03/04/2004 1:00AM

Three winners split record pick six pool


ARCADIA, Calif. - The three winning tickets worth $1,567,984 each from Santa Anita's pick six on Wednesday were cashed on Thursday and ranged in cost from $64 to $2,160.

The $64 ticket was purchased through the New York OTB network. A winning $288 ticket was purchased at Viejas Casino in Alpine, Calif., near San Diego. It was cashed on Thursday afternoon by a nine-person partnership, according to Santa Anita officials.

The $2,160 ticket was cashed Thursday at Churhill Downs Trackside in Louisville, Ky., Santa Anita officials said.

Interest in the pick six reached a fever pitch on Wednesday after a three-day carryover from Friday through Sunday reached $1,413,136. The gross pool of $7,302,848 was a record.

The payoff could have been $4,703,953.80 to a single winner if 75-1 Flying Kegan had not broken down in deep stretch of the eighth race. Flying Kegan was leading and appeared to be on his way to a win when he was fatally injured.

Track officials said there would have been one winning ticket if Flying Kegan had won. None of the eventual winning tickets cashed Thursday included Flying Kegan.

The New York ticket had two singles, and two horses in the last race. The ticket purchased at Viejas had one single (River Lights in the third race), used two horses in two races, three horses in two races, and went four deep in the second leg. The ticket used three horses in the eighth race.

The ticket cashed at Churhill Downs Trackside used three horses in the last race.

The consolation returned $3,169.20.

Bettors added $5,889,712 to Wednesday's pick six, creating a record gross pool. The previous record for a gross pool was $6,657,311, set at Santa Anita on Jan. 23, 1991.

The winning horses in Wednesday's pick six were River Lights ($7.60), Deputy Tombe ($20), Rave Party ($5.20), Ditch Digger ($4.20), Ran for the Dough ($24.40), and Houston Astro ($66.20).

Rave Party and Ditch Digger were favorites. Paddy Gallagher trained two of the winners - Deputy Tombe and Ran for the Dough - and said he had a pick six ticket with five winners.

The winning payoff was not a Santa Anita record. The record of $2,687,611 was set on Breeders' Cup Day last October.

Interest in the pick six led to an all-sources handle on the Wednesday card of $15,252,590, the fourth-highest handle of the meeting.

The carryover may not have come at a good time for Santa Anita. On Saturday, the track is offering a guaranteed pick six pool of $1 million in conjunction with the Santa Anita Handicap program. Bettors might not have the bankrolls to challenge two lucrative pick six pools in the same week.

Saturday's pick six covers the sixth through 11th races, including the day's three stakes - the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes, $350,000 Kilroe Mile, and the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.

Santiago jumps right in with 11 wins

Even though he did not arrive until six weeks into the current meeting, jockey Javier Santiago is on the verge of cracking the top 10 at Santa Anita.

A native of Puerto Rico, Santiago had 11 wins through Wednesday and was tied for 12th in the standings with Emile Ramsammy. Alex Solis leads with 56 wins.

Saturday, Santiago has mounts in two major stakes - Consecrate in the San Rafael, and Needwood Blade in the Kilroe Mile. He has six other mounts on the 11-race program.

Santiago was scheduled to ride Sarava in the Big Cap, but trainer Bob Baffert pulled Sarava from the race last weekend, saying he was unhappy with the weights.

On Sunday, Santiago travels to Fair Grounds, where he rides Wimbledon for Baffert in the Louisiana Derby.

His success in the past month has moved Santiago closer to a goal he set shortly after arriving in early February.

"I'd like to be in the top five, but if I'm in the top 10, I'll be happy," Santiago said through jockey agent Tony Matos. Santiago, 26, speaks limited English.

He moved to California from Puerto Rico at the insistence of Matos, who was tipped to the jockey's ability by friends and retired jockeys Eddie Belmonte and Angel Cordero Jr.

"I chose him because of what I saw," Matos said.

Matos showed tapes to several Santa Anita trainers before urging the rider to relocate.

Santiago won two races on Feb. 4, his first day at Santa Anita.

Matos says this is not a short-term trip. He said that Santiago is looking for a home and has brought his wife and two preschool-age children from Puerto Rico.

"For him being here the first two or three weeks, he felt like he set himself up in the beginning and that his business will get better," Matos said.

Santiago was a top rider in Puerto Rico and had ridden in the past in Delaware and Florida.

"They ride tighter here - it's different than Puerto Rico," Santiago said. "It's easier here. There are not so many crazy riders. It's safer."

Oaklawn BC next for Cat Fighter

Cat Fighter, who was sold for $1.35 million at Tuesday's dispersal of The Thoroughbred Corp.'s stock at Barretts, will make her next start in the $200,000 Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Handicap on March 13.

Cat Fighter was purchased by John Sikura and will be co-owned by Audrey Haisfield. Cat Fighter will remain with Baffert. She won her first stakes in the La Canada Stakes for 4-year-old fillies on Feb. 14.

Memorial service Monday for Russell

Memorial services for John Russell will be held at noon on Monday at Ascension Episcopal Church, 25 E. Laurel Ave., Sierra Madre, Calif.

Russell died on Feb. 25 at his home in Del Mar after a battle with cancer. He was 67. Russell trained the champions Susan's Girl and Track Robbery.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution be sent to Tranquility Farm, P.O. Box 210, Tehachapi, CA 93581.

No rain expected to fall on Big Cap

After two weeks of occasional rain, conditions should be fine for Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap. The forecast calls for a high temperature of 74.

Track president Jack McDaniel said Santa Anita is hoping for a crowd that exceeds the 2003 audience of 25,803, the lowest Big Cap crowd in track history.

Minister Eric puts in six-furlong move

Minister Eric, the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last October, worked six furlongs in 1:14.60 on Thursday. Trainer Richard Mandella hoped to start Minister Eric in an allowance race this week, but the races did not fill. He is hoping to get a start for the colt next week.

Star Cross, second to Pleasantly Perfect in the San Antonio Handicap on Jan. 31, breezed three furlongs in 35 seconds in advance of Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap. The workout was the fastest of 24 recorded works at the distance.