05/10/2011 3:27PM

Churchill Downs: $514,583 pick-six carryover from Derby Day remains to be claimed

Barbara D. Livingston
Carryover jackpots of $514,583 in the pick six and $220,430 in the super high five await horseplayers Thursday at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Once again, the out-of-towners from Kentucky Derby weekend left terrific parting gifts. When racing resumes Thursday at Churchill Downs after four dark days, horseplayers will be taking aim at carryover jackpots of $514,583 in the pick six and $220,430 in the super high five.

This is the eighth time in the last 10 years that Churchill has had a big pick-six carryover from the Derby. Since 2002, the only two years when the pick six has been won on Derby Day was 2006 and 2007. Last year, the carryover from Derby Day was $947,641, the highest from any Derby.

This year, a Derby Day pick-six handle of $847,131 failed to produce a perfect ticket. Tickets with five of six winners returned $12,251.80.

The $2 pick six is conducted on the last six races daily at Churchill, with the $1 super high five always on the last race. Here is a brief rundown of each of those races Thursday, when first post for a 10-race card is 12:45 p.m. Eastern.

◗ Race 5 (post, 2:53 p.m. Eastern): Looking for a single right off the bat? Surely a few players will try just that with Gaelic Lass, a mare returning from an 11-week layoff for Tom Amoss, although obviously the safer play would be to toss in the likes of Ancient Love, Donnaguska, Kaelins Grandgirls, or Dreymore.

Having proven herself at this $5,000 level, Gaelic Lass looks like a deserving favorite, and the presence of Calvin Borel in the saddle likely clinches that role. Her workouts look fine, too – until you notice the four-week gap prior to her most recent one May 5. Proceed with caution.

◗ Race 6 (3:25): Players could have a very tough time with this conditioned claiming route. There’s no clear-cut favorite, and although horses such as My Buddy Bubba and Awesome Review have won over this racetrack, they have gone off form since.

Some fans will take comfort by siding with proven horsemen such as Mike Maker (with Gypsy Wind), Dallas Stewart (with I Take Diamonds), or Borel (on Muhaaseb), but in reality, pretty much any of these nine could win.

◗ Race 7 (3:57): Not only did Patine draw a fair amount of wagering action in her only career start last month at Keeneland, but the well-bred filly (by Smart Strike) had to be snatched up entering the far turn and still finished a decent fourth. Moreover, given her top connections (Kent Desormeaux riding for Wayne Catalano), she seems like a logical play in this maiden-claiming sprint.

Still, there has to be a reason Catalano is running Patine for a mere $20,000, and that cause for pause could open fans up to something like Little Bit Tiny, She Can Fly, Pollero, Platinum Futures, or Anabaa’s Fortune.

◗ Race 8 (4:29): Trainer Merrill Scherer has an interesting option here: He could scratch Sister Anthony and thereby allow her entrymate with better-looking form, Hanover Road, into the body of the race.

Unfortunately, that’s just one random take on a race with more than a few. Other viable contenders in this “never-won-two” race for the bottom $8,000 price also include Smarty Slewy, Cherry Included, Starkey, China Melissa, and Double Fives.

◗ Race 9 (4:59): If Free Brave is sound and ready to go, then he should lay over this field of $25,000 turf sprinters. Of course, that’s a gigantic if.

Trained by Bret Calhoun, Free Brave is unraced in nearly 11 months, the type of layoff that always sets off warning sirens. Still, Calhoun plays this kind of game very shrewdly, and he might just be taking a base on balls.

Or he might not. In that case, useable alternatives include Lookn Mighty Fast, Parioli’s Trick, Tangled Sheets, and Maneke.

◗ Race 10 (5:28): Rarely in racing history has a $10,000 maiden-claimer carried so much importance, but that’s what happens when it’s both the final leg of a giant pick six and a super high five race with a large carryover.

There certainly shouldn’t be a lack of early pace in this finale, considering the big field and the fact that a number of starters will be stretching out from shorter distances. Foremost among those is the new Midwest Thoroughbreds claim, Cowboy Sam, whose form merits a very close look.

Otherwise, typical of the earlier races in this sequence, there are quite a few other playable options, including Miami Rockstar, Tactical Man, Strong Dream, and, if he draws in, Solomon’s Flag.