05/05/2009 12:00AM

Exotic players chase two jackpots


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Not all the huge mutuel payoffs have been made at Churchill Downs. Yes, there were some monster tickets cashed Saturday after Mine That Bird posted his 50-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby, but the good news for horseplayers who missed out on those windfalls is that further opportunity awaits when racing resumes Wednesday.

For the fifth time in six years, no one hit the pick six on Derby Day, leaving a massive carryover for the next day of live racing. The carryover into the Wednesday pick six, which is offered on races 4 through 9, is $781,146, meaning something in the neighborhood of $2 million could be in the jackpot once all bets are made by post time for the fourth race.

In addition, the super high five also went unhit in the Derby, leaving a carryover of $251,865 for the ninth race Wednesday.

The last time the pick six was hit at Churchill was on April 28. After minor carryovers resulted from the Wednesday and Thursday cards of Derby week, an additional $206,454 was bet into the pick six on Kentucky Oaks Day, but it went unhit, leaving a carryover of $137,981. Then, with Mine That Bird winning the Derby - the final race of the Saturday pick six - and other favorites failing in some of the earlier stakes, the $1,058,849 bet into the gimmick that day also went for naught, with the result being a potential bonanza for those chasing the pick six Wednesday.

The races that make up the Wednesday pick six do not appear especially difficult. The maximum combined number of starters for the six races is 49, or an average of slightly more than eight per race, and some of the races seem easily condensable to a handful of serious contenders.

First post Wednesday is 12:45 p.m. Eastern, with the opening pick six race set for 2:21. Here's a quick rundown of those races:

Race 4: Morning Magic, a first-time-starting Tale of the Cat filly, shows decent workouts for trainer Eddie Kenneally and looks like the trickiest to figure in this bottom-rung maiden-claiming sprint, especially with Julien Leparoux taking the mount. Otherwise, Yankee Player is a logical play, especially if she can revert to her better Oaklawn Park efforts, while Five Star Sweetie and Riviera Cafe should be prominent for much of the way.

Race 5: Gatorize looks like a possible single. A one-time class horse who hit the bottom level at the end of 2008, she seems to have taken an upturn, at least if her three races for Ralph Nicks are true indicators. If she seems too shaky to solo, then Formal Dannie (best speed) and No Image (best closer) might be ample protection for the ticket.

Race 6: A pair of fillies bred for turf, Mimi's Kids and G Mom, will be deserving favorites, although this is a race in which players couldn't be blamed for going fairly deep. Happenstance, Alley Theater, and Jacey's Reward enter in poor form, but all three were good enough to run second in maiden-special turf routes last year, while High Quail and Maria's Moon both stand to improve substantially by switching to the grass.

Race 7: Three of the seven 3-year-olds in this $50,000 claiming sprint were soundly defeated in their last start, but the company they have been keeping would seem to make them the top contenders: Silver Bayer was second in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn in January, while Emma's Posse was an easy winner of his only try for a claiming tag and Stratos makes his first start for a tag. Meanwhile, the other four starters are all entered off wins in arguably lighter spots, making this one of the tougher races in the sequence.

Race 8: Silver Mountain and Hidden Glance both ran well in a rugged April 4 turf marathon at Keeneland, but for safety's sake, two more might merit inclusion. Guadalcanal was developing into a nice prospect last fall before going to the shelf, while My Happiness is better suited to three turns than two.

Race 9: What normally would be a standard-fare $5,000 claiming route assumes a measure of monumental importance, not only as the final leg of the pick six, but also with the big super high five carryover hanging in the balance. Painted Forest will stretch out as the likely pacesetter, with Saviano, Steds Pirate, and Monk likely to assume closest pursuit, but change seems nearly certain to ensue. Nafass and Joly Ol' Nick, the one-two finishers in an open $5,000 route here in November, are highly plausible, as is Shot Gun Cliff, who exits a solid win over the Tampa dirt.

* Unlike the pick six, which employs a 5 of 6 payoff in case of no perfect tickets, there are no consolation payoffs in the super high five. However, the super high five will continue in its current form only through Friday, when a mandatory payout will be made, even in the case of no perfect tickets. Churchill and its sister tracks are switching to its "Z-5" format for the super high five on Saturday and for the duration of the Churchill spring meet. According to Churchill general manager Jim Gates, the Z-5 will move during the course of a day from a designated race at Calder to a race at Arlington Park to the final race at Churchill, with carryovers transferring from one track to the next.