Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition

Pimlico adds more pick fives

- By Matt Hegarty

Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore has added eight pick five bets to its wagering menus for the Friday and Saturday cards this week, hoping to leverage the low-takeout bets into substantia­l handle gains for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and Preakness cards.

Two of the new pick five bets will link races on the Friday card to races on the Saturday card, with both ending in the Preakness, which is scheduled as the 13th race on a 14-race card. Both also include the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

The Black-Eyed Susan/ Preakness all-stakes two-day pick five will consist of Friday’s Hilltop Stakes (race 11) and Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (race 13) and Saturday’s Jim McKay Turf Sprint (race 10), James W. Murphy Stakes (race 12), and Preakness (race 13).

The Black-Eyed Susan/ Preakness all-dirt two-day pick five includes three races on Friday – an allowance (race 8), the Pimlico Special (race 12), and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (race 13) – and Saturday’s Maryland Sprint Stakes (race 11) and Preakness (race 13).

Although hosting bets that link races over consecutiv­e cards is new to Pimlico, Churchill Downs has used the strategy for its Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby cards for several years. A pick three linking the Oaks, the Old Forester Turf Classic, and the Derby had handle of $625,340 this year, and a pick six linking races on Friday and Saturday drew a total of $524,179.

Peter Rotondo, who consults for Pimlico’s parent company, 1/ST Racing, on wagering issues, said that the intent of adding the multi-day wagers was to draw attention to Friday’s card, which has several races with overflow fields. Pimlico also will offer a double for the Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness.

“We feel the Black-Eyed Susan Day card has a lot of full fields, a lot of competitiv­e races, and we want people to focus on it,” Rotondo said. “There’s real growth there to be had.”

All the pick five bets will have a 12 percent takeout, which is standard for pick five bets at Pimlico and its sister track Laurel. The minimum will be 50 cents.

“Obviously, that’s the big selling point,” Rotondo said.

The last pick five on the Friday card can carryover if no one selects all five winners. The carryover would apply to the last pick five on the Saturday card, which also will not have a mandatory payout.

“With the fields we have on Friday, there’s a real chance of that pick five having a carryover,” Rotondo said.

The addition of the bets comes after Pimlico hosted its first-ever Preakness Future Bet earlier this year. The pool, which had 28 individual entries and an “all-others” option, closed one hour prior to the running of the Derby after drawing $304,326 in bets. Mage, the winner of the Derby, closed at 22-1. Mage is even-money on the morning line set by Daily Racing Form handicappe­r David Aragona.

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