11/28/2016 12:06PM

Jackpot payouts lead to richer pick-six pools at fall meeting

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The newly structured pick six at Del Mar, which includes a jackpot payoff to the holder of a unique winning ticket, has led to higher pools in the popular multirace bet this fall compared with the 2015 season.

Josh Rubinstein, Del Mar’s chief operating officer, said the bet handled more than $3.1 million through the first 11 racing days of the fall meeting, through Sunday, compared with $2.44 million during a similar time frame last year.

“So far, we feel it’s been a success,” Rubinstein said. “We’re looking forward to trying it during the summer with a longer meet.

“The feedback we’re getting is really positive. We’re interested to see when the jackpot pool is up to a couple of hundred thousand if we get the big players to chase that.”

The 2015 and 2016 seasons have had slightly different dates. The current meeting began Nov. 11 and ends Dec. 4, a 15-day season. The 2015 meeting ran from Oct. 29 to Nov. 29, a 20-day season that opened on the same weekend as the Breeders’ Cup races at Keeneland. This year, the Breeders’ Cup was held at Santa Anita on Nov. 4-5.

For the purposes of comparison, Rubinstein said track officials have withdrawn data from the 2015 Breeders’ Cup weekend to gauge pick-six pools at the current meeting.

For the entire 2015 fall season, the pick six had an average pool of $274,502. Through Sunday, the bet averaged $282,105, up 2.7 percent. The average for the current meeting may increase through Sunday’s closing day. Pick-six pools frequently draw strong pools on closing day, when the pool must be distributed.

This is the first year the track has offered a pick six with a provision for a jackpot payout to a single winning ticket holder. So far, there have been three payoffs to a single ticket, including a payoff of $1,041,696 on Nov. 13.

After deductions for takeout, the bet distributes 70 percent of the pool to tickets with six winners, or into a carryover if there are no winning tickets; 15 percent to ticket holders with five winners; and 15 percent is dedicated to the single-ticket pool. There have been four days at the current meeting in which there have been carryovers in the main pick-six pool and the single-ticket pool.

So far, the largest carryover in the main pool has been $203,127 into the Nov. 13 program. The largest carryover in the single-ticket pool was $116,092 into Friday’s program. The bet was hit on Friday for $207,461 on a $320 ticket purchased at a satellite betting location in San Jose, Calif. The winning ticket holder received $132,216 from the single-ticket pool and $75,245 from the main pool.

There is a carryover of $33,763 into the single-ticket pool for Thursday’s eight-race program.

Del Mar is the first Southern California track to offer a pick six with a jackpot payout to a single ticket holder. Santa Anita received permission from the California Horse Racing Board for a similar bet at its winter-spring meeting that opens Dec. 26.

Rubinstein said Del Mar is tentatively planning to offer two mandatory payouts in the single-ticket pool during the 2017 summer season – Pacific Classic Day, typically in late August, and closing day, Sept. 4.