The New York Racing Association Inc. [NYRA] will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday featuring graded stakes from both Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.
Free Equibase past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 sequence are now available for download at https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/cross-country-wagers.
Churchill Downs, located in Louisville, Kentucky, will start the action with high-caliber racing, as nine sophomore fillies compete at 1 1/8 miles on the turf in the Grade 3, $150,000 Regret in Race 8 at 4:22 p.m. Eastern. Spanish Loveaffair, who ran second in the Grade 2 Jessamine last October at Keeneland before capping her 2-year-old campaign with a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, started her 3-year-old year by crossing the wire first in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride in February at Gulfstream Park before being disqualified and placed fourth. Trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, Spanish Loveaffair ran sixth last out in the Grade 2 Appalachian and is still seeking her first official graded stakes score.
Trainer Graham Motion will send out Oyster Box, who earned graded stakes blacktype with a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks in March at Tampa Bay Downs before running fourth last out in the Memories of Silver in April going 1 1/16 miles at Aqueduct. Barista will also enter the race with momentum running second in the Grade 2 Edgewood in April at Churchill going 1 1/16 miles to give the Edward Barker trainee familiarity with the course.
Belmont will host the sequence’s second leg, with a one-turn 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claiming race over the main track for 3-year-olds and up in Race 8 at 4:40 p.m. Chestertown, a $2 million purchase at the 2019 OBS March Sales of 2-Year-Olds in Training, won the first start of his 4-year-old year in January for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen and after running third and fourth, respectively, in his last two starts against optional claimers, the Tapit colt will look to take another step in the road back to stakes company. Chad Brown will send out Mystic Night, a half-million dollar purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September Sale, who will be seeking his third consecutive win.
Churchill will showcase another graded stakes, with the Grade 3, $150,000 Matt Winn for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles in Race 9 at 4:55 p.m. Helium, trained by Casse, ran eighth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby last out – marking his only loss in four starts, and will be part of a talented eight-horse field. Another Derby contestant, fifth-place finisher O Besos, will also race for the first time since the “Run for the Roses,” where he garnered a 94 Beyer Speed Figure. Other contenders include Ready to Pounce, Southern Passage, Fulsome, Hello Hot Rod, Sittin On Go and Game Day Play.
Belmont will host the penultimate leg with the Grade 2, $200,000 Pennine Ridge in Belmont’s Race 9 at 5:12 p.m. The Pennine Ridge, a nine-furlong test for 3-year-olds over the inner turf, will see Woodhaven-winner Hard Love looking to build on his 1 1/4-length score last out for trainer Jonathan Thomas. Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher will send out graded stakes-placed Sainthood and maiden special weight winner Shaftesbury. Brown will seek a record extending third Pennine Ridge triumph with Klaravich Stables’ Public Sector.
The Pennine Ridge is a local prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational on July 10, which is the first leg of NYRA’s Turf Triple series.
Closing out the Cross Country Pick 5 will be the $150,000 Aristides for 4-year-olds and up going six furlongs in Churchill’s Race 10 at 5:26 p.m. Empire of Gold, the fourth-place finisher in last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, will return to stakes company after besting an allowance optional claiming field on April 30 at Oaklawn Park for trainer and co-owner Terry Eoff. Empire of Gold won by 1 1/2 lengths, registering a career-high 96 Beyer. Tap It to Win, the beaten favorite last out in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs on May 1, will look to make amends for Casse from the outermost post 10 under Tyler Gaffalione.
The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on ADW platforms and at simulcast facilities across the country. Every week will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool.
The Cross Country Pick 5 will continue each Saturday throughout the year. For more information, visit NYRABets.com.
Cross Country Pick 5 – Saturday, May 29:
Leg A: Churchill– Race 8, G3 Regret (4:22 p.m.)
Leg B: Belmont – Race 8 (4:40 p.m.)
Leg C: Churchill – Race 9 G3 Matt Winn (4:55 p.m.)
Leg D: Belmont – Race 9, G2 Pennine Ridge (5:12 p.m.)
Leg E: Churchill – Race 10, Aristides (5:26 p.m.)
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