Florida Derby Field & Rainbow Pick 6 Betting Strategy: Millions To Be Won at Gulfstream This Weekend

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It’s a Weekend Wager Wonderland.

Nationwide gamblers have several entry points to the lucrative Florida Derby card Saturday and the likely multi-million-dollar Rainbow Pick 6 payout Sunday from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Three areas in particular form an unofficial financial trifecta.

  • One is the weekend’s main event, the $1 million Florida Derby. The 1 1/8-mile event is set for about 6:40 p.m. ET Saturday, has a prominent chalk in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion and Fountain of Youth winner Forte and a scheduled field of 12.

2023 Florida Derby Field

PPHorseML OddsJockey Trainer
1Jungfrau20-1Paco LopezBill Mott
2West Coast Cowboy20-1Sonny LeonSaffie Joseph Jr
3Shaq Diesel30-1Miguel VasquezRenaldo Richards
4Mage10-1Luis SaezGustavo Delgado
5Mr. Peeks30-1Edwin GonzalezSaffie Joseph Jr
6Nautical Star30-1 Leonel ReyesSaffie Joseph Jr
7Il Miracolo30-1Jesus RiosAntonio Sano
8Mr. Ripple30-1Edgard ZayasSaffie Joseph Jr
9Cyclone Mischief8-1 Javier CastellanoDale Romans
10Fort Bragg5-1Joel RosarioTim Yakteen
11Forte4-5Irad Ortiz Jr.Todd Pletcher
12Dubyuhnell6-1Jose Ortiz Danny Gargan
  • Two is the terrific Saturday undercard in a program of 14 races that starts at 11:30 a.m. Gamblers can access the action all day long via FanDuel TV. Purses for the day will exceed $2.5 million.
  • Three is the 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6. On Sunday, provided the Pick 6 is not hit sooner, it will be “Rainin Bens, Hallelujah”, as bettors carve out a mandatory payout pool expected to be several million dollars on Gulfstream’s closing day. This competition is, literally, the gold standard of Pick 6 wagering pools.

Handicapping Saturday’s Kentucky Derby preps: Florida Derby odds and picks | Arkansas Derby odds and picks

Here is a deeper look at each area.

1. Finding the Money With Forte

He’s a rock star in South Florida. Forte, the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby on May 6, is guided by Todd Pletcher, the leading money-winning trainer at Gulfstream Park. Pletcher also has a record six Florida Derby victories, including Always Dreaming, who captured the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby in 2017.

Forte and Irad Ortiz Jr (here after winning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile) lead Saturday’s Florida Derby field.
Forte and Irad Ortiz Jr (here after winning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile) lead Saturday’s Florida Derby field. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Pletcher’s charge Forte devoured the Fountain of Youth field at 1-to-2 betting odds back in early March at this track.

If his odds are similar here, bettors might consider taking a stab at a superfecta key.

A 50-cent superfecta with Forte on top of four other horses costs only $12. It gives bettors three spots underneath Forte that must be filled in by those four selections.

When Forte captured the Fountain of Youth, the $1 superfecta paid $336. If you can get a longshot somewhere in the supporting cast Saturday, it could pay similar. A 50-cent version would then provide roughly $168 for a $12 investment.

Candidates underneath include Cyclone Mischief and Mage, whom Forte beat in earlier races. West Coast Cowboy represents early speed and the potential for a price. Fort Bragg was scratched from the Sunland Derby last weekend to tackle a harder Florida Derby group.

Mr. Ripple is a longshot reach, having gone this exact 1 1/8-mile distance in lower-level races.

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2. Betting Overview of Gulfsteam’s Stakes-Filled Undercard

They not only pack money-making opportunities but can also serve as a handicapping profile for the big race. This is similar to reading the break on the greens before lining up your putt.

Gulfstream is speed-favoring on the dirt and set up for massive closing bursts on the turf.

See how the track surface lines up for the races you want to play.

Supporting races total more than $1.3 million in purse money.

That package includes:

Gulfstream Park Oaks Presented by FanDuel TV, Fillies, 1 1-16 Miles, Dirt, $250,000
Pan American Stakes, 1 1-2 Miles, Turf, $200,000
Orchid Stakes, Fillies and Mares, 1 1-2 Miles, Turf , $150,000
Ghostzapper, 1 1-16 Miles, Dirt, $150,000
Appleton, 1 Mile, Turf, $150,000
Sand Springs, Fillies and Mares, 1 1-16 Miles, Turf, $150,000
Sir Shackleton, 7 Furlongs, Dirt, $100,000
Cutler Bay, 7 1/2 Furlongs, Turf, $100,000
Sanibel Island, Fillies, 7 1/2 Furlongs, Turf, $100,000

Betting Contenders for the Oaks: A Rematch

How far has Dorth Vader come? We find out in this rematch between the 4-to-1 shot and 7-to-2 choice Atomically in the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks, the 12th race on Saturday’s card.

Atomically romped in the My Dear Gal at 5-to-2 ods, while Dorth Vader was a game but distant third at 35-to-1 last fall.

Bettors can now evaluate Dorth Vader’s ascent, evidenced by her victory at 45-to-1 in the Davona Dale in early March. She tracked a hot pace, roared into the lead in the homestretch and won for fun at a huge price.

Dorth Vader has won three of four races since the horses met last October.

As they stage their reunion, Miracle got the early nod as the 5-to-2 favorite. That comes on the heels of a gallant front-running effort in the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Miracle bolted to the lead at 13-to-1 and waged a stretch-long duel with victorious Pretty Mischievous before stubbornly yielding by three-quarters of a length.

The early speed of Miracle is expected to be a virtue at Gulfstream and has been accounted for in the early odds.

Infinite Diamond, beaten clearly by Dorth Vader in the Davona Dale, takes another crack at it at 6-to-1.

Affirmative Lady broke her maiden at Gulfstream after finishing a distant third in the $100,000 Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct. She still looks to be taking step up at 10-to-1, but not out of the question.

Sacred Wish makes her Gulfstream debut after a maiden sprint victory at Oaklawn. This is a step up, but she is being respected at 9-to-2 odds.

3. A Bettor’s Pot at the End of the Rainbow 6

The Rainbow 6 carryover pool figures to be above $1 million on Saturday and should balloon to more than $5 million by the time a mandatory payout occurs on Sunday. Weekend gamblers are wagering into a dream payout pool.

For gamblers who love Pick 6 wagering, this is the ultimate experience, an American trip to Mecca. The last mandatory payout day on March 5 at Gulfstream created massive multiple payouts of $40,357.56.

Six correct selections. Forty grand. No matter what anyone else did.

No wonder the pool soared to five times its size on payout day.

How the Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Originated

It doesn’t get better than this for gamblers who like this wrinkle.

The 20-cent Pick 6 requires players to select winners of the last 6 races of each day at Gulfstream Park.

Unless an individual ticket hits all six races, a once-in-a-blue-moon scenario, 30% of the pot carries over until mandatory payout time. And it spreads like wildfire.

That will happen this weekend, creating a fever pitch at the betting window as the pool amount soars.

Betting Strategy for Rainbow 6

Most winning tickets will have a combination of multiple entries in some races, as few as two in a couple, and a single.

The single is the toughest part of the Pick 6 to survive but is a monumental hurdle if cleared. That enables gamblers to take multiple entries, even an “all” ticket, in some other races.

These fields are large, and some races are so competitive that multiple entries are needed. If one of them is a longshot winner, the pot may become enormous.

The Pick 6 is a tough, elusive target to hit. But that’s why it pays well.

Gamblers always must determine how much of their budget will be spent chasing the big payout versus betting on individual races.

A tip from veteran participants in this pool: If you find yourself leaving horses off your tickets to save money on the entry fee, don’t play it.

The horses you toss out invariably become the ones that come back and burn you.

The players may get a break on Saturday, as multiple tickets will go on Forte as a single.

That enables more selections in other races. Or, in effect, it may turn a Pick 6 into an easier Pick 5 if Forte wins as expected.

It is interesting that Forte and Dorth Vader appear on the same card again.

Gamblers in New Jersey and New York told Gaming Today of their near-hit in the Pick 6 centered around these two horses on March 4.

They singled Forte, who won.

As a result, they were able to toss Dorth Vader into the mix at 45-to-1 in the Davona Dale. They got the dream upset in that race, but also needed multiple entries in other races.

To compensate, they took a stab at Cairo Consort, an even-money chalk, in an earlier-race single.

It seemed like he couldn’t lose. Until he did. Cairo Consort missed getting up and finished third. That killed the ticket.

No matter how astute gamblers can be with several observations, one surprise can thwart a burgeoning financial bonanza.

But there was a consolation prize. The gamblers tossed a couple bucks on Dorth Vader on the win line. They said that handicapping the Pick 6 also made them sharp for all the races individually.

The preparation led them to some angles in the other races that forged winning tickets.

Many gamblers may find the Pick 6 too expensive. But whether or not you enter the pool, handicapping those races as if you are may be extremely helpful.

Good luck!

About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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