How to play the July 8 Cross Country Pick 5

July 5th, 2023

Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 takes in two competitive graded stakes at Belmont Park and three of the meet features at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The takeout rate on the Cross Country Pick 5 is a player-friendly 15%. This is how I'm looking at the sequence.

The 50-cent ticket: 3,7 with 10,11 with 2 with 1,3,8 with 4,5,8 = $18

Indiana General Assembly Distaff (Horseshoe Indianapolis Race 10) — 5:28 p.m. ET

#3 Juncture (6-1) went in search of easier pickings at Lone Star last time and came away with a victory in the Ouija Board Distaff. More importantly, blinkers were back on for that race, and the Irish import is now 2-for-2 wearing the shades. Her form overseas was decent enough, including a close second in the Desmond (G3) at Leopardstown last August against the capable male Boundless Ocean.

#7 Lovely Princess (7-2) has had two solid runs against stakes foes in her last three starts and appears to be hitting her best stride for trainer Kenny McPeek. She shows several strong half-mile drills at Churchill since her second-place effort in the Keertana S.

Belmont Derby (G1) (Belmont Park Race 10) — 5:49 p.m. ET

European invaders don't have the best record in this race, with only two from Coolmore having struck since this race was rechristened in 2014. However, #11 The Foxes (7-2) looks a top-tier prospect, especially cutting back from 1 1/2 miles to 1 1/4 miles.

Winner of the historically important Dante (G2) at York two back, The Foxes failed to stay the 12 furlongs of the Epsom Derby (G1) last time, but was hardly embarrassed when fifth of 14. The two dominant colts in that race, Auguste Rodin and King of Steel, have since won the Irish Derby (G1) and King Edward VII (G2), respectively.

Interesting that owner Seth Klarman and trainer Chad Brown toss #10 Redistricting (8-1) in here after one run, an authoritative maiden win on June 3. By Kingman and out of a full sister to the world-class St Nicholas Abbey, he's bred to be any kind, though issues that delayed his debut seemingly prompted his being gelded last winter.

Indiana Oaks (G3) (Horseshoe Indianapolis Race 11) — 6:03 p.m. ET

#2 Taxed (2-1) took her game to the next level with a dominating score in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico last out, scoring by 3 3/4 lengths over Hoosier Philly, who followed up with a win over Wet Paint at Ellis Park. This is not an especially deep field, and Taxed can follow in the hoof steps of Interstatedaydream last year by pulling the Black-Eyed Susan/Indiana Oaks double.

Victory Ride (G3) (Belmont Park Race 11) — 6:21 p.m. ET

I'm going to fade the speed, of which there is a lot, including morning line favorite Maple Leaf Mel. #8 Red Carpet Ready (3-1) has pace herself, but showed in the Eight Belles (G2) that she can come from slightly off of the lead, and shortening up to 6 1/2 furlongs should be to her benefit.

#1 Interpolate (5-1) is a logical inclusion off a narrow loss to multiple stakes winner Key of Life in the Beaumont (G2) three months ago, while #3 Vahva (8-1) is another capable of picking up some pieces late.

Indiana Derby (G3) (Horseshoe Indianapolis Race 12) — 6:40 p.m. ET

#5 Verifying (8-5), a narrowly beaten second in the Blue Grass (G1) and Matt Winn (G3) over nine furlongs earlier this season, is the horse to beat on class and he should benefit from the slight cut back to 1 1/16 miles.

However, the rapidly improving #4 Onthestage (10-1) and #8 Cagliostro (8-1) might be worth using, too. A son of Quality Road, Onthestage beat allowance foes at Lone Star by open lengths last out and is confidently wheeling back on relatively short rest by Steve Asmussen, who's enjoying a stellar meet.

Cagliostro was a non-factor in his only prior stakes attempt in the Louisiana Derby (G2) but showed promise when narrowly defeated in a pair of first-level allowances at Fair Grounds and Churchill and is one of the faster entries here on the figures.