Familiar names such as Jolie Olimpica, Split Then Double and Merveilleux, along with promising newcomers like Chileno, Watasha and Volcanic play their parts in Saturday’s Cross Country Pick 5 wager.

Jolie Olimpica-CC Pick 5
Jolie Olimpica’s last victory came 14 months ago in the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita. She is one of the favorites in the opening leg of Saturday’s Cross Country Pick 5: the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack. (Image: Benoit Photo)

This week’s New York Racing Association’s Cross Country Pick 5 comes with international flavor. The wager encompasses races from Saratoga, Monmouth Park and Canada’s Woodbine Racetrack.

The minimum bet for the three-track, five-race wager is 50 cents. The Cross Country Pick 5 is available on ADW platforms and simulcast facilities around the country. It comes with a mandatory payout of the net pool.

This week’s Cross Country Pick 5 opens at Woodbine with the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes. That race sends its older fillies and mares a mile around Woodbine’s turf course. This is where you find a deep, 12-horse field headed by Jolie Olimpica. A Group 1 winner in her native Brazil, Jolie Olimpica hasn’t missed the board in six North American races.

But she hasn’t found the winner’s circle since capturing the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita Park in May 2020 – four starts ago. Jolie Olimpica comes in off a third in the Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes at Santa Anita.

Saratoga’s first leg is for the juveniles

Waiting for her are Abscond and Merveilleux. The former won the Grade 1 Natalma at Woodbine in 2019. Canadian-bred Merveilleux, meanwhile, owns four victories in 12 starts, but none at a level above Black-Type stakes.

From there, the Cross Country Pick 5 heads to Saratoga for a six-furlong maiden sprint. This race for 2-year-olds features expensive yearlings Chileno ($375,000), Watasha ($450,000), Volcanic ($230,000) and Faith Runner ($300,000). Steve Asmussen trains Chileno. Chad Brown handles Watasha. Mark Casse conditions Volcanic. Dallas Stewart trains Faith Runner.

NYRA Cross Country Pick 5

Leg Track Race Time (ET)
Leg A Woodbine Grade 2 Nassau 3:43 p.m.
Leg B Saratoga Race 6 3:55 p.m.
Leg C Monmouth Park Irish War Cry Handicap 4:05 p.m.
Leg D Saratoga Race 7 4:29 p.m.
Leg E Saratoga Race 8 5:03 p.m.

Matters move to Monmouth Park for the third leg of the wager: the Irish War Cry Handicap. This race for 3-year-old and up sends New Jersey-breds a mile on the turf. Keep an eye on Optic Way, who finished second in the John J. Reilly Handicap at Monmouth Park on July 4.

Last two Cross Country Pick 5 legs test turf handicapping

The last two legs return to Saratoga. Leg four is a 12-horse field of 3-year-olds tackling 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon Turf Course. This pits Barclay Tagg’s Hombre, who broke his maiden at this distance on the Belmont Park turf, against Space Launch. The Christophe Clement charge hasn’t missed the board in three starts (1-0-2).

The final leg is a one-mile inner turf test for maiden fillies and mares 3-and-up. The one to watch here is Brown’s Split Then Double, who finished second in her two previous races at Belmont Park.

Through NYRA, Equibase offers free past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 sequence.

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