Wagering handle on Magna's Pick 5 topped $600,000 Saturday for the first time since Magna Entertainment Corporation started it on Jan. 31.

The $2 wager returned $8,960 to 53 ticket holders Saturday, the second-largest payoff in the Magna Pick 5. The pool was $608,823.

The bet requires players to tag the winners from five consecutive races run over a period of about an hour at Magna-owned tracks. The company guarantees a $500,000 jackpot.

Only once in four Saturdays has the pool failed to reach the $500,000 level. That was in the first week, when total handle was $460,400. Since then, the pool size has increased every week, to about $505,000 Feb. 7 and to about $575,000 Feb. 14.

Short-priced favorites Gelli ($2.80) in the opening leg at Laurel and Palm Beach (gr. IIIT) winner Kitten's Joy ($3.20) at Gulfstream Park helped bettors this week. In between, Morine's Victory ($16.80) won at Gulfstream, Why Have a Plan ($31.80) tallied at Golden Gate Fields and Third Half ($8.60) was victorious at Santa Anita.

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