A $50 play for Santa Anita's $898,063 Rainbow Pick 6 dispersal
So you might be wondering, why is everyone talking about the Saturday card at Santa Anita? Sure, there are four stakes races on the agenda, but the same can be said of the Saturday card at Tampa Bay Downs.
No, the hype about Santa Anita has nothing to do with the quality of the racing, as good as it might be. The excitement stems instead from the scheduled mandatory dispersal of an $898,063 Rainbow Pick 6 jackpot carryover.
With the final pool likely to reach millions of dollars, the 20-cent wager has the potential to return boxcar payoffs to winning bettors. Want to join in on the action? Let’s take a race-by-race look at the sequence and put together a ~$50 play:
Race 5: $50,000 Maiden Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs, 5:08 p.m. ET)
#1 Smoothlikebuttah (7-2) might be 0-for-8, but she’s never competed for a claiming tag and exits a decent sixth-place effort in the California Cup Oaks running one mile on turf. Her last dirt sprint yielded a near-miss against maiden special weight company at Del Mar, so dropping down to the maiden claiming ranks should produce a victory for hot trainer Steve Knapp. A quick half-mile workout in :47 4/5 on Jan. 28 adds to the appeal.
We’ll single Smoothlikebuttah to start the sequence.
Race 6: Allowance (1 1/8 miles on turf, 5:42 p.m. ET)
#6 Whisper Not (9-5) ran a big race against tough company in the Dec. 26 Mathis Brothers Mile (G2), battling through tight quarters down the homestretch to finish third by 1 1/4 lengths against four-time graded stakes winner Smooth Like Strait and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Storm the Court. Whisper Not will face easier allowance company on Saturday and looms as a logical single.
Race 7: San Vicente (G2, seven furlongs, 6:14 p.m. ET)
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won the San Vicente 10 times and holds a strong hand in the 2021 edition with maiden winners #6 Concert Tour (8-5) and #1 Freedom Fighter (5-2). The former was a flashy debut winner on Jan. 15 and looks like the fastest horse on paper, but Freedom Fighter has been training up a storm in preparation for his first start since last August. Both warrant inclusion in the Rainbow 6.
Race 8: Thunder Road (G3, one mile on turf, 6:46 p.m. ET)
#7 Bob and Jackie (5-2) has been facing tough company, most recently coming home second in the San Gabriel (G2) behind multiple graded stakes winner Anothertwistafate. The son of Twirling Candy has speed and brings competitive Brisnet Speed ratings to the mix, but recent Joe Hernandez (G2) winner #8 Hembree and stretch-running allowance winner #4 Border Town (6-1) can also get involved at fair prices.
Race 9: $16,000 Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs, 7:20 p.m. ET)
This is a difficult race to handicap. A dozen horses have been entered, and most have run well enough (at one time or another) to vie for victory. We’ll spread deep with #1 Bird (8-1), #2 Dreamer’s Reality (5-1), #4 Prince Ricky (12-1), #6 Zorich (9-2), #8 Threearchbaymafia (4-1), #9 Squalotoro (6-1), and #10 Nonno’s Polaris (15-1). Then we’ll cross our fingers and hope we didn’t leave out the winner.
Race 10: $50,000 Maiden Claiming (Six furlongs, 7:52 p.m. ET)
#4 Aadhana (4-1) has run well against maiden special weight company on dirt, most recently finishing sixth in a deep six-furlong sprint at Santa Anita. A daughter of California Chrome, who won the Hollywood Derby (G1) on turf, Aadhana is switching surfaces and adding blinkers for her third run under colors. She brings solid Brisnet Speed ratings to the mix and will carry a feathery 112 pounds, setting the stage for a winning effort.
But Aadhana is hardly the only logical contender in the mix. #5 Varoma (12-1), #8 Agreetodisagree (7-2), #9 Kind But She Lies (30-1), #10 Lunatic (4-1), and #11 Ragged Rose (6-1) are others worth including in this deeply competitive race.
Race 5, 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6: 1 with 6 with 1,6 with 4,7,8 with 1,2,4,6,8,9,10 with 4,5,8,9,10,11 ($50.40)