Updated on 06/08/2011 10:26AM

Hollywood Park: Carryover chase includes shaky propositions


DRF's Brad Free handicaps Thursday's pick-six sequence.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The pick six Thursday at Hollywood Park would be less difficult if only the obvious horses were as good as they appear.

Unfortunately they are not, and bettors chasing the $117,269 carryover face vulnerable favorites that might otherwise be considered possible singles in the last two legs -- Take a Yard in race 7, and Charlie and Chris in race 8.

Take a Yard stretches to 1 1/4 miles on the turf in a first-level allowance; Charlie and Chris drops to $8,000 claiming at six furlongs. Neither inspires confidence, and bettors alive to the favorite in the final race will cross their fingers. So will the trainer.

Charlie and Chris finished third against better last time. “If he decides to run, he should beat those horses running backwards,” trainer Hector Palma said. “He’s got the best numbers. But I still don’t trust him.”

Charlie and Chris is 2 for 22, and lost ground the final furlong his last eight starts.

“I’m tired of him not winning,” Palma explained as reason to drop from $12,500 to $8,000. “He keeps fooling me. He looks like he’s going to win, and he quits.”

Pick six bettors who do not trust the final-race favorite may want to include the speed. Five Star Fortune drops three floors after he cracked chasing a hot pace in a $16,000 claimer. “He’s a totally different horse if he can make the lead,” trainer John Sadler said.

Race 7 has a smaller field, but a similar dilemma. The favorite Take a Yard may not be as good as he looks. He won a maiden race two back on “good,” then finished a closing third last out. Both turf races were one mile. Take a Yard stretches out Thursday.

“I have a question about a mile and a quarter,” trainer Humberto Ascanio admitted. “A mile and eighth would be best. He needs more than a mile – those horses are too quick.”

Take a Yard lost by a half-length last out in a meet-best 1:32.90, yet the fast race has been counterproductive. One-two finishers Atticus Jack and Alley Hondro were off the board next out, while eighth-place Hughesy dropped to claiming and ran fourth while favored.

Ascanio said regarding Take a Yard, “If this doesn’t work we’ll go a shorter distance next time.” Rivals include 2-for-30 Kim’s Leading Man, 4-for-32 Victorian Prince and lone speed Tiz a Knight.

Before bettors ponder a pick six jackpot ending in race 8, they must negotiate the early races in the sequence that begins in race 3. None is easy.

Race 3 is a mile turf race for $40,000 claiming 3-year-olds. Northern California-based Triple Action won both his turf starts at Golden Gate. He scratched Saturday from a race moved off turf. His main rival is Dancing at Dark, who drops in class and returns to turf.

Race 4 is a five-furlong race for $40,000 maiden-claiming 2-year-olds. Second-start dropper Del Siete Leguas and blinkers-on Ruler of Dubai both ran better than the line shows first out. Both can improve.

Race 5 is a mile turf race for $25,000 claiming fillies and mares. Front-runner El Nadia benefits from the course profile. Eight of the 14 mile races in the past month were won by the pacesetter. Hameildaeme, vanned off a month ago, and sprinter Vikkilee entered.

Race 6 is a six-furlong race for $25,000 claimers, nonwinners of two. The principals include runaway maiden-claiming winner Gutshot Straight and class-drop comebacker Duke of Aspen.

Ultimately, the key to the pick six may boil down to Palma-trained favorite Charlie and Chris in the final leg. “You can single him in the pick six,” Palma said. “And we will cry afterward.”