01/29/2018 2:16PM

Rainbow 6 boosts Pegasus weekend handle gains at Gulfstream

Debra A. Roma
Total handle on the 2018 Pegasus World Cup was up 3.8 percent over last year's inaugural running.

Total handle on Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., including all horizontal wagers ending in the race, was $16.4 million, up 3.8 percent compared with wagering of $15.8 million last year on the inaugural Pegasus, according to charts of the races produced by Equibase.

Led by Horse of the Year Gun Runner, this year’s Pegasus had the top five finishers from last November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race that the Pegasus’s planners have said they are attempting to match, as far as handle and public interest. Handle on the Classic last year was $27.9 million, or $11.5 million more than the Pegasus this year.

Betting on the Pegasus was boosted by a potential $3.62 million jackpot for the Rainbow 6, a progressive wager that only pays out the entire pool if one ticket has the winning combination. This year, betting on the Rainbow 6 on Pegasus Day was $1,544,385, more than three times the Rainbow 6 betting on Pegasus Day last year, when the jackpot going into day was $306,000.

The Rainbow 6 did not have a single winning ticket Saturday, leading to a record pool for the bet Sunday, when there was a mandatory payout. A total of $15.8 million was added to the pool, shattering Gulfstream’s previous single-pool betting record of $10.8 million, set on a Rainbow 6 in 2016. The Rainbow 6 betting also played a large part in propelling Sunday’s all-sources handle to $28 million.

In a press release, Gulfstream said that total handle for the 12-race Saturday card was a record $41.98 million, up 4 percent compared with the single-card track record of $40.2 million set on Pegasus day last year. Coupled with Sunday’s results, Gulfstream had all-sources weekend handle of $70 million, a two-day record for the track.

Last year’s Pegasus featured Arrogate and California Chrome in a race billed as a rematch of their Breeders’ Cup Classic stretch duel, a contest that resonated with fans. Although the top five finishers in November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic met again in this year’s Pegasus, the presence of those horses did not generate the same pre-race hype as the Arrogate-California Chrome rematch last year.

This year’s Pegasus had a much different betting profile than last year’s race, with Gun Runner the clear favorite and the rest of the field spread out along a relatively normal odds distribution. Last year, Arrogate was 9-10 and California Chrome was 6-5, with the third choice, Keen Ice, at 16-1.

For this year’s Pegasus, total betting in the win pool was $4.2 million, compared with total betting in the win pool of $4.7 million in the Pegasus last year. Total betting in the win pool of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic was $7.52 million.

Handle on a late pick four ending in the Pegasus was $2,150,784, up 6.2 percent compared with pick four handle of $2,023,813 last year. Handle on a late pick five ending in the Pegasus was $1,041,722, down 5.8 percent compared with $1,105.296 in betting last year.