Saturday’s Cross Country Pick 5 combines races from Aqueduct and Churchill Downs. The 50-cent minimum wager has a 15% takeout.
Cross-Country Pick 5 ticket
I will play this ticket if the turf races don’t get moved:
2,7,12 with 2,11 with 2,4 with 9,10 with 1,2,6,7,11 = $60
James Scully’s Thoughts on the Pick 5
Leg 1 — Aqueduct Race 8 (3:17 p.m. ET)
The sequence kicks off with a 6-furlong turf affair for females. Aqueduct was off the turf Friday, but with no rain expected Friday evening or Saturday, the conditioned allowance could remain on the green.
#7 Stone Tornado is the one to beat if the race stays on turf. A French stakes winner and Italian Group 3 runner-up, the 4-year-old filly has underachieved in three U.S. starts for Chad Brown, coming up a little short as the favorite each time, but she isn’t facing the toughest competition. Stone Tornado finished a head second in a 7-furlong turf allowance at Belmont, and 6-furlongs may work out for her Saturday.
#12 Aunt Nadine, claimed for $40,000 from a turf sprint win at Saratoga two back, is a potential major player for Mike Maker. #2 Royal Collection is interesting at 20-1 on the morning line. Bred for turf (both siblings to race won on turf), the Arnaud Delacour-trained filly should show speed from her inside post following a pair of convincing wins at Presque Isle Downs.
Leg 2 – Churchill Downs Race 6
I will use two in this leg, #11 Thomasville and #2 Illusionista. Thomasville faltered badly at Keeneland last time, but he shows a bullet work at Churchill in preparation and should appreciate the drop in class and cutback to a one-turn distance. Illusionista also should be forwardly-placed following a solid second at Keeneland.
Leg 3 – Aqueduct Race 9
The Artie Schiller S. drew 10 runners for a mile on turf, and #2 Rinaldi is eligible to rebound following an unplaced effort in the Mohawk S. at Belmont. A convincing wire-to-wire winner of the West Point S. at Saratoga two back, the New York-bred will be facing open rivals here, but he looks like the controlling speed here. He fared well when recording a close fourth in the 2019 Saranac (G3) against open rivals, and I look for a strong effort off the freshening for James Bond.
#4 Delaware, one of two for Brown, should be in position to take advantage if the speed falters.
Leg 4 – Churchill Downs Race 7
There’s plenty of speed entered, and the top two choices on the morning line – Born Great and Unmoored – must work out a trip from inside posts in the 5 1/2-furlong turf event.
#10 Holiday Stone is my top choice. A winner over the course, the late runner enters in good form for Eddie Kenneally, and he receives a favorable outside draw after being forced to overcome inside posts in the last three starts. A convincing allowance winner at Kentucky Downs two back, the 6-year-old exits a commendable effort in the Belmont Sprint Invitational (G3), offering a bid into the stretch before weakening to finish 4 3/4 lengths behind loose-on-the-lead Wet Your Whistle, who came back to finish a big second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). Holiday Stone will move forward off that performance with a perfect setup here.
#9 Power End, who will be finishing for Steve Asmussen and Ricardo Santana Jr., has appeal for multi-race tickets, as well.
Leg 5 – Aqueduct Race 10
A $25,000 state-bred claiming event concludes the sequence, and I lack a strong opinion.
#1 Eye Luv Lulu, #2 Thorny Tale, #6 The Caretaker, #7 It’s Hot Out, and #11 Just Right are among the contenders in the 6-furlong test.