08/19/2009 11:00PM

For this pick six, $3,000 may not be enough


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Whatever their well-documented political and financial problems, New York's six regional OTBs have joined together for a pick six promotion though each of the six Saturdays at Saratoga that could result in a potential windfall for some of their patrons.

Each week, two people from each region are picked to share in the potential winnings of a $3,000 pick six ticket cobbled together by a guest handicapper. On Alabama Day, and again two weeks from now on Woodward Day, it's up to me to bring home the bacon.

For all the rules and eligibility regulations, you can visit www.otbpick6.com.

As someone with a comfort threshold of about $150 in multi-race exotics, usually the pick four, I figured it would be a challenge to make out 3G's worth of tickets. It was going to be fun, that is, until Saturday's entries came out and I got a look at the 10x9x12 maiden-maiden-maiden start to the sequence, which begins with race 6 at approximately 3:37 p.m. Eastern.

Writing this column two days out, I'm merely making an initial pass at some potential decisions, while obviously awaiting race-day weather, track conditions, and program changes. They want the play e-mailed by around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, so after it's in I will post it on The Inside Post blog at www.drf.com, probably with the help of DRF Formulator's TicketMaker program.

First leg (6th race): Sending in the play before first post, I will necessarily be flying on instruments through this field of 10 juvenile maiden filly sprinters, eight of whom are first-time starters.

It's a potentially loaded race I will have to break into tiers. The first tier will probably include four: Cat Day, a three-quarter sister to Storm Play (who was an impressive debut winner here last year), and three 2-year-old sale purchases - Speightful Lady, Squid Ink, and Amazing Anna.

Second leg (7th race): Another 2-year-old race, this one scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf, with seven first-time starters in the main body of 10.

The "A" team will likely consist of three. The Bill Mott-trained El Commodore has a profile eerily similar to 3-year-old stablemate Whisked Away, who wired a maiden turf route last Sunday after off-the-board finishes in sprints on turf and dirt. The Ken McPeek-trained Outlaw Man has some workouts that match up with stablemate House of Grace, a turf route debut winner at $48.40 on Wednesday. The Todd Pletcher entry of Modern Cowboy (six turf works) and Ulterior Motive appear to have trained together three times recently.

Third leg (8th race): Still more 2-year-old maidens, a dozen of them going 6 1/2 furlongs. The big question here is what to do with Discreetly Mine, a half-brother to Discreet Cat, who has already given up stretch leads twice as the favorite in shorter sprints. He's under the gun from the rail, after running a 44.21-second half-mile that equated to a stakes-caliber pace figure in his last race.

Fourth leg (9th race): This first-level turf allowance can probably be locked up with Grassy, Yankee Empire, Good Prospect, and Midnite Silver. The problem is that even $3,000 plays have to thin out at some point, and it's going to take some finagling to get through the three juvenile races.

I may wind up leaning heavily on Grassy, an up-and-coming colt who showed considerable potential in two starts at Belmont for Christophe Clement. But meanwhile, Yankee Empire beat Grassy on May 30, and then chased wire-to-wire winners who set slow paces in two July starts.

Fifth leg (10th race): Rachel, Rachel, wherefore art thou, my sure-fire single? Her presence in the Alabama would have reduced this mess to a pick five, but in her absence the 129th running is absolutely up for grabs among eight lesser lights. Consider that:

* Funny Moon, Don't Forget Gil, Wynning Ride, and Casanova Move were separated by slightly more than a length in the slowest Coaching Club American Oaks on record. If I had to take one among them, it would be Wynning Ride, who middle moved to the lead on what may have been a dead rail.

* Careless Jewel and Be Fair recorded the best last-out Beyers while loose on the lead.

* Sweet and Flawless and Milwaukee Appeal have run their fastest races on Polytrack at Arlington Park and Woodbine, respectively.

Sixth leg (11th race): After nine losses in first-level allowance races, it's tough to trust Lemon Punch, but the first eight of those races were against open company in California, and she was a clear second at 6-5 in her first start against fellow New York-breds on closing day at Belmont.

It's probably up to her if the play makes it this far, but if I've really been right up to now, it would also be nice to have Facetious, Freedom Rings, and Mythical Yarn.