'Unique Pick 6' Approved for Churchill Downs

It's modeled after Gulfstream Park wager that creates large jackpots.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved a request by Churchill Downs to offer a Pick 6 that creates large carryover pools and has been successful at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

The "Unique Pick-6" is modeled after Gulfstream's "Rainbow Six" in which 80% of the wagering pool is divided among all bettors with the most winners, with 20% retained in a carryover pool that is paid only when there is a single winning ticket.

Churchill, which will unveil the new wager during the meet that begins Oct. 27, had initially sought KHRC approval at the regulatory body's September meeting, but it was held over so further consideration could be given to an controversial aspect of the wager that some commissioners found troubling.

While the Unique Pick-6 could prove lucrative to the winners, there is a unique, and rare, situation in which a single bettor could have the winning ticket but, through no fault of their own, have more than one winning combination. One example given by representatives of Churchill would be if a horse that a bettor had included in his or her Pick 6 ticket was a late scratch, resulting in the race favorite automatically being the substitute horse on the ticket.

If the bettor had already used the favorite in his or her Pick 6 wager, and that horse won, by virtue of inheriting the favorite in place of the scratch the bettor would have two winning tickets and not be awarded the jackpot.

Commissioner Burr Travis, a horse owner and avid horse player, found it troubling that a bettor could be disqualified from the jackpot through no action of his or her own.

However, KHRC staff said that in working with Churchill to figure out a solution to the problem, agreed that by providing adequate notification to on-track and off-track bettors, including all Churchill simulcast receptors, the bettors would be sufficiently put on notice of the possibility they could hold the only winning ticket but would not receive the entire jackpot.

The notification will read: "In the Unique Pick-6, if a single patron ends up with the only winning ticket but has more than one such winning combination, regardless of how it occurred, that patron will not be eligible for the Unique Pick-6 carryover."

Some of the discussion before the KHRC approved the wager Oct. 22 centered around whether Churchill would, or could, go ahead and award the jackpot payout to a single winning ticket in which there was more than one winning combination.

Churchill president Kevin Flanery said the track would monitor the new wager to see how many, if any, situations arose in which the jackpot could not be paid out to a bettor with more than one winning combination.