Kentucky Derby: Betting the $106,142 mandatory-payout Pick 6

May 6th, 2023

Kentucky Derby Day just got even better. The Derby City 6 at Churchill Downs is normally a jackpot-style Pick 6 wager, but Saturday’s all-stakes sequence ending with the Kentucky Derby (G1) features a $106,142 carryover slated for mandatory payout.

Let’s take a race-by-race look at the Derby City 6, then assemble a ticket for around $50:

Race 7: Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2, 5 1/2 furlongs on turf)

#4 Big Invasion (7-2) has won seven of his last eight turf sprints, and his lone defeat preceded a layoff. He trounced the William Walker S. over this course and distance last spring and kicked off 2023 with a rallying win in the Silks Run S. at Gulfstream Park, stamping the four-year-old colt as a logical favorite.

But there are other viable contenders. #6 Bad Beat Brian (15-1) failed by just a head to beat 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner Caravel in the Shakertown (G2) at Keeneland last month, while defending Twin Spires Turf Sprint winner #10 Arrest Me Red (4-1) was only half a length back in third place. #2 Go Bears Go (12-1) finished second in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) and can’t be dismissed in his first start for Wesley Ward. We’ll round out with San Simeon (G3) winner #11 Motorious (8-1) and two-time allowance winner #14 Noble Reflection (15-1), both speedy shippers from California.

Race 8: Pat Day Mile (G2, one mile)

#1 Kangaroo Court (8-1) has an abundance of speed, which he recently used to win the 6 1/2-furlong Echo Eddie S. against California-breds at Santa Anita. He may prove tough to catch while stretching out over one mile, though Oaklawn allowance winner #5 Echo Again (7-2), Florida Derby (G1) fifth-place finisher #7 Fort Bragg (9-2), and Swale (G3) hero #9 General Jim (4-1) also have the form lines to factor.

Race 9: American Turf (G2, 1 1/16 miles on turf)

#2 Far Bridge (7-2) is 2-for-2 down at Gulfstream Park, having unleashed a powerful finish to defeat #11 Carl Spackler (3-1) by a head in a maiden special weight before obliterating an allowance optional claimer by 3 1/2 lengths. It’s tempting to single Far Bridge (and we will in the Pick 4), but Carl Spackler is worth including as backup in this lucrative Pick 6.

Race 10: Churchill Downs (G1, seven furlongs)

Reigning Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner #7 Cody’s Wish (4-5) is 4-for-4 at Churchill Downs. Cutting back to seven furlongs shouldn’t be an issue since he beat champion sprinter Jackie’s Warrior in Saratoga’s Forego (G1) over this distance last summer. Cody’s Wish has trained sharply for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott (a 21% winner with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more), so we’ll single Cody’s Wish in his 2023 debut.

Race 11: Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1, 1 1/8 miles on turf)

#5 Up to the Mark (4-1) is 2-for-3 on turf. He unleashed giant finishes to win a pair of allowance optional claimers during the winter at Gulfstream, then finished third in a deep renewal of the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland. He came home only a neck behind two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Modern Games that day and should be tough to beat against a seemingly easier field at Churchill Downs.

Race 12: Kentucky Derby (G1, 1 1/4 miles)

#17 Derma Sotogake (10-1) is a compelling choice after dominating the UAE Derby (G2) in a strong performance, but we can’t single him in this deep Kentucky Derby field. For good measure, we’ll include Florida Derby (G1) winner #15 Forte (3-1), Arkansas Derby (G1) hero #14 Angel of Empire (8-1), Blue Grass (G1) winner #5 Tapit Trice (5-1), and Santa Anita Derby (G1) runner-up #22 Mandarin Hero (20-1).

  • 20-cent Pick 6: 2,4,6,10,11,14 with 1,5,7,9 with 2,11 with 7 with 5 with 5,14,15,17,22 ($48)

Good luck!