10/31/2001 1:00AM

Hawthorne bitten again

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STICKNEY, Ill. - Although it generated a relatively small pool, Hawthorne's $50,000 guaranteed pick six was hit Wednesday on the first day of the track's fall meet.

The pick-six pool of $8,920 was way short of covering the guarantee, and Hawthorne was forced to make up the difference. One winning ticket, worth $37,606.80, was sold. The guaranteed pool is taxed at a 25 percent rate.

Hawthorne launched its guaranteed pick six at its spring meet, offering a $100,000 guarantee and, at first, a $1 base wager. The pick six was hit five of the meet's first seven days, and the track raised the base wager to $2. But consistent carryovers that would have helped cover the guaranteed payoff never materialized, and the bet was canceled after nine days.

This fall, the guarantee was reduced to $50,000 and base bets set at $2, but the changes didn't stop the pick six from going down at a loss to the track again on Wednesday. The six races had fields that averaged 9.3 starters, but short-priced horses dominated the sequence. Only two favorites won, but no winner in the six races paid more than $10.20. There were live tickets on four of the 12 runners in the eighth race, the bet's final leg, won by Missubscat ($10).

Thomas Carey, Hawthorne's director of operations, said he hopes the opening day pick-six hit brings attention to the gimmick. Carey said the bet would return Thursday, but offered no guarantees on how long it would last.