03/02/2004 12:00AM

One card, two guarantees


Bettors face a unique wagering menu Saturday on the Santa Anita Handicap card, when two guaranteed pools will be offered on multiple-race wagers - the local pick six, and the weekly cross-country Magna 5 pick five. The issue is whether bettors have sufficient capital to support both pools the same day.

Mike Ziegler, vice president and assistant general manager at the track, is confident. Ziegler said, "There are a lot of people" at Magna Entertainment Company, owner of Santa Anita, "working hard to make sure both these bets hit the number."

The number is a $1 million guarantee for the Santa Anita pick six, and a $500,000 guarantee for the Magna 5 that includes races at four Magna tracks - Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, Laurel, and Golden Gate Fields.

The Magna 5 has exceeded the $500,000 guarantee the past four Saturdays. The question is whether the wager will reach the threshold on the heels of Santa Anita's $1.4 million pick six carryover into Wednesday, and competition from the $1 million guaranteed pick six pool Saturday. The track has purchased insurance on both Saturday pools.

A welcome scenario for the track would be a series of low-odds winners in Wednesday's pick six, distributing the pool to many bettors.

Saturday's guaranteed-pool dilemma is further compounded by the placement of the wagers. Race 6 Saturday will be the first leg of the Santa Anita pick six; and also the fourth leg of the Magna Five.