Cal Expo season opens with new harness racing wager

Harness racing returns to Cal Expo on Saturday night with a new wager aimed at creating gigantic jackpots for small minimum investments.

Starting with the third race on Saturday’s 14-race program, the Cal Expo Jackpot Pick Six challenges bettors to select the winner in six consecutive races. Unlike most thoroughbred racing Pick Six bets that require a $2 minimum wager, Cal Expo’s version will have a 10-cent minimum.

Here’s the catch: The jackpot pays out only if there’s just one winning ticket. Otherwise, most of the jackpot rolls over to the next weekend.

Aimed at a simulcast audience watching nationwide, other wagers with low minimums include a 50-cent Pick Five (starting with the first race), a 20-cent Pick Four (races 10 to 13) with a $20,000 guaranteed pool and a 10-cent Super Hi-Five (selecting the first five finishers in order) on the final race.

Opening night features the first leg of the Bill Conlin Pacing Series, named for The Sacramento Bee’s former sports editor and columnist who died in 1997. First post is 6:15 p.m. Admission and parking are free; gates open at 4:30 p.m.

Operated by Watch & Wager LLC, the meet will race Saturdays only through October, then expand to Saturdays and Sundays in November. Starting Dec. 26, the meet adds Fridays to a three-night schedule. For entries, results and more information, go to

Debbie Arrington