04/11/2003 12:00AM

Three cash for $661,283 in pick 6

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Three horseplayers who cashed last Sunday for $661,283 on the Santa Anita pick six - a day the gross pool exceeded $2.9 million - employed a combination of good handicapping and good-sized bankrolls to score. Bettors wagering through Thistledown and Los Alamitos won their pick six bets with plays of $576 and $768, respectively, while a New York Racing Association bettor invested two tickets that cost a total of $10,944 in order to make the score.

While the Thistledown and Los Alamitos bettors wagered similar amounts, their contrasting wagering strategy is revealed in how their winning tickets were constructed. The Thistledown bettor used at least two horses in each race, while the Los Alamitos bettor singled the second and third legs in the sequence, allowing more horses to be used in the other four legs.

Without a single, the Thistledown bettor could not go deep in any race. In the Arcadia Handicap, won by $41.80 upsetter Century City, the bettor used only two horses - the favored Ballingarry and the winner. The bettor also was fortunate in the first leg, using the favorite and $35.80 winner Cherokee's Disco. The $576 ticket was structured 2 x 3 x 4 x 2 x 3 x 2. The upset win by Century City was the highest-priced winner in the pick six.

The Thistledown bettor went deep in four legs, but required precision in the second and third legs of the sequence. The $768 ticket was structured 4 x 1 x 1 x 6 x 4 x 4. After picking up the $35.80 winner in the first leg (4th race), the bettor singled $7.40 winner Nancys Magic Brush (5th) and $6.60 winner Bullistic (6th). The next three races were relatively easy given the strategy employed - the bettor went six deep to catch $41.80 Century City (7th), four deep to get $19.20 Swordfish (8th), and four deep for $13 Golden Rahy (9th).

The NYRA bettor used sheer volume to win the pick six. A $3,168 ticket that singled the even-money Devious Impact (4th) was dead after the first leg, while the winning $7,776 ticket used at least three runners in each leg. It was structured 3 x 3 x 4 x 4 x 3 x 9.

Buddy Gil workout hinges on weather

Trainer Jeff Mullins will have one eye on the sky this weekend. If the forecast for rain proves accurate, it would throw a kink into workout plans for Santa Anita Derby winner Buddy Gil. Mullins has planned a half-mile work for Buddy Gil Monday, the day before he leaves for Churchill Downs, but rain could force closure of the track for training. Mullins said his runner needs the workout and that he would hate to miss it.

Buddy Gil won the Santa Anita Derby despite an imperfect training regimen, though, as Mullins said, "It was a little hard on him." Buddy Gil bled in winning the race by a head.

If the main track at Santa Anita is closed because of mud, Mullins could work Buddy Gil over the six-furlong training track, which is positioned inside the turf course. While it would not be ideal, Mullins prefers to adhere to a pattern that calls for his horses to work nine days after they race. Mullins said he would work Buddy Gil over the smaller track if he had to.

Blazonry, Texas Hills could improve

Blazonry and Texas Hills remain under the radar, but their respective United States debuts within the past two weeks for trainer Kathy Walsh suggest more will be heard from both colts. Texas Hill finished second in a first-condition turf sprint Wednesday, missing by a half-length after racing closer to the lead than expected.

"He wants to go long, he doesn't want to sprint," Walsh said.

Texas Hills won one of two races last year in England for John Gosden before a private purchase by local owner Jim Vreeland.

While Texas Hill is likely to stay on turf, Blazonry made an impressive dirt debut April 2, finishing third in a first-level allowance race after a wide trip. Beaten two heads, Blazonry earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure, though Walsh said she would have "liked to have a couple more works; he'll improve a ton off this race."

Walsh said the Hennessy colt, owned and bred by Sanford Robertson, could run next in a 3-year-old stakes race on dirt somewhere. He won one of five starts overseas. Blazonry was a $100,000 buyback at a Keeneland yearling sale; his full brother Hippocrates was purchased last fall as a yearling for $1.1 million.

* Santa Margarita Handicap winner Starrer worked an easy five furlongs Friday at Hollywood Park, and could run May 24 at Hollywood Park in the Grade 1 Milady Handicap. Starrer was timed in 1:04.20 for trainer John Shirreffs.

* Santa Anita will hold a celebration Sunday in honor of what would have been Charlie Whittingham's 90th birthday. Whittingham memorabilia will be on display, a video tribute of the trainer's career will be shown, and Whittingham's widow, Peggy Whittingham, will present the trophy to the winning connections of the $150,000 Providencia Stakes. Whittingham, who died in 1999, is the all-time Santa Anita leader in wins (869) and stakes wins (204).

* A shallow field is taking shape for the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap next Sunday, closing day of the 2002-2003 winter meet. Champion Lodge and Requete lead the list of prospective starters for the about 1 3/4-mile turf race. Other possible starters include Special Matter, Adminniestrator, Timber Cruiser, and Hannibal Lad. The Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap Saturday is likely to attract Noches De Rosa, Megahertz, and Garden in the Rain.

* Trainers Mel and Warren Stute will be honored April 21 at a tribute dinner sponsored by the California Thoroughbred Trainers. Net proceeds of the event will benefit the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation, which benefits backstretch workers and their families. The dinner for the Stute brothers will be held at the Twin Palms restaurant in Pasadena. The CTT can be reached at (626) 447-2145 for more information.