This week’s New York Racing Association Cross Country Pick 5 truly lives up to its name, putting out an all-graded stakes wager from Saratoga and Del Mar.

United-Cross Country Pick 5
United and Flavien Prat captured the Eddie Read Stakes on this Del Mar turf last month. He is one of the favorites in the Del Mar Handicap, which anchors this week’s all-stakes Cross Country Pick 5. (Image: Benoit Photo)

The sequence includes three Grade 1s and two Grade 2s from the two tracks, located on opposite ends of the US. As usual, the wager: demanding you pick five winners from the designated races, comes with a 50-cent minimum.

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 Saratoga, which plays host to the first two legs. The wager opens with the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes, which sends its 3-year-old fillies 1 1/16 miles around the Spa’s Mellon turf course. And the filly to follow here is Technical Analysis, the Chad Brown charge who won the Grade 3 Lake George on Saratoga’s inner turf last month.

Fillies featured in first three legs

Technical Analysis is 3-0-1 in her five starts, but she didn’t face stakes competition until the June 3 Grade 3 Wonder Again at Belmont. There, she finished sixth. That brings Spanish Loveaffair and Runaway Rumour into the picture. Spanish Loveaffair comes in off an eighth in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks. New York-bred Runaway Rumour finished fourth in the Lake George, snapping a three-race win streak.

The fillies keep the stage at Saratoga for the second leg: the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes. This pits Kentucky Oaks winner Malathaat against her upstart rival, Maracuja, over 1 ¼ miles. The last time we saw these two came in the July 24 Coaching Club American Oaks, when Maracuja pulled off the upset at 14/1.

That gave Malathaat her first defeat in six races and put Maracuja in line to be the fifth horse in the last 10 years to win the CCA Oaks-Alabama double. Kenny McPeek’s Crazy Beautiful, coming in off two Grade 3 scores, wants to play party-crasher.

Del Mar legs of Cross Country Pick 5 test the handicapper

From there, the wager shifts west to Del Mar for the final three legs. The first of those three is the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, which sends its 3-year-old fillies 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Given the depth of this field, this race could be pivotal for horseplayers.

Do you go with Madone, who is 5-for-7 after her score in the Grade 2 San Clemente? How about Eastern invader and Lake George runner-up Fluffy Socks, who Brown sends west to the track she won the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante on in November? There’s two Irish-bred horses worth attention: Features and Soaring Sky.

Get past that and a salty Grade 1 Pacific Classic awaits in the penultimate leg. The three favorites in the 1 ¼-mile test: 3/1 favorite Express Train, Royal Ship and Eastern shipper Dr. Post, will suck up most of the money. But should you want to go deeper on your tickets, there’s Tizamagician and Tripoli, who offer value in Del Mar’s signature race.

Del Mar Handicap: Arklow, United — or someone else?

The Cross Country Pick 5 concludes with the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap. That 1 3/16-mile turf test features one of the best duels of the day, with Arklow coming in from the east and United defending his western turf.

Both horses come in with nine career wins and more than $4.4 million in combined earnings. United and his 7/10 odds lost this race to Red King by a head last year. Arklow, meanwhile, came west last year and won the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup in the fall. He didn’t fare as well in last month’s United Nations at Monmouth Park, finishing sixth as the 2/1 second-favorite.

NYRA Cross Country Pick 5

Leg Track Race Time (ET)
Leg A Saratoga G2 Lake Placid 5:39 p.m.
Leg B Saratoga G1 Alabama 6:13 p.m.
Leg C Del Mar G1 Del Mar Oaks 9 p.m.
Leg D Del Mar G1 Pacific Classic 9:30 p.m.
Leg E Del Mar G2 Del Mar Handicap 10 p.m.

Trying to spoil the party and earn a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf are Masteroffoxhounds, Acclimate and Say the Word.

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

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