Despite victories by two favorites in the Pick Six sequence, some unusual events combined to generate a Pick Six carryover of $74,682 into Friday’s racing program when Santa Anita offers free general admission as well as free box seating on a first-come, first-served basis.
Thursday’s carryover was largely ensured by 24-1 shot Seven Below’s victory in the sixth race, which provided Puerto Rican newcomer Jesus Rios with his first riding win in Southern California and a $51.20 payoff.
In the Palm Springs, Scorewithcater closed swiftly on the extreme outside while Unbridled Roman, with Mike Smith aboard, rallied resolutely along the rail as they engulfed Danny Q in midstretch to set up their exciting finish.
The final time was 1:44.36 as Danny Q faded to fourth, a head behind Active Duty, ridden by Patrick Husbands, who finished 1 ½ lengths behind the runner-up.
A Kentucky-bred son of Even the Score, Scorewithcater paid $23.40, $8.40 and $4.40. The prices on Unbridled Roman were $5.20 and $4.20 while Active Duty paid $5.40 to show.
The outcome provided Gomez, racing’s Eclipse Award winner the last two years, with his 29th win of the meet, leaving him one behind the upstart Joel Rosario and two victories in arrears of Bejarano. The latter won riding titles at each of Southern California’s five major race meetings last year.
Scorewithcater collected a winning purse of $31,200, which brought his career total to $71,720 from a record of 3-2-0 in seven races for the partnership of trainer O’Neill and Robert Master.
First post for Friday’s eight-race program is 1 p.m. with the Pick Six sequence beginning with the third race. In addition to free admission on Fridays, Santa Anita offers hot dogs, beer, sodas and pop corn for $1.