11/02/2010 3:17PM

Lower minimums for exotic wagers on Breeders' Cup cards

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Tom Keyser
The 3-year-old Jackson Bend is a prime contender in Friday's Ack Ack.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Everyday horseplayers in North America have become accustomed to lower wagering increments, but at major events such as the Kentucky Derby and Oaks and the Breeders’ Cup, some of those bets have not been available.

That will all change this weekend. Ten-cent superfectas, along with 50-cent trifectas, pick threes, and pick fours, will be sold on the Friday and Saturday Breeders’ Cup cards at Churchill Downs and at all participating wagering outlets.

Churchill has maintained a $1 minimum on superfecta wagers on Oaks and Derby days, citing logistical problems with the lower increments, so these will be their first so-called “big-event” dates to offer dime supers.

Dime supers were available at the last two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, but minimums on trifectas, pick threes, and pick fours were $1.

“The lower bet minimums should help all players increase their coverage on what are always very contentious Breeders’ Cup races,” said Ken Kirchner, who has managed wagering details for the Breeders’ Cup since 1996. “It will also help to mitigate the onerous tax thresholds on high-paying bets.”

Reports are filed with the Internal Revenue Service when winnings are more than $600 at odds of 300-1 or higher, with taxes being withheld from the gross payoff on winnings of more than $5,000. By playing lower increments, bettors sometimes can avoid that process, depending on the payoffs.

Apart, Jackson Bend in Ack Ack

A pair of accomplished 3-year-olds, Apart and Jackson Bend, were among the six horses entered Tuesday in a secondary feature on the Friday undercard at Churchill, the Grade 3, $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap.

Apart, winner of the Super Derby last out, was assigned post 1 in the 1 1/16-mile Ack Ack, while Jackson Bend, who ran a close-up third in the Preakness, will start from the opposite end of the gate in post 6. Among the rest, Demarcation, the defending champion, drew post 4.

Undercard races for Saturday also were drawn Tuesday, with the Grade 2, $150,000 Chilukki Stakes being the most notable of the three lead-in races. First Passage, an also-eligible for the BC Filly and Mare Sprint, drew post 1 in a field of 12 fillies and mares.

◗ Soul Warrior will make his first start in more than a year when he faces seven opponents in a $54,000, third-level allowance route in Thursday’s fifth race. Soul Warrior, trained by Steve Asmussen, won the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at 3, defeating Big Drama and Mine That Bird.

The ninth race, a $50,000, first-level, turf route, drew a well-matched field of fillies and mares. Sixteen were entered but only 12 can start.

◗ King Leatherbury will be honored 11:30 a.m. Friday at a luncheon in the Kentucky Derby Museum with the 21st annual John Galbreath Award for outstanding entrepreneurship in the equine industry. Leatherbury, 77, has trained more than 6,300 winners while based primarily in Maryland.

◗ Churchill is opening the first-floor clubhouse to the public Thursday morning so that fans can see Breeders’ Cup horses go through their final training moves. Gates will open at 7 a.m. Officials are stressing that the program will not be elaborate like “Dawn at the Downs” during Derby week, but fans will have viewing access.