On Track With Johnny D: You’ve Been ‘Warned’

Here’s a friendly heads-up about an exciting wagering opportunity that might be on the horizon. Then again, it might not.

‘Warned’ is better than ‘caught-napping,’ especially when it’s a chance to play for a multi-million-dollar pot. At this writing, Santa Anita’s Rainbow Six Jackpot is $512,056. If there isn’t a single winning ticket engineered in the next eight racing days–between now and closing day–the finale’s total pool mandatory payout figure will swell like a blowfish out of water.

On the other hand, if someone goes all ‘lone wolf’ in the Rainbow Six before closing day…well, as Saturday Night Live’s Emily Litella used to say, “Never mind.”

The reason a ‘heads up’ is warranted is because if Santa Anita’s Rainbow Six Jackpot goes uncollected into closing day there will be a mandatory payout on Sunday, November 4.

“So what,” you say. So what? Here’s what: Sunday, November 4 is the day after Breeders’ Cup Saturday, which conveniently follows Breeders’ Cup Friday.

Come Sunday of BC weekend a horseplayer could be facing the Holy Ghost of three days of some significant handicapping and wagering action. Normally, at the conclusion of a Breeders’ Cup doubleheader this horseplayer is spent. Tired. Worn out. Requiring rest and a cash infusion. This November there may be another huge game to play on Sunday.

Competitive Breeders’ Cup events, buoyed by tricky supporting races, usually challenge a horseplayer’s constitution and bankroll. Crushing BC is like climbing Everest. It’s been done, just not by many. Now, there might one more worthy peak to immediately ascend.

A couple of years ago, at Santa Anita, there was a Breeders’ Cup Pick Six carryover into Sunday. That pool was too juicy to ignore, and we came close to hitting the wager. Alas, ‘close’ only counts when inbreeding.

The thought behind this ‘heads up’ is to remind horseplayers not only to budget appropriately for the first Friday and Saturday in November, but also to save some boot money for Sunday. Positive thinking works, but don’t assume you will crush the Cup and therefore have sufficient energy and money to effectively attack a Santa Anita Rainbow Six Jackpot mandatory payoff.

Better to budget something beforehand for a possible Sunday opportunity. Then, if you are successful wagering Friday and Saturday, you’ll have even more funds at your disposal. Approach early November horseplay like Winx runs her races—save something for the end!

This meeting at Santa Anita, a 20-cents-a-throw Rainbow Six jackpot wager replaced a traditional $2 Pick Six—first offered at Santa Anita October 17, 1980. A pick six carryover was introduced with the start of the 1983 Oak Tree meeting, eliminated three years later and then restored for the 1989 Oak Tree session.

Based on who you ask, the Rainbow Six experiment this meeting, Sept. 28 through Nov. 4, has produced either the equivalent of a Frankenstein monster or the Salk vaccine. Some swear by the wager and appreciate how much more ‘bang’ they get for their ‘fifth-of-a-buck.’ Visions of sugarplums dance in heads swimming with single-ticket dreams. Players are delighted with the prospect of having a shot at picking six winners in a game previously tilted toward those with relatively deep pockets.

Others curse the new wager and point to mathematical analysis they believe proves it’s a ‘sucker bet’ for everyone but the house. Contrary to Rainbow Six marketing messages, critics argue that lottery-minded, small-bankroll players have little chance of taking down a single-ticket jackpot in a game where high-rollers and wagering syndicates can confidently hit the ‘All’ button in more than a few legs.

Ultimately, after closing-day dust has settled, Stronach Group executives will decide if the wager is worth an encore run during the winter/spring Santa Anita meeting. They, no doubt, will look at the wager’s daily handle figures. However, what happens if or when there’s a huge mandatory payout is going to go a long way in the argument ‘for’ the wager’s extension.

The New York Racing Association already has legislative approval to institute Rainbow Six Jackpot-style wagering. Wisely, they’re watching and waiting to see what Santa Anita’s experiment yields.

It’s undeniable that a bulging Rainbow Six mandatory payout is a boon to everyone—except, perhaps, to those who swing mightily at it and miss. Horseplayers definitely attack such opportunities with both fists…fists full of wagering dollars. On Jan. 28 of this year at Gulfstream Park, the day after the Pegasus World Cup, a Rainbow Six carryover of $3.99 million attracted about $16 million in new money for a total pool of just under $20 million—a North American pick six wagering record. The carryover amount represented 39 previous programs without a winning single ticket. The previous all-time pick-six handle record pool also was established at Gulfstream Park om March 26, 2016 when a carryover of $4.5 million lured an additional $10,782,375.

Horseplayer good news is that the post-Pegasus record Rainbow Six pot produced 10 winning 20-cent wagers at $15,566.10 each! While a post-Breeders’ Cup Santa Anita Rainbow Six Jackpot can’t possibly be more than 21-days old, the pot still would be juicy. Or not.

At least you’ve been warned.

Race On!



On Track With Johnny D: You’ve Been ‘Warned’

On Track with Johnny D |