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Mike Watchmaker's Rainbow Pick Six analysis
With a carryover pool approaching $7 million and a 20-cent base ticket price, every card-carrying horseplayer should at least take a little crack at Monday’s mandatory payout of the Rainbow Pick Six at Gulfstream Park.
That said, as promised, this pick six sequence is a difficult one. Gulfstream management said it would slot its six toughest races into the Rainbow Six, and the opening leg, race 5, is a real skull-buster.
I certainly understand the idea that winning a wager like this, especially with such an enormous carryover, should be anything but easy. However, even with such a low minimum wager, making this sequence as difficult as possible gives the advantage to whales and betting syndicates. They have the means to achieve much wider coverage and the resources to have multiple winning tickets if the results prove to be logical.
In any case, you still have to take a shot, and what follows are my thoughts on the Rainbow Pick Six races, ending each race by classifying contenders for use as either A’s, B’s, or C’s.
Skip’s World has most of the best Beyer Speed Figures in this field, but he’s had too many chances to graduate from the maiden ranks for my liking, and there are more intriguing horses as alternatives. Whats Up Big Guy was strongly bet in all three of his starts and might finally show why now that he moves to turf for a high-percentage barn with a suitable pedigree.
Wall Street Kitten did no running in his only start, but that was last fall at Churchill, and he’s a Kitten’s Joy trained by Mike Maker, so ...
Are We Not Men’s last on dirt is a toss-out, and he made a huge middle move on turf in his debut two starts back. Steel N Pack was a good second in his debut, and I’m less concerned with the fact that he’s moving up from maiden claimers than I am that his debut came in a short field.
Fehsenfeld’s races in Tampa were okay. Mon Petit Pote elicits interest because he winds up here after making his first two starts at Fair Grounds and Lone Star and moves to turf for a barn with a fine overall turf record. Simon Bar Sinister’s profile is not unlike Whats Up Big Guy’s, but he ran in very small fields, and his outside draw is no bargain.
A’s: Whats Up Big Guy, Wall Street Kitten, Are We Not Men
B’s: Steel N Pack
C’s: Fehsenfeld, Skip’s World, Mon Petit Pote, Simon Bar Sinister
Quinnkat strikes me as a filly who can be leaned on in this spot. She bled when up against the talented My Miss Sophia (the winner of the Gazelle and runner-up in the Kentucky Oaks) most recently and earned a field-best Beyer when second two starts back. She hit the board in four stakes last year, and I like the cutback in distance for her in this situation.
Pekinesa is logical off seconds in her last three starts, all since getting blinkers and all since moving to dirt. Still, it’s getting close to the time when it’s fair to wonder if she wants to win. Likeuasafriend suitably moves back to dirt and faced ostensibly better in New York last year. One Look is well connected and seems the most likely of the three first-time starters. Fantastic Voyage might be helped with blinkers on but has already had 17 chances at a first win. Distinctive Lady improved in her last two off the claim but probably won’t get a sloppy track again.
B’s: Likeuasafriend, Pekinesa
C’s: One Look
Although this is another full field, there are many horses here who look like they are either simply not good enough or are far removed from their best form. I’m not thrilled with his outside draw, but Philly Ace looks very tough to me. He ran well against much better, even in his most recent starts, and it’s a plus that he is now able to put two starts relatively close together. And though he departed the hot Christophe Clement barn, I’m not the least bit concerned about the trainer switch. Angel Penna Jr. knows what he’s doing.
Joes Blazing Aaron strikes me as the main threat. He was up against better in his last two starts, really likes the Gulfstream turf course, and has the power of the Maker barn behind him. I do think Alley Oop Oop is intriguing. His recent form is clouded by starts on dirt, an outing on off turf, and ambitious assignments. He is finally properly spotted Monday and can be right there.
A’s: Philly Ace, Joes Blazing Aaron
B’s: Alley Oop Oop
In every multirace exotic wager, you have to take a stand in a race or two, and this is such a race for me. I’m against Karla and Me. It seems like the high-percentage barn that claimed her two starts back is giving up on her already by dropping her in for half of what it took her for, and her win three back wasn’t really all that special, even for this bunch.
I like Javamine and Hot Cotton. Javamine drops back down to the level at which she romped two starts back, and if she runs back to that performance, everyone else in here will be running for second. Hot Cotton has shown marked improvement Beyer-wise since being claimed three starts back, and the claiming-price drop she’s taking after a maiden romp last time out is entirely appropriate for a filly now facing winners.
Bottom line: Given how I feel about Karla and Me, if either Javamine or Hot Cotton doesn’t win this, I frankly have no idea who will. And that’s where the pick six syndicates have an edge because they can cover here without worrying about handicapping.
A’s: Hot Cotton, Javamine
My feelings on this race are similar to my position on the seventh race: A huge field, but only a few interest me as real win candidates. Balthazar is one. For some reason, he set the pace in his recent return from an eight-plus-month layoff, and that’s not his most effective running style. He should improve in his second start off the layoff and with a return to more effective closing tactics, and if he gets back to the way he ran when second last summer at Saratoga after an eventful trip, he’ll be a handful.
Cage Fighter fits well on Beyers, never runs a bad race regardless of the surface, and is likely to hold his form because that’s what Maker-trained horses do. Dream Saturday is intriguing. He improved with blinkers, comes off a strong, good-figure maiden win, and might like turf. Imaginethatmom is worth throwing in as a backup. He finished behind a few of these as the favorite last time but gets an equipment change (blinkers off), a hot rider (Kevin Krigger), and has some reasonably decent back races.
A’s: Balthazar, Cage Fighter
B’s: Dream Saturday
Sofialeonor has run a few races that were good enough to win this. But with a record of six seconds and three thirds from 19 starts, she seems determined to be a career maiden. If you have made it this far, you have to have Tohaveandtohold. She was well bet in her recent debut in an 11-horse field at Keeneland and finished a creditable third after a poor start and a wide rally, and she now drops in class. Her good try on Polytrack suggests that she should handle turf.
But I also would want to have Afleet Allie and Kimberly Is That U. Afleet Allie didn’t show a lot in her even debut at Oaklawn and now shows up in a turf race in south Florida for an owner who wants only to win, making her first start for a high-percentage barn with a hot jock named. She just reeks of intent. Kimberly Is That U drew a tough outside post but showed marked improvement when third last time with blinkers on in her first attempt going long on turf, and she also drops in class.
A’s: Afleet Allie, Tohaveandtohold, Kimberly Is That U
Stronach just got EXACTLY what he deserves. I hope the guy that hit it was the man that got DQ'd months ago for millions.
twinspires shows the rainbow 6 being hit. Amazing with only one true long shot winning.
We are way different in our handicapping. My "As" 5) 10/13 6) 5,8,9 7) 1,3,4,8,12 8) 11 9) 2,3,7,9,11,12,14 10) 5,12
MIKE: THANKS for great handicapping insights!!
MW - Thanks for the free advice and thanks DRF for the free PPs this week. DRF - Totally get the difficulties with the upgrade but hopefully it's also a sign of the demand for the product and you will respond accordingly with prudent investments. Hope they also entail increasing the speed on the Formulator replays. If you guys can figure out how to crunch all that data and speed it up you will be gold. BTW - don't let the naysayers keep you from charging for your original writing content either. Just figure out the right balance and keep the great product coming in this niche market.