11/18/2005 1:00AM

Funky tote error in pick six


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As if a gigantic pick six carryover didn't lend enough eventfulness to the Friday card, the horse who finished first in the featured ninth race was not a winner - at least in regard to all pari-mutuel pools, including the pick six.

Funk, the winner, raced for purse money only after a snafu involving an inadvertent scratch early in the day led the Churchill stewards to order that he be declared non-eligible for wagering purposes.

Funk wore saddlecloth No. 1A and was supposed to race as part of a stable entry. But early in the day, his entrymate, Indy Moon (No. 1), was scratched - and United Tote personnel at Churchill Downs unknowingly scratched the entire entry. Once a scratch is made, there is no going back.

Since Funk, with Rafael Bejarano riding for Todd Pletcher, clearly was a legitimate contender in the $54,900, second-level allowance race, the inadvertent scratch changed the way bettors configured their pick six tickets - and possibly changed the ultimate outcome of the pick six, which went unhit for the ninth straight day and produced a Churchill-record carryover of $1,694,336 for Saturday. Funk's morning-line odds were 6-1 (as part of the entry).

"United Tote is trying to figure out whether it was a human or software error," said Churchill general manager Jim Gates. "It's unfortunate it happened on a day with such a big pick six carryover."

Meanwhile, in regard to the frantic pick six chase, there were live tickets on four horses going into the final leg (race 10) Friday. The huge jackpot would have been taken down 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 to the wire, with Captain Slew edging away to prevail by a half-length. Alas, not even a sob story of fabled proportions resulted from their close finish, since obviously neither represented a live pick six ticket.

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

Thursday bettors made early exit

The carryover into Friday resulted from a barrage of winning longshots Thursday. In fact, after So Gifted won the eighth race Thursday, the fourth of six legs, there was no possibility of a perfect ticket. The pick six handle on Thursday was $748,110.

"I can't recall it ever dropping off so fast," said Churchill mutuels director Rick Smith, who has worked in mutuels since before Churchill began offering the pick six in 1988. "After three of the six legs, there was only $45 worth of tickets still alive. Then when the 10-horse (So Gifted, a 6-1 shot) won the eighth, they were all dead."

Smith said the equivalent of $79.47 was sold to ticket-holders with five of six winners, with each $2 ticket returning $3,836. The odd amount in tickets sold is the result of net-pool pricing from Canadian outlets.

Sterling Sunday undercard

Even without the River City, the Sunday card at Churchill could fairly be called an excellent program. The supporting races include the $70,800 Grand Canyon (race 2), two allowances with full fields (races 7 and 8), and three maiden special weights with full fields (races 4, 6, and 10).

The Grand Canyon, for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf, will mark the third career start for Wise River, a Joan Scott-trained colt who figures as a major contender in a field of seven. Wise River, by Belong to Me, rallied from far back to win both previous starts: an Aug. 5 maiden race at Ellis Park, and a Nov. 5 allowance at Churchill.

* Veteran jockey Corey Lanerie was transported to nearby Audubon Hospital after being thrown from his mount, Kitty Foille, at the start of the third race. Lanerie told medical personnel that he was experiencing pain in his neck.

Kitty Foille, a 2-year-old filly making her career debut, was not injured.

* Weight assignments for the upcoming Falls City and Clark handicaps were to be released Saturday. Prospective starters for the $300,000 Falls City, which will be run Thursday, include Pampered Princess, Bending Strings, and Flying Glitter. The $500,000 Clark, to be run Friday, is expected to get a big field headed by Perfect Drift, Suave, and Gotaghostofachance.