04/02/2013 3:06PM

Santa Anita: Pick-six carryover starts Thursday pot with $88,542

Barbara D. Livingston
Irish import Horizon Sky is trained by Jeff Mullins.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Although interest in the Santa Anita pick six has waned in the last five years, there is nothing like a carryover to generate buzz the first day of the racing week.

The pick six Thursday begins with an $88,542 carryover from $165,746 wagered on the bet Easter Sunday. The pots were bigger five years ago – the pick six on Easter in 2008 (March 23) handled $295,253.

Bettors on Thursday could wager a half-million dollars or more into the pick six (races 3-8), which includes a potential single in race 7.

European import Horizon Sky makes his second U.S. start in an entry-level allowance for 3-year-old turf sprinters. While he looks tough to beat on paper, his trainer said he looks even better in the flesh.

Jeff Mullins trains Irish import Horizon Sky, purchased after a creditable sixth, beaten 5 1/4 lengths, in an autumn stakes at Dundalk. The form of that race was validated when winner Lines of Battle later returned to win the UAE Derby and earn a berth in the Kentucky Derby.

Horizon Sky was 1 for 6 when he arrived in California in December. He was ready to run soon after, but one night kicked through the webbing in his stall and sustained a cut on the inside of his hind leg.

Mullins was forced to postpone his U.S. debut.

“I had to ease off him, and he kind of got fat on me,” Mullins said.

Horizon Sky went a month without a breeze and had only two works into his March 2 comeback in the Baffle Stakes.

“That race came up quicker than we wanted, and I think he was a little fat,” Mullins said. “I thought he ran well. I think he’ll improve a ton.”

Horizon Sky, though short on conditioning, finished a promising third in the Baffle. He finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Rosengold, who returned to win the Pasadena Stakes next out. Meanwhile, Horizon Sky posted three solid turf works the past month.

Tyler Baze rides Horizon Sky, owned by Michael House. And though Mullins believes the colt wants to run farther, an improved effort Thursday figures to produce a sprint victory at low odds.

Seven others entered the first-level allowance, including The Whole Deal, runner-up in a similar race two back, and Disarm, in the money in two recent highly rated dirt sprints. The Thursday carryover is the 19th of the meet, through 59 days. While Horizon Sky figures as a popular single in race 7, five other races are challenging.

Race 3 is a first-level allowance turf sprint for statebred fillies and mares; front-runner My Cinsation is the controlling speed and the only starter with experience on the hill. Foes include route-to-sprint upset candidate Always a Chance and Hidethegoodstuff, whose trainer-jockey combo Jerry Hollendorfer and Rafael Bejarano lead the meet at 18 for 30.

Race 4 is a $25,000 claiming route on dirt. Spit Ball, 3 for 3 since being gelded, moves up one class level trying to become the first horse to win four races at the meet. Rivals include late-runner Joe Carl and front-runners Bluegrass Reward and Guidopanzini.

Race 5 is a $25,000 claiming route on turf. The 2012 restricted stakes winner Midnight Crooner drops into his first claiming race while facing Mr. Make Believe, Unusual Jazz, Golden Mexico, and Porfido.

Race 6 is a $20,000 maiden-claiming sprint. Warren’s Parolee shortens up for hot trainer Jorge Gutierrez (6 wins last 13 starters). Other entrants are “live” longshot comebacker Spectacularjourney, Unmarked Bills, Rahy’s Reflection, and Gutierrez-trained Warren’s Wesley.

Race 8 is a $30,000 maiden claimer for 3-year-olds led by droppers Dockweiler, Great Friends Rule, and Fighting On.