10/29/2001 1:00AM

Pick six guaranteed again


STICKNEY, Ill. - It's back. Hawthorne's guaranteed pick six, the bet that sent sharp players around the country scurrying to the windows last spring, returns this fall. The exposure the guaranteed pick six generated for the track in May was great, but the promotion turned rather disastrous when it was hit five times in the meet's first seven days. Without a multiday carryover to enhance the pick six pool, Hawthorne had to cover the guaranteed payoffs itself.

The bet was canceled after nine days of racing, and it returns now with a smaller guaranteed pool - down from $100,000 to $50,000 - and a higher base bet. One-dollar partial wheel wagers initially were accepted on the pick six this spring, but all bets are $2 this time.

"Naturally, there's still a concern" about covering the guarantee, said Thomas Carey, Hawthorne's director of operations. "But there's also a desire to give players what they're asking for. We hope there's a carryover that will stimulate interest."

Hitting the pick six here will prove more challenging than in the spring. Then, the Chicago racing season had not yet hit its stride, and fields generally were small. Field size at this meet is likely to increase dramatically.

Hollendorfer headed home

Jerry Hollendorfer, the leading trainer at Arlington, applied for and was granted stalls at Hawthorne, but Hollendorfer turned those stalls down and will return to his California base. "I'm going back to California to regroup," said Hollendorfer, who was stabled in Chicago for the first time this summer. "I'm going to concentrate on having a good winter."

Hollendorfer's presence was a major coup for Arlington. With a vast number of racehorses in his care, Hollendorfer helps fill races across all class levels wherever he stables. He was second at the Arlington meet in the number of starters this year with 214. But Hollendorfer on Monday offered no promises of returning to Chicago next summer.

"I'm not going to predict right now whether we'll be back," he said. "We're going to concentrate on the winter right now. We'll make that decision over the winter or in early spring."

Sportsman's surface being installed

As it was during the spring, the Sportsman's Park racing surface is supposed to be open for morning training during the Hawthorne meet. And though the removable dirt surface was still being laid down Monday, Sportsman's still expects to have the track ready by Wednesday.

During the summer, the dual-purpose Sportsman's facility, which sits on property adjacent to Hawthorne, is used for auto racing. Two weeks ago, Sportsman's trucked in its horse racing surface and began the laborious task of laying it atop the auto track.

"This year we decided to take much more time putting down the base of the track, making sure it is level and even, to ensure the drainage is absolutely perfect," said Terry Hart, vice president of horse racing and operations for the National Jockey Club. "We'll get an update from [track superintendent] Albert Jozwiak this afternoon."