Four-five is the Rainbow SixI don't know many horse players who haven't had April 5 circled on their calendars for some time.
Whether it's the Rainbow^6 mandatory payout, opening weekend at Keeneland, Derby Championship Series presented by TwinSpires.com weekends at Aqueduct and Santa Anita, or all of the above, this is unquestionably the biggest weekend of racing in the United States since the Breeders' Cup World Championships five months ago.
I'll be in wagering action starting at 1:10 p.m. EDT when Keeneland lifts the lid on its 16-day season. It'll be a whirlwind three weeks with big fields and big prices, but the flurry of activity coast-to-coast expected over a 30-hour period will leave many people's head spinning, no doubt.
The Rainbow^6 carryover will be around $2-million going into Friday's races, which is closing day at Gulfstream. That it's closing day means the whole net pool--which any other day only pays out to a single winner--will be paid out to all winners. It's an extremely unique opportunity to chase after a seven-figure pot for as little as a dime. Estimates for new money into the pool range from $4-million to $8-million! Imagine that: a $10-million pool on a base wager of a dime!
Of course, the TwinSpires.com Players Pool is looking to hit it for more than a dime, as me and handicapping champions Michael Beychok & Patrick McGoey will have tens of thousands of dollars (i.e., hundreds of thousands of dimes) to wager on the sequence that begins with race 8 at 4:34 p.m. EDT.
FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Well, we're off the turf at Gulfstream, which is a slight monkey wrench considering pending scratches and having to re-handicap some races for dirt/off track. The biggest change is in wagering strategy, though. The Players Pool is putting $100,000 into this, and the goal is not to hit the Rainbow^6 but to make money. Some combinations will absolutely need to be covered multiple times--maybe as many as 100x ($10) or 200x ($20) times.
On the plus side, we're "fast" (Polytrack) and firm at Keeneland, so tab below is pretty current. The Gulfstream tab will be updated as scratches come in. The Gulfstream "picks" below is my grid only and does not reflect the approach of the Players Pool or its other panelists.