11/18/2005 12:00AM

Churchill Downs pick six carryover tops $1.6 million

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A pick six carryover approaching a North American record will rivet the attention of the racing world to the Saturday program at Churchill Downs, where the jackpot stands at $1,694,336 after failing to be won for the ninth straight day Friday.

The all-time largest carryover in North American racing history was $1,830,146, at Santa Anita on Jan. 23, 1991. The carryover into Saturday was easily the largest in Churchill history, surpassing the $855,542 into the card of May 6, 2004.

Going into the last leg of the pick six on Friday, several bettors stood a chance at taking down a massive payday, because there were still live tickets on four of the 10 starters in the final leg (race 10). The jackpot would have been emptied if any of the following horses had won: McShane's Halo, Kincora Lad, Cause He's Irish, or River Rising. There would have been two perfect tickets sold on all of those horses except for River Rising, who represented just one live ticket.

As the race unfolded, McShane's Halo held grimly to the lead until just inside the eighth pole, where Captain Slew (7-1) and Thunder Again (3-1) overtook him. That pair battled into deep stretch, with Captain Slew edging away to prevail by a half-length.

Churchill officials reported that $180 worth of tickets were sold with five of six winners. Each $2 ticket was worth $3,683.

None of the winning horses in the Friday pick six was favored. Starting with the fifth race, the winners were Fluorescent ($24), City Rapid ($38), Mutakaway ($7.40), Broke Sharply ($7.20), Scipion ($6.80), and Captain Slew ($17). The winning numbers were 3-2-4-5-7-2.

The actual winner of the ninth race was Funk, but because the Churchill stewards mandated that he compete "for purse money only" because of a snafu involving an inadvertent scratch, the second-place finisher, Scipion, was declared the winner for parimutuel purposes.

The largest single-day pick six handle in North America is $5,889,712, a record set on March 3, 2004, at Santa Anita, where the bet had gone unhit the three previous racing days. The all-time largest pick six pool (including carryover) of $7,302,848 also was set that day at Santa Anita.

The largest single pick six payoff of more than $3 million was set at the 1999 Breeders' Cup at Gulfstream Park.