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.

Cross Country Pick 5
Classic Causeway’s easy victory in the Sam F. Davis makes him the one bettors figure to key in the Tampa Bay Derby. That’s the penultimate leg to this week’s Cross Country Pick 5. (Image: Spencer Tulis/SV Photography)

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 Track Race Time (ET)
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.

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