Shapiro: How to play Churchill's mandatory Single 6 jackpot payout

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TwinSpires Staff

June 2nd, 2018


With $695,728 in the Single 6 jackpot pool after Friday, the management of Churchill Downs has opted to make the first "Downs After Dark" card a bit more interesting. $300,000 of the carryover pool will be part of a mandatory payout in the wager that requires the horseplayer to pick the winners of six consecutive races. The sequence commences in Race 4.

With a 20-cent denomination it is easier than other wagers to get coverage in races you lack a strong opinion in, but it is still wise to formulate a strategy built around your strongest opinions instead of playing a random ticket with several horses in each of the six races.

Here are my thoughts on the races and how I will go about trying to attack the challenging six-race sequence:

Race 4

This conditioned $30K claimer at seven panels over the main track gets things rolling. My top choice in here is #5 Divine Desire who comes into his ninth lifetime start in good form for trainer Larry Jones. However, I am not confident enough in his chances to go "all in," so I will use a few others including first-time gelding #4 Mutajaded who would be a separator in the first leg.

Race 5

The best horse long term in this two-turn maiden special weight event on the lawn in likely to be $2 million Keeneland November 2015 purchase #1 Awe Emma for trainer Steve Asmussen. However, at a likely short price I think she is worth taking a shot against because there is little chance that winning on first asking is the goal. #3 Don't Tell Marge is my top choice in her second career start for trainer Neil Howard. She is bred on both sides to love the lawn and attracts the services of leading rider Brian Hernandez, Jr.

Race 6

This high-level optional claimer at a mile and an eighth appears to be void of early speed types, so it is difficult to back horses that like to come from way out of it. I landed on #3 Big Dollar Bill as my top choice, but also will use #1 Krewe Chief. The five-year-old gelding should be prominently placed early in his first try off the claim for trainer Mike Maker. #4 Irish Freedom is a play against for me. The son of Pioneerof the Nile has failed to get back to his two triple digit BRIS speed ratings last fall and while he always works well in the mornings he has failed to perform as impressively in the afternoons of late.

Race 7

I lack a strong opinion in this one-turn special weight event over the main track, so I will use several. 8-5-morning line favorite #4 Glitznglamour makes sense, but she has not been impressive enough to be convinced that she is a stand out in this group despite two runner-up efforts to start her career.

Race 8

If all of the fillies entered in this maiden event on the turf ran equal to their last performance this could be a five-horse blanket finish, but I like the chances of Steve Landers Racing filly #1 Don't Stop Maria to move forward considerably in start number two. The $85,000 OBS April 2017 purchase drew the far outside in her debut and was wide throughout. With the move to an inside post and the experience under her belt, I expect her to make significant improvement tonight and get the best of this bunch.

Race 9

#1 Mississippi will be a popular single to close the Single 6, but I will not go that route. He can win, but he has been disappointing for the most part for trainer Mark Casse. I give #5 Fort Peck and #7 Limation big chances to spring the upset in this mile and a sixteenth event over the main track.

Suggested Wagers:

I will play two tickets tonight. I will single Big Dollar Bill in Race 6 on one and Don't Stop Maria in Race 8 on the other. If I can get one of them home I like my chances to get through all six races unscathed.

Ticket 1:

1,2,4,5 with 3,4 with 3 with 2,3,4,6 with 1,3,4,7 with 1,5,7 = $76.80

Ticket 2:

1,2,4,5 with 3,4 with 1,3 with 2,3,4,6 with 1 with 1,5,7 = $38.40

Total Budget: $115.20

(Coady Photography)