Tampa Bay Downs’ marquee race, the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, headlines this week’s New York Racing Association Cross Country Pick 5. This week’s Cross Country Pick 5 encompasses races from Tampa Bay Downs, Aqueduct and Oaklawn Park.
The Tampa Bay Derby is the fourth leg of the five-leg pick and eyes gravitate to Classic Causeway. The Sam F. Davis winner is 11th on the Kentucky Derby points ladder with 11 points and will clinch a spot with a victory. He could grab one with a runner-up finish as well, depending where the point cut-off for the 20-horse field winds up.
Waiting for Classic Causeway is the runner-up from that Sam F. Davis, Shipsational, along with Major General and Giant Game. Major General won the first race on the Derby trail: last year’s Grade 3 Iroquois. Giant Game finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile before slumping to a dismal eighth in the Holy Bull.
Before then, the sequence rewinds at Tampa Bay Downs, where this week’s Cross Country Pick 5 begins. The sequence opens with the Grade 3 Florida Oaks, where Grade 3 Mazarine winner Mrs. Barbara returns for trainer Mark Casse in the 1 1/16-mile race.
Chad Brown counters with two last-out maiden winners: Dolce Zel and Spicer. A French import, Dolce Zel makes her American debut after winning a Longchamp maiden. Spicer comes in off a November maiden special weight score at Aqueduct.
Heaven Street could be profitable avenue
The second leg stays at Tampa Bay Downs, where eight 3-year-olds trek one mile on the turf in the ungraded Columbia Stakes. Christophe Clement’s Heaven Street figures to take money despite his 12th in the Grade 2 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland. He did finish third in a Woodbine stakes.
Aqueduct takes the third leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 with the ungraded Correction Stakes. Kept Waiting is the likely favorite. The 5-year-old mare won her last three starts by a combined 18 ½ lengths. She comes in off a win in the Aqueduct slop Feb. 13 in the Broadway against New York-breds.
Waiting for Kept Waiting is Club Car, who finished second in three of her last four races: all stakes. That includes a runner-up finish to standout mare Bell’s the One in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America last October at Keeneland. Club Car finished second to Bell’s the One a month later in the Dream Supreme at Churchill Downs.
Cross Country Pick 5 closes with Grade 1-level race
After that Tampa Bay Derby fourth leg, the Cross Country Pick 5 closes with a great duel at Oaklawn Park in the Grade 2 Azeri. The 1 1/16-mile race for older fillies and mares pits Brad Cox’s Shedaresthedevil against Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Ce Ce. The winner of two Grade 1s last year, Shedaresthedevil makes her 5-year-old debut in the Azeri after finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Ce Ce comes in off a second to Merneith in the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita last month. And should you want to spread here, there’s Grade 3 winners Pauline’s Pearl and Lady Mystify.
NYRA Cross Country Pick 5
|Leg A||Tampa Bay Downs||Florida Oaks (G3)||4:21 p.m.|
|Leg B||Tampa Bay Downs||Columbia||4:53 p.m.|
|Leg C||Aqueduct||Correction||4:57 p.m.|
|Leg D||Tampa Bay Downs||Tampa Bay Derby (G2)||5:25 p.m.|
|Leg E||Oaklawn Park||Azeri (G2)||6:10 p.m.|
The Cross Country Pick 5 carries a 50 cent minimum. The wager is available on ADW platforms and simulcast centers around the country. It features a 15% takeout and mandatory payout of the net pool.
Free Equibase past performances are available at https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/tracing/cross-country-wagers.