Golden Gate Pick 6 Debacle & Belmont Analysis Editorial

Money Flies Away - ABerkeley, California-When most people think of California Racing, the “A” circuit comes to mind which has always been Santa Anita, Del Mar, and the defunct Hollywood Park. The upper California “B” circuit of Golden Gate Fields and the defunct Bay Meadows is what one could argue is the minor leagues, rarely does the lone remaining major Northern Cali racetrack garnish the main stage, but that did happen this past Sunday June 12 as they had a Belmont hangover closing day card which featured a 1.45 million pick 6 carryover that was getting forced out. All eyes in thoroughbred racing were focused.

Before I get deeper into the Pick 6 story, I must first apologize and thank you my audience.

For the 1st time in 20 plus years, I was unable to post a Triple Crown article strictly due to timing so I couldn’t get my Belmont thoughts to print. The Belmont is always a great betting race and I certainly apologize to my followers who expected o get some guidance for the race. For what it is worth, I liked Destin so your heart would have gotten broke at the wire as did mine. I do plan on resuming my penmanship for the Breeders Cup and the 2017 Triple Crown series so stay tuned.

I also want to thank the numerous emails I got asking about my article, when it was getting posted etc. I even got one from my buddy Dave E in Michigan who wrote the following, “DT, Haven’t heard from you this week or seen any analysis. That can only mean bad things. Whatever is going on, my thoughts and prayers are with you. If there is anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”

I shared that because it shows the passion I have for this sport and the people who follow my rants, so sincere thanks for the 20+ emails I got and especially to my gambling buddy Dave who I did let know all was well and this article will answer a lot of questions.

Although I didn’t write an article, I did have a party at my house with a handful of gambling buddies and we did eat very well and enjoyed some very good racing, but late in the card (race 12), we have the #3 in multiple leg wagers and he scored at 6 to 1 as the 5th choice only to be disqualified. Unfortunately, I had a vested interest so I was very biased in the DQ but astonished nonetheless that he was taken down as he did nothing. In fact, TVG’s Kurt Hoover who had no vested interest in the DQ felt it was totally unmerited. A bad taste in my mouth, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

The DQ did invoke some old wounds like when She’s A Tiger was taken down in the Breeder’s Cup juvenile fillies in 2013, but also then in 2014 when Bayern wiped out 2-3 horses at the start only to remain up on the tote board. Interesting enough, in Race 2 on Sunday at Santa Anita the #4 Close to Edge was disqualified for the exact same infraction that Bayern did…..hmmm, where is the consistency. Our sports “judges” who have the benefit of replay’s, different angles, and even getting to talk to the players still can’t get it right. In every other sport, they seem to get it right when they use the instant replay. To the powers that be in racing, I hope you are listening, get some WELL QUALIFIED judges who understand the game, quit ruining it. I still say this to this day, had I bet Shared Belief in the BC Classic in 14’ or any other runners that finished 2nd or 3rd and would have benefitted from the blatant DQ, I would have never bet another horse race and you wouldn’t be reading this article. Oh yeah, all 3 of the examples in this paragraph were in California, but this isn’t the biggest faux paus that California has done.

So the perfect storm for a fun day of playing the Pick 6 at Golden Gate on Sunday the day after the Belmont is place, a big carryover forcing out with more expected money into the pool (they ended up getting 4.5 Million+ into the pool). After some nice hits on Belmont day, I had some bullets left in the holster to take a stand at the Pick 6. I carefully handicapped it out coming up with a $384 ticket. Again I normally don’t play the track, but I have looked at enough races to use enough angles to put in a ticket.

Leg 1, I thought a wide open event, so I used a bunch and got very lucky as there was a dead heat between a 17 to 1 & 6 to 1, I had both so I know have a 2X ticket rolling, woo hoo, great start with the 5th & 7th choice in the wagering.

Leg 2, I went 4 deep, the racing gods once again were looking down at me as the longest price of my selections at 9/2 scored, the double paid $141 so to say I am off to a great start is an understatement.

Leg 3, Only played 3 horses in this leg, and the 2nd betting choice scored at 4 to 1 so not massive value, but I beat the favorite so the train is still rolling.

Leg 4, Looked like a very wide open race, in fact the betting favorite was 7/2 and everyone else was 12 to 1 or less except for a 48 to 1 shot that ran dead last, I reached 5 deep and caught a 10 to 1 winner, at this point to say things were getting interesting would be an understatement.

Leg 5, I only had 2 horses; both from the same barn, liked one of them to score and was fortunate enough to have the 2nd wagering choice at 3 to 1 upset the favorite, so the stage is set.

Leg 6, Nerves start to set in, not because I haven’t hit a 5 figure score before but because with all the money in the pool who knows, I could be looking at a 10, 20, 50K+ for a measly $384 bet. The scary part is this leg featured maidens and featured the deepest field on the card which was 12 horses; I took a stand in here only playing 2 horses. I did have the favorite so despite a favorite not winning, I felt good that one of my runners was getting bet fairly hard and I have a big chance. The favorite got a golden trip, sat 2nd but had no pop in the lane, but my 6 to 1 shot, settled in 5th made a bold 3 wide move and won drawing away. Unbelievable, a 6 race winning sequence of 17/1 & 6/1, 9/2, 4 to 1, 10 to 1, 3 to 1, 6 to 1 with no winning favorites.

As a conservative, I figured I was getting 20K, but it doesn’t stop the mind from dreaming a little, what did I get? 3K…what only 3k? But look closely at the payoff….20CENT Pick 6 Jackpot (2/3-7-3-ALL-5-ALL) 6 Correct Paid $146.16

The 4th & 6th leg’s were paid as ALL’s, not sure what happened, I scrambled from internet site to internet site, trying the find out what happened and then I stumbled upon this:


ALBANY, Calif. (June 12, 2016)—Following today’s ninth race, jockeys informed Golden Gate Fields management that they refused to ride the 10th and 12th races, citing unsafe turf course conditions. Accordingly, Golden Gate management switched Sunday’s 10th and 12th races to the main track, which necessitated that both races be considered “no contest,” resulting in an “all” payout for Pick Six wagering purposes.

Today’s net pool and carryover was paid as a single price pool to tickets with the most winners in accordance with CHRB regulations.

“We are truly sorry and we understand that this is a very disappointing outcome for our horseplayers and fans that participated so enthusiastically here on closing day,” said Joe Morris, Senior Vice President, West Coast Operations for The Stronach Group. “We did not agree the turf course was unsafe and we were disappointed the jockeys didn’t communicate with us earlier. However, after the jockeys informed us about their concerns, we had no choice but to make the surface change to our main track.

“The safety of our athletes, both human and equine, is always our top priority.”

Are you serious, LOL.

First off, no mention of this was made during the race card. If it was I wasn’t listening, there should have been a blaring scroll across the feed and their horrific race caller should have mentioned it about 10X +.

Ok ok so the rules state, once a race is moved from Turf to Main track, it is considered a no contest, but that is because there is usually mass scratches. Guess how many horses scratched out after this announcement……..if you guessed ZERO you would be correct.

Here is the kicker, normally races are taking off the Turf due to precipitation which changes the course, the weather was perfect, and it never changed.

Now I am all for safety, but something smells very bad here….stressing very. In the biggest gambling day in the history of the track, they pay out 4 of 6 creating numerous winning tickets. In fact social media has been blowing up with all the people who won, thought they lost and discarded those tickets. In case you were wondering, unclaimed tickets revert to the state so I am guessing the state of California likely will pocket a good $250,000 plus of unclaimed winnings.

Just another perfect example of how horse racing just can’t get it right. At the very least, in the technology age the pool should have been split in half with the 6 of 6 tickets getting paid on a percentage of the pool, just not fair. For the few others out there that had 6 of 6 as well, I feel your pain.

I will never bet another race at Golden Gate Fields ever again, I hope the place gets the same fate as Bay Meadows, it’s well deserved after letting what happened.

As my buddy Jon Wothke always told me, “There’s always a story at the track”

Don Tiger

-Professional handicapper at


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