03/31/2017 2:16PM

Rainbow 6 pot up for grabs on closing day

Barbara D. Livingston
Adventist makes his first turf start in the seventh race on Sunday, giving bettors more to ponder as they chase the Rainbow 6.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Gulfstream Park was to be the center of the racing world’s attention on Saturday, with the $1 million Florida Derby being the focal point of a stellar 14-race program. The same can be said for Sunday, but for a much different reason, as horseplayers from near and far zero in on another mandatory payout in the Rainbow 6.

If there is no single-ticket winner Saturday, the Rainbow 6 jackpot may reach $10 million before the final 20-cent wager has been processed Sunday.

Sunday’s 11-race program is the final card of the four-month championship meeting. And what the six events that make up the Rainbow 6 sequence lack in quality, they make up for in quantity while certain to try both the skills and patience of all bettors, big and small.

Here is a capsule look at the six races that make up Sunday’s Rainbow 6, which begins with race 6 at 3:05 p.m. Eastern.

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Race 6

This is one of two bottom-level maiden claimers on the main track in the sequence and is the type of race in which form has been known to take a beating here this winter.

It’s hard to fault anyone who can afford to hit the all button here and does so. TOM LIZ seems like a logical choice coming off a near miss behind the wire-to wire winner Diamond Mint despite getting shuffled early and forced to come very wide with a determined closing bid. He has the speed to sit closer to the pace with a cleaner beginning, although surely he is a tough horse to stand alone with considering that the barn remains winless at the meet. QUALITY A. ROD plunges from maiden special weight company to the bottom after ducking out and getting jostled before showing brief speed in his latest. He is hard to leave off the ticket, as is DELTA FORCE, a $150,000 yearling buy who showed nothing when debuting against just slightly better but who did show promise working with blinkers on last week.

Race 7

This is the only allowance race in the Rainbow 6, and it offers many contenders, including STEEL SKY, who looks loose on the lead but is 2 for 29 lifetime; COMPLETELY BONKERS, who is easily best on Beyer Speed Figures but must carve out a trip from off the pace; and ADVENTIST, a classy sort on dirt but obviously a big question mark while making his turf and local debut after being transferred to trainer Mike Maker’s barn this winter. Those looking for a sleeper might try TERRY’S CHARM, who is returning to turf off a surprisingly strong effort on dirt.

Race 8

This is a weak bunch of maiden claimers on turf and another possibility for the “all” button. LAST LIGHTNING looks interesting while switching to grass off the claim, being a half-brother to the Grade 1-placed turf horse Exclusive Strike. SIN LLORAR, a first-time starter in dangerous hands, is also bred for grass, being a half to Reconfigure, who was perfect in two starts on turf. Of the experienced ones, BREAK THE MOLD, LAST LIGHTNING, JAPONSKI and OSVALDO each are capable of winning at their best with the right trip. Osvaldo may be compromised by breaking from the No. 11 post at this 7 1/2-furlong distance.

Race 9

Another bottom-level maiden claimer with new faces who demand plenty of scrutiny, including first-time starters COPE and HEART SHAPED BOX. Unfortunately, Rainbow 6 players will get no help from the tote board for this one as a result of its placing in the sequence. CINDY’S CANDY comes off her best yet despite a tough trip going a mile, but she’s going to have to rally from far back while turning back to 5 1/2 furlongs. Did I hear someone say “all button” again?

Race 10

This race has a decent bunch of turf specialists, several of whom have already won at this $16,000 open category during the meet. Trip is everything here. If they get a clean run, the two most likely winners are STARSHIP ZORRO, who comes off a big try behind Hidden Vow, and ENTWISTLE, coming off a career-best effort of his own, where he probably was best considering the trip. HAMPSTEAD HEATH and ROCK EAGLE, who did not get clean trips in their last starts, cannot be ignored.

Race 11

Owner and breeder Ken Ramsey has successfully dropped in some short-priced favorites to win races on mandatory-payout Rainbow 6 cards. Perhaps he’s done so again in the finale with TIGER PAW, the one to beat and perhaps a single for many as he plunges to this claiming level for the first time. But the stretch-running gelding still will need to trip out at a relatively short price, so it might be a good idea to back him up with CHIVALROUS, coming off a big try against slightly softer last out; SUPREME COMMANDER, who is knocking at the door at this level; and BROWNS GAP, off a much-needed outing last month but who must overcome a very bad post in his second race off the layoff.