The big hit: 'Recognizing patterns' leads to lucrative Pick 6

January 21, 2020 02:22pm
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In 2013, the New York Racing Association’s Pick 6 minimum still stood at $2, which meant that if you were fortunate enough to string together enough winners, the payout would always be worthwhile.

These days, the 20-cent jackpot can still lead to large payoffs, but they’re more often seen if a bettor cashes the sequence’s lone winning ticket, or on mandatory payout days when the entire pool must go.

Regardless of the minimum, hitting a Pick 6 with five singles and one other leg going two deep remains a nearly impossible feat. Yet Kelly Carll did just that on Oct. 17, 2013, when wagering on a Thursday afternoon Belmont Park card.

Carll, now a New York resident, was living in southern California at the time, when she transformed the last $8 in her wagering account to $15,599 after taxes.
“When I made the ticket, I was cleaning my house,” she said. “I had a couple of bucks in my account, and I planned on playing a different horse. But I heard them say there was a carryover at Belmont, so I decided just to put together a small ticket. I’m pretty sure it was close to post time, because I didn’t have a long time to put the ticket together.” RELATED: More bettors share their big hit stories

Carll played a combination of jockeys she liked and a few horses she’d normally bet against. No winner in the sequence wound up going off at 11-1 or higher, which flew in the face of her normal line of thinking. “My philosophy is that you have to be a little illogical,” Carll said. “There are so many sharp handicappers that if you only have the logical horses, you’re not making any money. So you have to look for the horse that doesn’t make sense, and then it has to obviously come in. “I’m sure not a lot of sharp handicappers are going to appreciate this story, but it was just contrived from all of the things I went through and experienced throughout the summer. Watching races and recognizing patterns -- it works sometimes. It paid off for me this one time, though.” Joel Rosario was knocking Carll out of a number of sequences that summer riding favorites, and Carll’s “not a chalk player,”  saying “it goes against my better judgment.” In Race 4, which opened the sequence, she forgot about that and moved on thanks to Rosario guiding an odds-on favorite home in a maiden special weight race over the main track. “The next race, it was (Rosario) again on a morning line favorite,” said Carll. “Mind you, this is not something that I normally do, but with him. I just went single-single.” At less than 2-to-1, Zivo hit the wire first under Rosario in the fifth race, an allowance optional claiming affair for New York-breds. The next race was contested at 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course. Irad Ortiz Jr. was on the No. 9 horse, Edie, and Carll had taken to using that rider in such cases. “I had this thing with Irad, where if he was on the outside he could have that swooping turn kind of ride that he was good at,” Carll said, “so I always loved to play him.” Edie won and paid $10.40. Another single, and Carll was halfway home. It’s in the next leg that she went all of two deep, this time adding brother Jose Ortiz’s mount to the mix. “I seemed to notice a lot that when Irad was on the favorite, Jose was winning,” Carll said. “So I put them both on. And I remember they were in a battle. They were pretty much head-to-head down the stretch.” Jose Ortiz scored aboard 10-1 shot named Claiming Victory in a seven-furlong race on the turf. Carll was still alive in the Pick 6, needing two more singles to get her bargain ticket home a winner. The eighth and featured race of the day at Belmont Park was the Bowl Game Stakes going a mile and a quarter on the turf. Imagining was the odds-on favorite, and Carll didn’t think anyone had a chance to beat him. Imagining did win the race, but by the slimmest of margins -- and nearly blew it with an awkward start getting out of the gate poorly. Trainer Shug McGaughey saddled the Phipps Stable-owned son of Giant’s Causeway to victory, in which Imagining paid $3.50 to win. “In the last leg, I saw Jose (Ortiz) and it was John Terranova’s horse (Metro),” Carll said, “and singled that horse. He was in a photo for that. He had just won a couple of races for Terranova, and they had been clicking together.” While the official order of finish was being reviewed by way of photo finish, Carll was confident Metro hit the wire first over, Moravitz, who was ridden by Emmanuel Esquiveland -- and she was right. The Pick 6 ended up paying twice as much as Carll originally thought, too. “The only mistake I made was, instead of playing it for $2, I played it for $4,” she said. “So I actually hit it twice. When I saw the money pop up I saw it was $15,599, and I was wondering what had happened.” She called the Pick 6, which paid $10,327 on a $2 wager, “a blessing.” “I’ve hit some other big tickets before,” she said, “but this one I hit when I needed it, so it was good. I can’t tell you how many times a ticket has bailed me out. It’s sad but true.”


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