Gulfstream: Analyzing the $866,897 mandatory-payout Pick 6

March 31st, 2024

If the thought of chasing a ~$7.5 million Pick 6 pool sounds enticing, you’ll want to play the Sunday card at Gulfstream Park.

The 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6 has accumulated a jackpot carryover worth $866,897, and it’s slated for mandatory dispersal on Sunday. Gulfstream estimates that the final pool will reach the $7.5 million range, and all bettors who select the highest number of winners (likely six) will split the pool, no unique winning ticket required.

The Pick 6 gets underway in Race 6 (post time 3:41 p.m. ET). After analyzing the entries, we’ve concluded the first two legs appear fairly straightforward. We should be able to advance while using only three horses in total, allowing us to spread deeper in the final four legs.

Here’s how we see the first two legs shaping up:

Race 6: $62,500 Allowance Optional Claiming (1 1/16 miles on turf)

#4 Far Bridge (7-5) showed flashes of brilliance in two starts for trainer Christophe Clement at Gulfstream Park last year. After unleashing a giant turn of foot to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight over future graded stakes winner Carl Spackler, Far Bridge threaded his way through a large field to dominate a 1 1/16-mile $75,000 allowance optional claimer by 3 1/2 lengths.

Subsequently transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher, Far Bridge competed with aplomb in a quintet of 2023 graded stakes, sandwiching a Belmont Derby (G1) victory between top-three finishes in the American Turf (G2), Pennine Ridge (G2), Saratoga Derby (G1), and Dueling Grounds Derby (G3).

Now Far Bridge is back in the care of Clement. He’s been freshened since September and has turned in a bevy of workouts over the Payson Park turf course, setting the stage for a strong four-year-old debut. Far Bridge should be tough to beat while returning to Gulfstream and dropping in class, so we’ll single him to start the Pick 6.

Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (1 1/16 miles)

There are some promising first-time starters in this maiden contest for three-year-olds. #11 Invigorated (6-1) has put together a sharp work tab for Hall of Famer Pletcher and has five-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. named to ride. #6 Derby Street (8-1) sold for $700,000 as a yearling and has cranked out promising workouts for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

But it can be difficult for horses to win while debuting around two turns, which is why #1 Big City (3-1) is our top choice. He cracked the trifecta in a trio of seven-furlong maiden special weights during the winter at Gulfstream, even while facing promising rivals like Born Noble, Speak Easy, Victory Avenue, and Be You.

Big City has set or tracked quick fractions in all three of his starts and should find the pace more relaxing while stretching out over 1 1/16 miles. There isn’t much pace on paper in Sunday’s field, so there’s a strong chance Big City will secure an easy lead from the rail draw and take this field all the way on the front end. We’ll use Invigorated for good measure, but bettors on budgets looking for a second single should consider Big City as an option.

Good luck!