06/03/2010 12:00AM

Pick six likely to top $1 million


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Favorites are running amok at Hollywood Park, winning at a 41 percent clip and slowing pick-six carryovers to a mere trickle - the bet carried over only four times the first 28 days of the spring meet.

But when racing resumes Friday night after three dark days, fireworks are possible. The pick-six pool is expected to surpass $1 million, thanks to a $150,594 carryover that has simmered since Monday. The sequence (races 3-8) starts easily. Fantando will be heavily favored in a $25,000 maiden-claiming sprint that is race 3, followed by the consistent mare Welken in race 4, an optional claimer on turf. Fantando and Welken both are trained by Mike Mitchell.

A challenging sprint claimer for 3-year-old fillies is race 5; maiden claimers Warren's Tommy Too and Johnnie Gold go in race 6. Possibly overrated Sister Dawn will be favored to win race 7, a turf sprint for 3-year-old allowance fillies. The pick six ends with another $25,000 maiden-claiming sprint, race 8.

Based on a solid U.S. debut May 13, race-3 favorite Fantando appears the most probable winner on the card. The gelding raced six furlongs, finished well, and missed by a nose. Afterward, the meet's leading jockey, Rafael Bejarano, offered Mitchell a suggestion.

"I think he can use blinkers," Bejarano said.

"You have to listen to riders, especially Rafael," Mitchell said, adding that the blinkers "won't be severe, just enough to keep him focused. And I loved the fact that he finished."

Fantando earned a 65 Beyer Figure, which matches par for $25,000 maiden claimers at the meet, and Mitchell said he expects seven furlongs to be ideal. Finally, the trainer's win rate with maiden-claiming favorites is wild. The past five years in Southern California, Mitchell is 45-for-92 with maiden-claiming favorites (49 percent).

Race 4 is the second leg of the pick six, and the mile turf race for fillies and mares is headed by Welken, a 27-start veteran with 10 wins and nine seconds. Welken was claimed for $40,000 from a Dec. 31 win at Santa Anita and won three of her next four starts for Mitchell. Overall, she won four of five during the winter and was named claimer of the meet. Her last start was April 15.

Mitchell gave Welken a freshening and planned to run her Saturday in the $60,000 Redondo Beach. He changed his mind after looking at the prospective field. "I thought it was too tough," he said. "The reason we've done well with her is because we placed her right."

Mitchell and owner Nick Alexander decided to run Welken at the same condition as her last two wins - nonwinners-of-two-other-than, optional $62,500 claiming. "I love the other horse," Mitchell said of Fantando, "but Welken . . . it's a little tougher spot."

Her competition includes Lilly Fa Pootz, runner-up in her last start, and Oui Say Oui, who won a first-level allowance by more than four lengths May 5 while benefitting from a perfect trip.

Race 5 is a $12,500 claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies, with droppers Cenizo and Warren's Swap Fox the leading contenders. Frequent Fame and Brianna Marie also figure prominently in a spread race.

Race 6, a sprint for Cal-bred $40,000 maiden claimers, includes two main contenders. Warren's Tommy Too has the highest figures and benefits from a cutback to 6 1/2 furlongs. Johnnie Gold's debut was better than it looked. He broke slow, rushed, was shuffled back on the turn, and then finished willingly for fourth. Johnnie Gold has been gelded since.

In race 7, Sister Dawn will be favored for the fifth time in five starts. She broke slow last time, rushed, set the pace, and lost by a neck. Sister Dawn is the speed of the field while removing blinkers. The knocks are that she repeatedly performs below expectations and will switch to grass. Her main rival is claiming winner Sweet Hanni.

In race 8, a messy field of maiden claimers includes dropper Titus Aurelius, improving Souvenir Summer, 11-start maiden Roos On the Loose, and late-runner Surefire.