Saturday’s Cross Country Pick 5 features races from Saratoga, Woodbine, and Monmouth Park. The wager is a 50-cent minimum and post time for the first leg, Woodbine’s 9TH race, is 5:26 p.m. EDT.
Here is how I am playing it:
Leg 1 – Woodbine Race 9
A full field is set for the conditioned allowance at 7 furlongs on turf, and I’ll give #4 Coach Lori top billing. A debut winner sprinting on Woodbine’s turf last summer, the 3-year-old filly returned this year in a tough spot, the June 13 Star Shoot S. on Tapeta, and finished a rallying third. The runner-up from that spot, Curlin’s Voyage, captured the Fury S. next out, but Coach Lori could not follow suit when experiencing a troubled trip last time, checking in third on the Tapeta. I like the move back to turf, and Coach Lori can show more in the third start off the layoff for leading trainer Mark Casse.
#8 Millennium Force also will be used off a sharp front-running score over the turf at Churchill Downs.
Leg 2 – Monmouth Park Race 11
Utilizing a spread approach with five of the 10 runners entered for turf in the 1 1/16-mile event. #4 Belgrano, who should appreciate the extra sixteenth of a mile after a runner-up effort over the course on July 4, is my top choice. The War Front gelding is trained by Frank Russo, who has a win and a second from two starts this meet.
I will also use #2 Panama Papers off a sharp win; #3 Flowmotion, who defeated Belgrano last time; #8 High Noon Rider, who invades in good form for Saffie Joseph; and #10 Lookin at Roses, an intriguing longshot who enters on the upswing for Guadalupe Preciado.
If this comes off the turf, I will go three-deep with Lookin at Roses and the two main-track only runners (#11 Croatian and #12 Bustoff).
Leg 3 – Saratoga Race 9
#7 Mo Ready, who was last seen competing against open rivals in December’s Central Park S. at Aqueduct, is the pick off the layoff for Todd Pletcher, who is winning at better than a 30% clip with horses off a 90-+ day layoff. The 3-year-old gelding convincingly broke his maiden over Saratoga turf last summer and should appreciate the return to New York-bred competition in the entry-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
#3 Simply will be used as well. The gelding was no match for Power Up Paynter last time, but he’s capable of moving forward in the second start after a freshening for Steve Asmussen.
Leg 4 – Woodbine Race 10
#6 Have a Souper Day, a good second in his first start against winners, is the horse to beat in my estimation in the $40,000 optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta. I will also use #5 Keen Artie, a fine second in his first start back from a lengthy layoff last time; and #8 News Flash, whose form is dirty after being forced to compete on dirt and turf this year but performed well on the Tapeta last fall.
Leg 5 – Saratoga Race 10 – Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1)
The pace scenario favors front-running #4 Volatile, who is eligible to control the action from the get-go following a spectacular win in the June 6 Aristides S. at Churchill Downs, and I will single the odds-on favorite in the finale.
50-cent Cross-Country Pick 5 Wager
- 4,8 with 2,3,4,8,10 with 3,7 with 5,6,8 with 4 = $30