Saratoga: A single for the $251,590 Pick 6 carryover

September 3rd, 2023

A quarter of a million dollars. That’s the approximate size of the non-jackpot Pick 6 carryover up for grabs on Sunday at Saratoga.

No one assembled a winning ticket for the $1 wager on Friday or Saturday, resulting in a double carryover worth $251,590, to be precise. And truth be told, there’s a chance no one will uncover the winning combination on Sunday either.

After all, Sunday’s card is an absolute beast to handicap. If you want to chase a huge payoff, here’s your chance, because the Pick 6 sequence contains a staggering 79 horses (averaging over 13 per race) and 4,608,000 possible outcomes before scratches. Even once you account for the fact 15 horses are also-eligibles and a few others are coupled in the betting, there’s still a huge number of potential Pick 6 outcomes to analyze.

Finding a single is pretty much a prerequisite if you want to play a competitive ticket on a modest budget. Singles aren’t easy to come by in a Pick 6 this deep, but there’s a viable possibility in Race 9, the Spinaway (G1) for two-year-old fillies dashing seven furlongs on dirt.

A field of 10 has been entered, and you might assume #9 Brightwork (5-2) is the single we have in mind since she’s 3-for-3 with a blowout victory in Saratoga’s Adirondack (G3) to her credit. But we’re going in a different direction, throwing our support behind #8 Ways and Means (7-5).

On the same day that Brightwork won the Adirondack, Ways and Means was a spectacular winner of a six-furlong maiden special weight at Saratoga. The Chad Brown trainee settled in midpack early on before seizing command and finishing fast to obliterate her rivals by 12 3/4 lengths in the fast time of 1:10.51.

Ways and Means is a daughter of Practical Joke, an early-maturing Brown trainee who won Saratoga’s Hopeful (G1) on Labor Day weekend. And the dam of Ways and Means is Strong Incentive, whose previous foals include the Brown-trained juvenile stakes winner Highly Motivated. Clearly Ways and Means has the pedigree to excel from an early age.

All this is a way of saying that Ways and Means looks like a two-year-old star in the making. If she improves upon her debut performance (which isn’t out of the question since Brown wins at a lofty 27% rate with last-out maiden winners), her Spinaway rivals may be running for second place. That’s why we’re willing to single Ways and Means in the Pick 6.

Good luck!