becomes whether there's a realistic shot at a gargantuan triple-carry. How many people went more than three-deep in what looked on paper like the most manageable field in the sequence? If you were going to hit an "all" button, the first leg looked much shakier. One more goofy winner and we're playing for over a million tomorrow.

5:00 pm: We got one more semi-goofy winner, All the Way Home at $23.60 in leg 3, so even with a pair of $5.20 winners after that, only 2 of the 12 in the finale are covered in the pick-6: If either Theatrical View (currently 19-1) or Qualquin (currently 7-1) wins the 9th, one wizard gets $540,334. Anything but a #6 or #12, and Friday's pool starts with that much in the kitty. Consos on those 10 uncovered ones range from $1304 on favored Delta Weekend to $37,661 on 57-1 Sweet Justice.

6:30 pm: Je ne sais pas how Je Suis Shiekh wired the finale at $29.00, but we're playing for vast sums tomorrow now that there's officially a $540,334 carryover into Friday's card. The lineup, which consists of four (!) turf sprints (weather permitting) and two dirt sprints:

Race 4: 3+F MdSpWt -- 7f-WT -- Field of 10 (inc. one entry) + 1 MTO
Race 5: 3+ Alw N4x/OC100k -- 6f -- Field of 6
Race 6: 3+NY MdSpWt -- 6f -- Field of 9
Race 7: 3+F Clm35kN2L -- 6f-IT -- Field of 12 + 2 AE's (2 entries)
Race 8: 3+ AlwN3x/OC75k -- 7f-WT -- Field of 9 + 2 MTO's
Race 9: 3+FNY AlwN1x -- 6f-IT -- Field of 11 + 5 MTO's

On a more purely sporting note, Friday is also Opening Day at Keeneland, with two Grade 1 races on the card: Precious Kitten vs. Dreaming of Anna, Rutherienne and five others in the $400k First Lady for filly turf milers and Mani Bhavan vs. 6 in the $500k Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies.