Charles Town offers lucrative Pick 6 pool

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Ted Black

December 31st, 2018

While many sports fans were focused on watching the College Football Playoff semifinals and gearing up for the last day of the NFL season one day later, thoroughbred racing fans turned their attention in an unlikely direction on Saturday night as Charles Town hosted a modest eight-race card highlighted by a $1 million Pick 6 pool.

Saturday's third race was a nondescript one-turn maiden $12,500 claiming event for fillies and mares, but it was the formful beginning to the Pick 6 sequence and named in honor of a retiring local legend. Why Not Annie (Carlos Delgado) gained command soon after the break and romped home six lengths clear as the 6-5 favorite for her first win in 12 career outings for trainer Joseph Pyke. The perennial bridesmaid had finished second seven times in her previous 11 outings before finally garnering her diploma.

Saturday night's third race at Charles Town was not only a formful start to the Pick 6 but also honored the retirement of Track President Dickie Moore. A genuine local legend at Charles Town, Moore had been affiliated with the track for more than 50 years and he had climbed from the bottom as the mutuel department change man to racing secretary and eventually track president. His presence at the historic Jefferson County oval will be sorely missed.

Then one race later in a two-turn event for $5,000 claimers, Cherubim continued the chalky start to the Pick 6 when he led throughout as the 3-5 favorite. A seven-year-old Henny Hughes gelding trained by Jeff Runco for owner Rockingjam Ranch - which could boast two Breeders Cup winners this year - Cherubim drew off to a five-length score while runner-up To The Stars nearly lost jockey Brittany Scampton leaving the quarter pole.

As luck would have it, one upset guaranteed a healthy return in the Pick 6. Huehue (Luis Batista) led throughout to forge a 29-1 shocker in a two-turn maiden special weight event when she just lasted for a neck score for trainer Anthony Grigsby and owner-breeder Alix White. Huehue, unplaced in each of her first two starts, was the only genuine headscratcher in the sequence when prevailing narrowly in 1:21.69 for the 6 1/2-furlongs.

But one race later Maninthemoon (Jose Montano) restored order when he prevailed as the even-money favorite in a one-turn dash for trainer Cody Beattie and owner-breeder Equivine Farm.But chalk players suffered a serious blow in the feature when Shrove Tuesday forged a 9-1 upset in a three-turn allowance for fillies and mares while outlasting the late bid of 2-5 favorite Dark Empress in a one-mile and one-sixteenth event.

Then in the wide open finale, Got Any Questions rallied from midpack with a rail move down the backside and a wide journey on the turn to post a two-length score in her career debut for trainer Lela Hanagan of Court Date fame. But more importantly for players, Got Any Questions scored as the 5-2 third choice and capped a Pick 6 that paid $14,295 for every $1 winning ticket. Hanagan saddled the top two finishers in the finale and Pick 6 players were perhaps hoping her other entrant would prevail at a higher price.