by Jim Freer
Centre Court returned to racing after a seven-month layoff on Saturday and won the Honey Fox Stakes (Grade 2) for the second straight year at Gulfstream Park.
Centre Court held off the late-running Kitten’s Point to win BT a nose in the one-mile turf stakes, with a $200,000 purse, for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up. The win was the sixth in a graded stakes for Centre Court and her seventh in 15 career starts.
Effie Trinket finished third by 1 ½ lengths, after leading from the top of the stretch until the final 100 yards when Centre Court passed her. She was followed by Triple Charm and Tapicat, the 5-2 favorite in the eight-horse field. Centre Court, at 3-1, was the second betting choice.
Saturday’s race was the first for Centre Court since last Aug. 24 when she finished eighth and last in the Ballston Spa (Grade 3) at Saratoga.
Trainer George (Rusty) Arnold and veterinarians then found that Centre court had a pulled muscle in her back.
On Saturday she showed that she has recovered. With her regular jockey Julien Leparoux riding, she won against a strong field in the fast time of 1:33.61. It came on a course listed as firm, where there have been numerous fast times in recent weeks.
Centre Court set the stakes record of 1:33.18 in last year’s race.
The 5-year-old Centre Court is a daughter of Smart Strike, who is best known as the sire of Eclipse Award winners Curlin and Smart Strike.
Rainbow 6 Carryover
On Saturday there were 131 winning tickets, each for $3,009.58, on Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 bet.
Because there were multiple winners, Gulfstream on Sunday will have a carryover of over $3 million, $3,325,154.33 to be exact, on the Rainbow 6 which requires picking the winners of each of the day’s last six races.
Bettors probably will invest $500,000 or more in the Rainbow 6--thus increasing the pool to more than $3.8 million.
A payout that big would be a Rainbow 6 record at Gulfstream.
The Rainbow 6 is a 20-cent per combination-only bet, on which multiple horses can be used in each race. For example, using two horses per race gives you 64 combinations and a $12.80 bet.
Gulfstream pays out the full pool, of the day’s bet and the carryover, only on days when there is just one winning ticket. When there are multiple winners, as on Saturday, they divide up 70 percent of the day’s new betting minus the 20 percent takeout. The other 30 percent minus takeout goes into the carryover.
Saturday’s winning payout was based on the day’s Rainbow 6 bets of $704,405. Sunday’s Rainbow 6 will be on the sixth race, with scheduled post time of 3:32 p.m., and 11th race. None of those races are stakes. The last single ticket Rainbow 6 winner was on Jan. 10 when it was cashed for $30,670.26. That was 46 race days ago at Gulfstream.
The record payout for the Rainbow 6 was $3,591,245.44 on Feb. 22, 2013. The winning ticket was sold to a single bettor at the Meadowlands complex in New Jersey, and cost $3,118.50.
That winning bet was 10-cents only - the size of the Rainbow 6 from 2011 through November 2013.
Gulfstream raised it to 20 cents to accomodate bettors on Canada, where the minimum bet is 20 cents. The Stronach Group, owner of Gulfstream, is based in Aurora, Onatario.