Updated on 09/16/2011 9:49AM

Goodbye for now to alternate picks


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Bettors in California will no longer be able to use an alternate selection in the pick four, pick six, and pick all wagers starting on Wednesday in an effort to streamline the technology used for gathering betting information.

The policy change is being made by the racetracks in an effort to work with Autotote to send betting information from simulcast locations to a host track, racing officials said.

California bettors have had the option of marking an alternate selection on betting cards for the pick four, pick six, and pick all in the event that a main selection is a late scratch. Without an alternate, late-scratched selections automatically will be replaced by the post-time favorite. Bettors often use alternate selections as a way to avoid using the favorite in the event of a late scratch.

The change in policy is a result of the ongoing investigation into a breach of tote security in the pick six at the Breeders' Cup in October.

The lack of alternate betting will be temporary, according to Hollywood Park president Rick Baedeker, who did not know how long the change would be in effect.

"The reason for this is to be consistent with software changes required by the industry in the wake of the Breeders' Cup pick six," Baedeker said. "It has to do with transferring information back to the hub.

"My understanding is that this is a temporary inconvenience to allow changes to the software."

The decision to eliminate alternates is likely to be poorly received by California bettors, who have grown accustomed to the convenience of using alternate selections in the popular pick six and pick four bets.

"I think fans are willing to choose security over convenience," Baedeker said. "We have to make the tote system impregnable as humanly possible - and immediately."

The policy is expected to be in effect when Santa Anita opens its winter-spring meeting on Dec. 26. "It's a trade-off that everyone is more than willing to make to speed up the transmission of those wagers," said Santa Anita president Jack Liebau.

Calkins Road to skip Native Diver

Calkins Road, the upset winner of the California Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, will pass on the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap here on Nov. 14, according to trainer John Shirreffs.

The 3-year-old Calkins Road needs ample time between races and Shirreffs would prefer to wait for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25.

"He gives it all in his races, and he's spent," Shirreffs said.

The Sunshine Million is a new concept, comprising eight stakes restricted to California-breds and Florida-breds. Calkins Road has been one of the most successful California-breds this year, winning 3 of 8 starts and $388,880.

Earlier this year, he won the Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park for owners Tom and Deborah Shapiro.

Among the 16 nominations for the Native Diver are Cottage and Euchre, the first two finishers of an allowance race here on Nov. 23; Freedom Crest, the winner of the 2001 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap, who is winless this year; and Grey Memo, who finished second in the On Trust Handicap on Nov. 23.

Baze loses suspension appeal

Jockey Tyler Baze will serve a five-day suspension from Dec. 11-15 after losing an appeal of a stewards' ruling earlier this year. The appeal was heard during the final week of the Del Mar meeting.

Baze received a five-day suspension for causing interference in a sprint for 2-year-olds on May 2. Baze's mount bothered a filly ridden by Corey Nakatani, who fell and suffered head and neck injuries. Nakatani did not return to riding until late July.

Nakatani, Valenzuela in Texas on Saturday

Jockeys Corey Nakatani and Patrick Valenzuela will miss Saturday's program in order to ride in the Great State Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park.

Through Wednesday, Nakatani was tied for ninth in the jockey standings at the meeting with six winners. Valenzuela had five winners, but has only been riding since Nov. 27 after serving 15 days of suspensions earlier this year.

* Watching You, second to Puxa Saco in the Moccasin Stakes on Nov. 16, may return in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes on Dec. 14 after working a mile in 1:41.80 on Thursday. Trained by Warren Stute, Watching You is one of five probables for the 1 1/16-mile Starlet. The field is expected to be led by Composure, the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Other potential starters are Summer Wind Dancer, Rmisvesta, and Sea Jewel.