08/12/2013 3:01PM

Del Mar: Pick-six carryover of $255K kick-starts week

Shigeki Kikkawa
Distinctiv Passion looks like the speed of Wednesday's Green Flash.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – It is becoming Del Mar tradition – no one hits the pick six on Sunday, and the racing week begins with a jackpot on Wednesday.

The fourth consecutive Sunday-to-Wednesday carryover is up for grabs this week – a $255,708 carryover expected to attract more than $1.4 million in new pick-six wagers.

Stringing together six straight winners is never easy. This summer at Del Mar, it is even tougher because of another developing trend – the baffling decline of winning favorites on Polytrack. Main-track favorites this summer have won just 23 percent of races (29 for 124). On turf, favorites have won at near the historical norm – 33 percent (17 for 51).

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Bettors on Wednesday will navigate a pick-six sequence that includes five Polytrack races and only one on turf – race 7, the $90,000 Green Flash Handicap at five furlongs.

Distinctiv Passion is the speed of the Green Flash. Jeff Bonde trains the 4-for-7 front-runner, who is the 5-2 favorite on Russ Hudak’s early track line after an impressive allowance win July 26. He also benefits from a course profile that favors speed.

“We’re waiting for a horse to win from off the pace on turf,” trainer Mike Pender said, referring only to sprints. “There is no question the speed bias has been eradicated on the main track; we’ll have to see about turf.”

The turf-sprint bias is important to Pender, because his Boat Trip is a late-runner that will try to buck the profile. Nine of the first 10 turf sprints were won by speed, including eight winners that were within one length of the lead after the opening quarter-mile.

Boat Trip has won three of his four turf sprints, four of 10 overall, and though he has not started in nearly two months, Pender is confident Boat Trip will fire.

“He couldn’t be coming into it any better,” Pender said. “He is cranked up and 100 percent ready.”

The rails are down Wednesday, which is no problem for Distinctiv Passion. He won July 26 with the rails down in a good field that included three that entered the Green Flash – the 2-3-4 allowance finishers Sirocco Strike, Basmati, and unlucky Circa’sgoldengear.

Bettors looking for a Green Flash upset might consider Circa’sgoldengear, whose first start in five months was terrific. He broke slowly, weaved through traffic, and finished with run, only 2 1/4 lengths behind Distinctiv Passion.

In order for Boat Trip or Circa’sgoldengear to win, he needs pace assistance from speedster Wiredfortwotwenty, who crushed $40,000 claimers July 28 on the main track. Wiredfortwotwenty, an 8-year-old who won a Del Mar turf sprint in 2008, has enough gas to keep Distinctiv Passion honest. Strong Wind also has speed. She Digs Me does not.

Five other pick-six races Wednesday will be run on the main track.

Race 3 is a $20,000 maiden-claiming sprint for fillies and mares in which Calameera is a dubious favorite after a modest runner-up comeback. First-time starter Spritzy appears well meant for trainer Vann Belvoir and leading rider Rafael Bejarano.

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

Race 4 is a $10,000 filly-mare claiming race at one mile. Top contenders include Golden Gate shipper Pawn Shop, recent Del Mar runner-up Bonita Star, and suspicious dropper Romantic Wish.

Race 5 is a one-mile race for maiden fillies and mares in which Tiz a Kiss figures tough after a promising third-place sprint comeback.

Race 6 is a restricted $25,000 claiming race at one mile. Dropper Unbridled Giant and last-start maiden-claiming winner In a Wine Tizzy are among the principals.

Race 8 is a split of race 3, a $20,000 maiden-claiming sprint for fillies and mares with dropper Irish Winnie and several career maidens, including Frannie’sspirittoo, Janes Ship, Party Bus, and bombs-away first-time starter Reclusive.