This week’s Cross Country Pick 5 truly makes the East Coast and Midwest rounds, hitting four tracks with an all-stakes sequence culminating in a wide-open Ohio Derby.

Shahama-CC Pick 5
UAE Oaks and UAE 1,000 Guineas winner Shahama seeks a return to the winner’s circle after a disappointing sixth in the Kentucky Oaks. She is one of the fillies to watch in the Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park. That opens this week’s Cross Country Pick 5 (Image: Coady Photography)

Along with that second of two races from JACK Thistledown, this week’s Cross Country Pick 5 encompasses races from Belmont Park, Monmouth Park and Churchill Downs. And those three heralded tracks yield the wagering stage this week to a track in the Cleveland suburbs for a pair of races.

The first of those two makes up the third leg of the Cross Country Pick 5: the Lady Jacqueline. This nine-furlong test for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up offers up Grade 1 winner Maracuja, who upset previously unbeaten and eventual Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Malathaat in the CCA Oaks at Saratoga last year. Since then, Maracuja is 1-for-4, with an April allowance win at Oaklawn Park her only visit to the board.

Two ready choices are there to beat her: Army Wife and Crazy Beautiful. Army Wife owns two graded stakes wins: the Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan at Pimlico last May and the Grade 3 Iowa Derby last July. She has finished third in three of her last four races. Another multiple graded stakes winner, Crazy Beautiful has run at seven different tracks in her last eight races, where she has three wins, a second, third, fourth, two sixths and a seventh.

Ohio Derby brings Kentucky Derby also-rans back

The final race is the Grade 3 Ohio Derby. That brings you three Kentucky Derby ex-pats: Tawny Port, White Abarrio and Classic Causeway. All three are graded stakes winners and all three want more than they got in the Derby, where Tawny Port’s seventh was the best finish of the three. Brad Cox’s Tawny Port did win the Grade 3 Lexington the start before.

Just as White Abarrio (16th in the Derby) won his start before the Derby: the Florida Derby. Classic Causeway, meanwhile, seeks his first win since March’s Tampa Bay Derby for new trainer Kenny McPeek. The wild card is Ethereal Road, who scratched out of the Derby, yet returned two weeks later to win the Sir Barton Stakes by nearly five lengths.

The Cross Country Pick 5 sequence begins at Belmont Park with the Grade 2 Mother Goose. This 1 1/16-mile trek for 3-year-old fillies reunites Kentucky Oaks runners Shahama and Venti Valentine. That’s not a bad place to start, considering seven of the last 15 Mother Goose winners came out of the Oaks. Shahama had her four-race, career-opening winning streak snapped with a sixth in the Oaks.

Fillies and mares prominent in this Cross Country Pick 5

That was better than Venti Valentine, who finished 14th and last in the Oaks. That snapped her five-race streak where she finished no worse than second (3-2-0). And neither own a Grade 1 win, unlike the other filly to watch here: Juju’s Map. The Cox charge won the Alcibiades last fall at Keeneland, then finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She comes in off a win in a Churchill Downs allowance.

The sequence moves to Monmouth Park for the second race in the Cross Country Pick 5. That’s the Goldwood Stakes, which entertains an overflow field of 3-and-up fillies and mares. The 5 ½-furlong turf sprint offers bettors an experienced field, led by multiple graded-stakes winner Robin Sparkles, along with Champagne Lady and Honey Pants.

Champagne Lady found the board in her last five starts. Honey Pants is 3-6-0 in her 13 events. And all three must contend with nine-time winner Hey Mamaluke.

NYRA Cross Country Pick 5

Race Track Time (ET)
Leg A Mother Goose (G2) Belmont Park 4:40 p.m.
Leg B Goldwood Monmouth Park 4:47 p.m.
Leg C Lady Jacqueline JACK Thistledown 4:48 p.m.
Leg D Chicago (G3) Churchill Downs 4:55 p.m.
Leg E Ohio Derby (G3) JACK Thistledown 5:35 p.m.

The fourth leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 pays a visit to Churchill Downs for the Grade 3 Chicago. The seven-furlong race for older fillies and mares offers an experienced field of contenders, starting with Grade 1 winners Bell’s the One and Kalypso and segueing to graded stakes winners Sconsin, Four Graces and Lady Rocket.

The Cross Country Pick 5 comes with a 50-cent minimum and a 15% takeout. It’s offered every Saturday at simulcast facilities and ADW platforms.

Free Equibase past performances are available here

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