08/02/2003 12:00AM

Del Mar pick six a record $1.5M

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Five friends from northern California turned a visit to the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa into the most lucrative payoff in California pick six history on Friday.

John Dado, the father of Del Mar's vice president for marketing, Craig Dado, and four friends bought a $128 pick six ticket which paid a record $1,562,818.60. It was the only winning ticket. The payoff broke the previous record of $1.1 million set at Bay Meadows in December 1985. The previous Del Mar record was $1,039,259 to one ticket-holder on Sept. 7, 1995.

John Dado was not available for comment.

Craig Dado said each member of the group handicapped a race, they chipped in $25 each and that two horses were used in each race.

"It was not the most sophisticated ticket," Dado said.

There was nationwide interest in Friday's pick six, which had a two-day carryover of $524,087. Bettors added $1,859,060 on Friday.

The pick six covered the third through eighth races, and none was won by favorites. The winners were Ganendyl ($13.40), Gods Ear ($23), Queenofluv ($12.60), Potrisunrise ($26.20), Roberta's Mango ($10.60), and Mistical Jaz ($23.20).

After the races, Craig Dado heard the ticket was bought at Santa Rosa but did not think his father was the winner. "He doesn't bet that much," Dado recalls saying to himself at the time.

A few minutes later, his cell phone rang. His father was on the line with the big news.