11/14/2002 1:00AM

Legit pick six plays ain't pretty either


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The pick six scandal has me outraged.

You, too? Exactly how mortified are you? Can your wrath be measured? If not, why not?

If you are angered over the pick six scandal, can you quantify your rage?

I can, and it is not pretty. Even before the hammer fell on the purported thieves, I knew where I stood regarding the pick six - knee deep and rising.

I am not an expert on the pick six. I gave up trying to conquer it a long time ago. Sure, I still play the pick six occasionally. Halfheartedly. Foolishly, usually.

I do not stand a ninny's chance of hitting the wager on the $32 ticket I occasionally pitch in. Shoot, I don't even break even - over the long haul - with small shares of large tickets. The math is usually simple - a five percent share of a pick six ticket that costs $1,000 and returns nothing equals . . . nothing.

I play anyway, but not often. I see no harm in chasing an occasional rainbow. I am pretty sure I will never see the end of it. In case I do, I am keeping close track of how I got there.

I also know where I stand with win, place, and show wagers. It is all documented in personal wagering records that are nobody else's business. Except for the two times the Internal Revenue Service made them their business. Fortunately, my books are not cooked.

This is not about win-place-show, nor long-term rate of return in exactas, trifectas, and superfectas. Daily doubles, pick threes, and pick fours are all recorded, along with a personal favorite - future wagers. Someday, I will write a book and speak to the challenges of exotic wagering. For now, the subject is the pick six.

There has been a lot of hand-wringing over the pick six larceny. Shame on the crooks, and shame on the racing industry for allowing the con to occur. How long has it gone on? How many pick six payoffs were less than they should have been? How many honest bettors have been subjected to pilferage? How much has it cost them?

More important - how much has the pick six cost you? Do you know the answer? If not, why not? Do you know where you stand? Do you know where your wagering dollars are spent? Do you even care?

I do. Over the past four years, I am a pick six loser.

Here's how:

In 1999, I wagered $1,469 on the pick six and got back $383.

In 2000, I wagered $843 on the pick six and got back $80.

In 2001, I wagered $631 on the pick six, got lucky once, and got back $2,500.

In 2002, I have wagered $1,316 on the pick six thus far. I have gotten back $220.

That's four years, $4,259 in wagers and $3,183 returned - a profitless return on investment (ROI) of 74 cents for each dollar wagered. It would have been much worse if I had not latched on to someone else's lucky streak in 2001.

I do not offer excuses. Obviously, I am not bragging, either. The pick six is not my bet.

It makes me wonder. Is it yours? Are you ahead or behind in the pick six? By how much? What is your long-term ROI?

What is your win rate in the pick six? What is your longest losing streak? How much capital do you set aside specifically for the pick six? Only you can answer.

You may be outraged, mortified, and filled with wrath. We all agree - the pick six scandal is a bad thing. So is the indifference of bettors without wagering records. Blissfully, they know not where they stand.

One might say, the ignorance is downright criminal.