Shapiro: Thoughts on Rainbow 6 mandatory payout
by SCOTT SHAPIRO
Saturday was a monster day at Gulfstream Park as racing fans witnessed the final performance of the 2017 Horse of the Year, Gun Runner, in the Pegasus World Cup.
Things stay hot in Hallandale, Florida, on Sunday as it is mandatory payout day in the Rainbow Pick Six.
With a carryover amount of $2,929,465.31, the final pool is likely to reach somewhere between 12 and 14 million dollars before they break from the gate at approximately 3:05 PM local time.
The six-race sequence is a challenging one, but not impossible even on a moderate budget. Here are my thoughts on Races 7 through 12 at Gulfstream Park:
The sequence commences with a starter allowance event run at one mile over the lawn.
#4 Ultimate Cause looks like a potential key horse to kick things off for trainer Mike Maker.
Maker claimed the five-year-old mare back in November at Aqueduct for $35,000 and gave her a two-month freshening before bringing her back in a starter allowance event 16 days ago.
I not only love this daughter of Giant’s Causeway’s chances because of the troubled voyage she encountered on January 12 and her 2 wins in 11 career races over the sod, but also based on how Maker has managed her since taking over conditioning duties. Most noteworthy is the fact that the veteran trainer protected her off the layoff and continues to do so on Sunday instead of offering her up for a tag.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione should be able to find a cozy spot along the inside during the early stages and with a clean trip should be able to power pass her opposition in the lane.
I will single to get things started.
The second leg is a high level optional claimer run at 7 1/2 panels over the lawn.
I do not have a strong opinion in terms of which horse I like in this spot, but I will exclude #5 Nikki’s Cause. The Loooch Racing Stables filly has won both of her starts since arriving in the Peter Walder barn, but those came against much lighter competition. I expect there to be at least one or two better than her on Sunday.
The ninth is a low level maiden claimer run at 5 1/2 furlongs over the main track.
#4 Dreaming of Jo Jo is the one to beat on the drop in class for trainer Angel Rodriguez, but is hard to completely trust based on the running lines in his first four starts. There are angles to like, but clearly this son of Malibu Moon has disappointed his backers and connections thus far.
I will use the lukewarm 7-2-morning line choice, but also include #1 Attorney Al, #2 Gitgo and #9 Gran Red. They all appear to have a bit of upside and will provide some separation if they hit the wire first for the initial time.
The second half of the sequence gets started with an open $6250 claimer also conducted at 5 1/2 panels over the dirt.
#2 First Distinction will be a popular single based on his early speed and recent runner-up effort over this surface two Sundays ago. He is a tough horse to exclude, but he has not won over a fast racetrack since November of 2015, making 2-1 hard to swallow.
#3 Princess Knoll and #8 Para Vivir are the others that interest me.
I found this optional claimer for three-year-old fillies to be the most difficult of the six races. #4 Dance Rhythms is the morning line favorite, but returns just 9 days after a career best maiden breaking performance. A repeat of that effort should win this, but regression is certainly a possibility.
Use as many as you can afford.
The payoff leg is another low-level claimer, but this one is at the tricky 6 1/2-furlong distance.
#8 Paden takes the big drop in class for Mike Maker and the Ramsey’s after failing to be competitive against better going a mile back on December 22. The pattern is far from ideal on this seven-year-old gelding, but he is one of a few that fits if he still can run.
I also give chances to #4 Sandro despite being vet scratched on January 12, as well as #12 Starship Apollo making his first start off the claim for trainer Daniel Vella. Hopefully those three will be enough if I am fortunate enough to navigate my way through the first five races.
I wish everyone the best of luck and hopefully a number of Twin Spires horseplayers will be amongst those fortunate enough to get a nice chunk of the massive payout.