Churchill Downs: A single for the $33,346 Pick 6 mandatory payout

November 26th, 2023

Sunday is closing day of the Churchill Downs fall meet, which means the $33,346 carryover up for grabs in the 20-cent “Derby City” Pick 6 is slated for mandatory payout.

Normally, the Derby City 6 is a jackpot-style wager awarding the jackpot only in the event that a unique winning ticket is sold. But on mandatory payout days, all bettors who select the highest number of winners (presumably six) split the carryover equally.

Sunday’s Derby City 6 is a challenging one. The sequence gets underway in Race 7 (post time 3:49 p.m. ET) and runs through Race 12, a slate containing 74 horses (averaging about 12.3 per race) and 2,880,000 possible outcomes. Even accounting for the fact 10 of the horses are also-eligible entrants, there are a lot of horses and outcomes to analyze.

Fortunately, we can reduce the complexity in a big way by singling #4 Giant Mischief (5-2) in Race 10, a $100,000 allowance optional claimer taking place over seven furlongs. The three-year-old colt faltered in a couple of Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races last winter, but he’s 3-for-3 sprinting and has beaten quality competition along the way.

Indeed, in a $100,000 allowance optional claimer dashing seven furlongs at Keeneland last November, Giant Mischief tracked the pace before launching a game challenge along the rail to beat future Woody Stephens (G1) winner Arabian Lion by three-quarters of a length, with the rest of the field another 17 1/2 lengths behind. Giant Mischief’s reward was a 99 Brisnet Speed rating, which stacks up well against Sunday’s field.

Giant Mischief recently returned from a seven-month layoff to trounce a $125,000 allowance optional claimer dashing six furlongs at Churchill Downs, prevailing by 2 3/4 lengths over the stakes-placed Two Eagles River. Giant Mischief is eligible to move forward in his second start back, and any improvement at all will make him tough to deny for the red-hot jockey/trainer duo of Tyler Gaffalione and Brad Cox, who have won at a 35% rate teaming up together over the last two months.

Best of all, if we single Giant Mischief in this 10-horse field, we’ll reduce the number of Pick 6 possibilities to consider from 2,880,000 down to 288,000. That’s a solid start toward assembling a competitive yet budget-friendly ticket.

Good luck!