05/05/2008 12:00AM

Dual Derby Day carryovers up for grabs


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - This is almost becoming an annual occurrence. Kentucky Derby visitors once again have left parting gifts for their more hard-core brethren at Churchill Downs, this time in the form of two sizable carryovers.

In three of the four previous years - 2004, 2005, and 2007 - the pick six went unhit on Derby Day, leaving a big jackpot for horseplayers on the Wednesday after the Derby. Not only did it happen again - a one-day swing-and-a-miss left a pick six carryover of $410,599 for Wednesday - but nobody hit the Super High Five in the Derby, either, leaving a $331,928 carryover in that new wager.

The pick six pool was emptied on Kentucky Oaks Day, but longshot Derby Day winners such as Bayou's Lassie ($26.20) and Intangaroo ($30) were enough to keep it from being hit again. Consolations with 5 of 6 returned $1,271 on Saturday, when $676,018 was bet into the new pool.

The Super High Five, which was being offered on the Derby for the first time, eluded bettors despite the fact that Big Brown, the favorite, was the winner. The Super High Five requires selecting the first five finishers in order.

The dual carryovers will place a particularly strong emphasis on the last of nine Wednesday races, since it not only ends the pick six - which is offered on the last six races of the day, 4 through 9 - but also because the last race is home to the Super High Five.

And as luck would have it, the race in question looks nearly inscrutable.

For maiden 3-year-olds and up being risked for a $15,000 claiming price, the six-furlong finale drew 16 and will be limited to 12 starters. Bettors will be discarding horses from their pick six and Super High Five tickets at their own peril, since hardly any of them - maybe Future Prospect and Brand Loyal, but that's about it from the main body of the race - look like they can be easily tossed.

A handful of horses should vie for favoritism, while two of the also-eligibles, Immediatedeparture and Flatter Time, would further complicate matters if either or both drew in, since both look as if they would fit well, too. Three horses in the main body finished second as a heavy favorite in their last start - Transpose, Tale of the Lion, and Aggressive Joe - and they represent just the starting points in what many handicappers will find to be an exceedingly difficult puzzle.

As for the earlier pick six races, here is a quick rundown:

* Race 4: Change Up, the 2006 Pocahontas winner at Churchill, exits back-to-back graded stakes and is the more accomplished half of a Steve Margolis entry that will be a deserving favorite. Beware, however, that Fast Deal's last race at Churchill, an allowance win here last November, was sharp, and High Heritage could be dangerous if permitted a lonesome lead.

* Race 5: Largely because of the stable's reputation - and not because of his so-so work tab - Segal probably will come favored for Steve Asmussen in this 2-year-old maiden dash. Mar Fina, from the Northern California stable of Chuck Peery, surely will get some attention off a sizzling drill, while Screen Your Friend and Out of the Van got some valuable experience by making their debuts last month at Keeneland.

* Race 6: Assuming the inner turf rails are placed well out onto the course, which they normally are on weekdays, there should be plenty of pace in this turf route. Deserved or not, the Churchill turf has a reputation for slightly favoring front-runners under such conditions. Trainee, Queen of the Ridge, and C B T Snakeye are among the fillies entered off sprints, and they could be mixing it up with naturally speedy types Durrymane and Steve's Temptation. Bettors will have to answer whether that scenario will set things up for the likes of Keltish Lass or Patricia.

* Race 7: This conditioned-claiming sprint shapes up as a melting pot of mediocre form for 10 fillies and mares, with seven tracks being represented as last-race venues - River, Mountaineer, Churchill, Keeneland, Beulah, Turfway, and Tampa. Maybe the most telling race among the jumble came March 26 at Turfway, when Lil Tee Pipe was second and Sunday's Edition third - but there's a whole lot more to sift through here.

* Race 8: Trainer Todd Pletcher already has gone home to New York with many of the best horses he had at Kentucky this spring, but one of the nicer ones he left behind with assistant Michael McCarthy is a turf filly named Loh Collado, who would be tough to beat if she repeats her last effort at Keeneland. Top challengers among her six rivals appear to be Sprung, Precious Princess, and High Priestess.

The Churchill pick six is a $2-minimum wager, the Super High Five has a $1 minimum.