HALLANDALE BEACH, FL --An influx of $488,929.62 swelled Wednesday's 20-cent Rainbow Six pool to $2,630,569, but the popular wager remained elusive for the 38th consecutive racing day. Today's winning sequence of 5-2-8-4-7-4 paid $3,265.82.
There will be a carryover of $2,258,929.86 for tomorrow's card. The 20-cent Rainbow Six jackpot has not been paid out since it was hit for $30,670.26 on January 10. First post is at 1:05 p.m.
Elena Strikes Returns a Winner
Elena Strikes hadn't raced since September, but resumed her career with a stylish performance in today's fourth race at Gulfstream Park, a $48,750 optional claiming contest for 3-year-old fillies. Sent off as the 5-2 second choice, the Stonestreet Stables colorbearer broke alertly under jockey John Velazquez and sat just off of pacesetting favorite Flay Mignon. Elena Strikes made her move entering the stretch and opened up under a hand ride to take it by 7 1/2 lengths. She completed the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.63 and returned $7.00 to her backers.
"She had been training well," trainer Todd Pletcher commented. "The team up at Stonestreet had her pretty far along by the time she came in, so all we had to do was put on some finishing touches. She's a nice filly." Risque Reality rallied past Flay Mignon to complete the $23.80 exacta.
After capturing her debut at Monmouth in June, the daughter of Smart Strikes finished a close third in the Schuylerville Stakes (G3) at Saratoga in July. She set the pace in the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on September 7, but tired to finish sixth in that two-turn test.
"We took her to Churchill and she didn't really run the way we expected," Pletcher explained. "It was nearing the end of the year, so we decided to freshen her up and sent her to Stonestreet (Training Center) in Ocala. We gave her a little break and they got her going for us. I would like to get her back in a stakes, but she seems pretty fast and she might be best suited to races from six (furlongs) to a mile."
Stonestreet acquired Ticket to Houston, the dam of Elena Strikes, for $2 million in 2005. The mare had previously produced stakes winners Runway Model and Mambo Train.
In Wednesday's seventh race, Padilla ($20.60) showed a new dimension going 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf and withstood stiff challenges from favorites Band of Joy and Upgrade to prevail in the $49,050 optional claiming test. The 4-year-old son of With Distinction assumed command at the outset under new pilot Joel Rosario while stalked by Band of Joy. That runner poked his head in front turning for home, but Padilla battled back to score by a half-length.
"I did get a little nervous, but he ran great," trainer David Fawkes said. "He really finished strong. I thought maybe with the favorite (Band of Joy) at his throat at the head of the lane (that) he was in trouble, but he dug in really well. We'll keep him on the grass for now."
This was Padilla's sixth start for the Fawkes barn. The Florida-bred bay had competed well over distances ranging from five furlongs to a mile and an eighth, and Fawkes admitted that the colt was a work in progress. "We were trying to get the right distance for him," Fawkes explained. "We tried him on the dirt a couple of times, but he just didn't like the dirt in his face. We tried him at five-eighths on the turf, but that didn't work because they outsprinted him. Today we got the right race and the right distance."
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $2,258,929.86