12/02/2002 12:00AM

Pick six pool falls short of million


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - In a possible indication of changing bettor sentiment toward the pick six, Hollywood Park on Sunday failed to attract $1 million in bets for a pick six that was guaranteed to reach seven figures.

The pool reached $936,848, forcing an insurance policy to kick in to make up the shortfall, track president Rick Baedeker said. Bettors in New York were not offered the pick six.

"We were worried that without New York participating and with a little bit of softness through the meeting that there was this possibility," Baedeker said.

Sunday's pick six marked the first time that Hollywood had offered a guaranteed pick six since confirmation of an ongoing Breeders' Cup pick six scandal.

A $1 million guaranteed pool was offered on the California Cup at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Helped by a carryover of $359,906, bettors contributed $1,316,374 to that pick six.

Baedeker said it has been difficult to measure bettor interest in the pick six in recent weeks because of the number of variables, including carryovers and field sizes.

He defended the guaranteed pick six as a promotion that has not run its course despite being offered frequently to bettors throughout the country.

"I think it's reached its proper level," he said.

The track did purchase an insurance policy to cover the difference if the pool failed to reach $1 million. Baedeker declined to reveal the cost of the policy, but expressed concern that future policies could be more expensive.

There were signs in advance that interest in the pick six may be waning.

In early November, Hollywood Park officials conducted an informal poll of bettors, gauging reaction to the Breeders' Cup pick six scandal.

The poll revealed that 20 percent of customers said they were betting less in the pick six because of the recent scandal involving the Breeders' Cup pick six, Baedeker said.

"That's capable of being a couple hundred-thousand dollars," Baedeker said.

The poll was conducted in advance of the tracks' request to the California Horse Racing Board to shut betting a minute before the listed post time. The request was denied by the CHRB.

In Sunday's pick six, tickets with six winners were worth $14,703.60.

Baedeker said that the fall meeting "is nearly even" on overall handle with the 2001 meeting. Ontrack figures are not as encouraging following rain on the opening weekend, he said.

Baedeker said the ontrack handle was down 6 or 7 percent, but that some of that could be regained in the final weeks of the fall meeting, which ends Dec. 22.

"I think we'll continue to recoup what we lost on opening weekend," he said. "I think we'll finish up overall from what we've done in the last few weeks."

Bailey still shy of earnings mark

The lack of a stakes win on Sunday's lucrative program at Hollywood Park may prevent jockey Jerry Bailey from breaking his single-season earnings record of $22,857,720 set last year.

Through Sunday, Bailey's mounts had earned $22,542,509, leaving him $225,221 short of the mark.

Even though there is a month remaining in the year, Bailey intends to keep a low profile as he prepares for winter racing in Florida. He is booked to ride Sightseek in the La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 28, and may ride on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31 at Calder.

Bailey on Sunday rode for trainer Bobby Frankel. Their best result was a third by Royal Gem in the $500,000 Hollywood Derby. Royal Gem earned $60,000 for that finish.

Frankel needs a strong December to break trainer D. Wayne Lukas's single-season record of $17,842,358 set in 1988. Through Sunday, Frankel's runners had earned $17,241,228, leaving him $496,930 from the record.

Frankel trains Sightseek and is expected to have numerous starters in upcoming stakes at Hollywood Park.

Third time's the charm for Texas Glitter

In what was likely his final start in the United States, Texas Glitter went out a winner on Friday in the $200,000 Hollywood Turf Express.

Scheduled to go to stud this winter, Texas Glitter ran one of his best races to catch Rocky Bar in the final furlong of the Turf Express, run over 5 1/2 furlongs. He finished in 1:01.52.

The win saved the day for New York-based trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez, who were left disappointed when Ocean Drive finished unplaced in the Miesque Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

"That made the trip worthwhile," Velazquez said. "This horse is going to give you 110 percent. I was glad he did it."

Friday's race was Texas Glitter's third appearance in the Turf Express in as many years. Second in 2000, he was fourth last year.

The 6-year-old Texas Glitter has won 11 of 36 starts and $826,077.

Texas Glitter is scheduled to start in the Hong Kong Sprint over five furlongs on Dec. 15.

Following six graded stakes over the holiday weekend, the pace of the fall meeting slows down. There is one graded stakes this weekend, the $100,000 Vernon Underwood Stakes over six furlongs on Saturday.

Men's Exclusive will attempt to win the Grade 3 sprint for the third consecutive year. He will face F.J.'s Pace, Mellow Fellow, and Mighty David.

Sunday's main race is the $70,000 Corona Handicap for fillies and mares over six furlongs.

Over the final two weeks of the meet, there are five graded stakes, including two Grade 1 stakes - the Hollywood Starlet for 2-year-old fillies on Dec. 14 and the Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 21.

Tates Creek, who was scratched from the $500,000 Matriarch Stakes on Sunday, may run in the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap, a Grade 2 for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles on turf on Dec. 21.

Sunday, Frankel reported that Tates Creek had tied up, forcing her withdrawal. She had been supplemented to the Matriarch for $15,000.

* Lusty Latin, who was third in the Santa Anita Derby last April but 15th in the Kentucky Derby, is back in serious training after recovering from a leg injury. Sunday, he worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Santa Anita.