The $1 million Travers Stakes (G1) anchors Saturday’s Cross-Country Pick 5. Three races from Woodbine are included in the sequence, along with the Waya (G3) for turf distaffers at Saratoga, and post time for the first leg is 4:49 p.m. EDT.

Here are my thoughts:

Leg A: Woodbine Race 8

#7 Short Summer Dress lost all chance when experiencing a poor start last time, but she looms as a front-end threat with a better break today and is an attractive 12-1 on the morning line. I will also use #4 Betwixting, who makes her third start off the layoff for Martin Drexter following a couple of strong efforts; and #2 Roman d’Oro, who should deliver an improved showing in her second start off the layoff for Mark Casse.

Leg B: Waya Stakes (G3) – Saratoga Race 9

#2 Beau Belle exits a couple of solid efforts for Tom Albertrani, including a third in the July 12 River Memories S. at Belmont last time in which she faced early pressure from a hopeless longshot. The pace scenario is more favorable today for the in-form mare and the chestnut is 10-1 on the morning line. I like Beau Belle wire-to-wire.

River Memories runner-up #5 Olympic Games, who has run well in both U.S. starts this summer for Christophe Clement, will be included. I will try to beat late-running Mrs. Sippy off the long layoff, and will play against a pair of runners exiting the June 27 New York (G2).

Leg C: Woodbine Race 9

The top two choices on the morning line (Florida Won and Gorgeous Kitten) exit a questionable race in my estimation, and I will fade both in the claiming turf event.

#8 Saltini, a sharp winner when trying the Woodbine turf two back, returns to his favorite surface after a failed attempt on Tapeta, and the gelding rates a slight edge. #10 Canmore looks dangerous at this level, and #6 Federal Law drops to the proper level after gaining fitness in the last two outings.

Leg D: Woodbine Race 10

Without a solid opinion, I will go four-deep in this turf optional maiden claiming sprint. #3 Marjorie’s Dream, #4 Wide Awake, and #5 Words of Gold are logical contenders, and #8 Could Be Fate is interesting at a price after showing good speed to the stretch in her debut.

Leg E: Travers (G1) – Saratoga Race 11

#3 Uncle Chuck looks set for a big race. A convincing winner in his first two starts at two-turn distances, including a four-length score in the July 4 Los Alamitos Derby (G3), the Uncle Mo colt was flattered when Los Alamitos Derby runner-up Thousand Words came back to win last weekend’s Shared Belief S. over Honor A. P., and Uncle Chuck can keep moving forward for Bob Baffert Saturday.

With blazing works at Del Mar in preparation, the long-striding sophomore has been cranked for speed and barring a bad start, I will be shocked if he’s not showing the way into the first turn on a short lead. And good luck catching him!

This race is vitally important to Uncle Chuck’s development, but circumstances are different for Tiz the Law, who can settle for second in the Travers and still sweep the Triple Crown. I’m singling Uncle Chuck in the 151st edition of the Travers Stakes.

50-cent Cross Country Pick 5 ticket

  • 2,4,7 with 2,5 with 6,8,10 with 3,4,5,8 with 3 = $36