If you need to take a break from handicapping the Preakness Stakes, this week’s New York Racing Association’s Cross Country Pick 5 offers an all-turf series from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.
The lone stakes race in the weekly wager is the Grade 3 Louisville Stakes from Churchill Downs. The 11th race on Churchill Downs’ Saturday card, the Louisville sends its older horses 1 1/2 miles on the track’s refurbished turf course. Another Mystery provides a mystery to bettors.
Will you get the Another Mystery who dead-heated with Fantasioso in the Grade 3 John B. Connolly Turf Cup at Sam Houston Park? Will you get the Another Mystery who finished eighth in the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Classic? Or will he split the difference and turn in a performance like his last-out solid second to Channel Maker in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland?
Waiting for him is a deep field featuring Shamrocket, Cellist, and Cavalry Charge. All three are stakes winners or stakes placed.
Cross Country Pick 5 opens with filly sprint
The Cross Country Pick 5 sequence opens at Churchill Downs with a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight for fillies and mares 3-and-up. This features Hey There making her debut for Brad Cox. She finished fifth in her last outing on April 27 at Keeneland.
Pushing her is Wesley Ward’s Musical Design, seeking to break through after a runner-up finish in her March debut at Gulfstream Park, and a fourth in her last out in a maiden special weight. Two debut runners, Air of Authority and Wings Like Eagles, could also factor in the race.
The wager’s second race goes to Belmont Park for a seven-furlong turf sprint featuring all New York-breds. Bettors may want to go deep in this one, given the inexperience of such horses as Marinara Sauced and Independent Paul. Neither one has raced yet. Feathers Road arrives off a second in an Aqueduct maiden special weight last month.
Classic Mark trying for first exacta finish
The Cross Country Pick 5 heads back to Churchill Downs for the third leg. This 3-and-up maiden special weight mile jaunt on the turf course offers up Classic Mark, making his debut for Simon Callaghan. He finished fourth in his last outing and hasn’t finished better than third in his four starts. Classic Mark set the pace in that Santa Anita maiden special weight, only to weaken and lose by 5 1/2 lengths.
Newly gelded Creative Miracle and Blue Devil come in after runner-up finishes. Creative Miracle lost by less than two lengths at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Blue Devil got nipped by a neck at Turfway Park.
The penultimate leg goes back to Belmont Park for another New York-bred race. This six-furlong sprint allowance features last-out winners Golquist and Citizen K. Golquist wired the field in an Aqueduct maiden special weight that came off the turf. Citizen K won a six-furlong maiden special weight at Belmont Park last month.
NYRA Cross Country Pick 5
|Leg A||Maiden Special Weight||Churchill Downs||3:18 p.m.|
|Leg B||Maiden Special Weight||Belmont Park||4:41 p.m.|
|Leg C||Maiden Special Weight||Churchill Downs||4:55 p.m.|
|Leg D||Allowance||Belmont Park||5:46 p.m.|
|Leg E||Louisville Stakes (G3)||Churchill Downs||5:58 p.m.|
They face Sheriff Bianco, who returns after a seven-month layoff for Ward. When we last saw the son of standout sprinter Speightster, he was finishing second in a six-furlong allowance at Belmont Park last October.
The minimum bet on the Cross Country Pick 5 is 50 cents. The wager comes with a 15% takeout. Each week features a total payout of the net pool.
Past performances are available here.