Memorial Day Monday’s Cross Country Pick 5 features racing action from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs
by Ryan Martin
The New York Racing Association Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Monday featuring stakes racing from Belmont Park’s Big Apple Showcase Day and graded stakes action from Churchill Downs.
The Cross Country Pick 5 requires bettors to pick the winner of five select races from tracks across the country. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is available on ADW platforms and at simulcast facilities across the country with each week featuring a mandatory payout of the net pool. The Cross Country Pick 5, boasting a low 15 percent takeout, offers sequences with races from Belmont Park and partner tracks across the country.
The sequence kicks off in Race 8 [4:22 p.m.] at Churchill Downs when 2021 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Echo Zulu makes her 4-year-old debut against five others in the Grade 3 Winning Colors for older fillies and mares going six furlongs. The L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds-owned daughter of Gun Runner was last seen finishing second to Goodnight Olive in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in November at Keeneland for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Albaugh Family Stables’ Fire On Time, by Not This Time, will look to build off a sharp six-length triumph going the Winning Colors distance on May 12 at Churchill Downs for trainer Dale Romans. The six-time winner earned black type when third in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 2 Inside Information on January 28.
Action shifts to Belmont Park for the following leg in Race 8 [4:40 p.m.] where popular New York-bred veterans City Man and Somelikeithotbrown will each attempt their ninth overall stakes triumph in the $125,000 Kingston for older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf. Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles’ City Man won last year’s Grade 3 Forbidden Apple at Saratoga Race Course and Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale at Gulfstream for trainer Christophe Clement. Somelikeithotbrown, owned by Skychai Racing and David Koenig, will make his first start of the year and was last seen finishing a distant seventh in the Alex M. Robb on December 17 at Aqueduct for trainer Mike Maker. The 7-year-old Big Brown bay won the Grade 3 Mint Million in September at Kentucky Downs following a triumph in an off the turf edition of the West Point presented by Trustco Bank in August at the Spa.
The middle leg will feature an overflow field of turf maidens going nine furlongs at Churchill Downs [Race 9, 4:55 p.m.], where well-bred Boppy seeks to graduate at second asking for trainer Brad Cox. The son of Blame, out of dual graded stakes-winner Daring Dancer, was second on debut on March 25 going a two-turn mile at Turfway Park. He is a direct descendant of Terlingua – the dam of breed-shaping stallion Storm Cat. Trainer Kenny McPeek sends out Freydis the Red, a consistent French-bred son of Saxon Warrior who has finished second in 3-of-5 starts.
The final two legs will see action shift to beautiful Belmont Park, beginning with the 1 1/16-mile $200,000 Commentator [Race 9, 5:12 p.m.] for older horses on the main track. Michael Dubb and Michael J. Caruso’s Dr Ardito vies for his second career stakes win for four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown. The son of Liam’s Map won the February 20 Haynesfield at the Big A before finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont in his last start.
Bankit, 2021 Champion New York-bred Older Horse, provides steep opposition as he seeks his first triumph of the year for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. The 7-year-old Central Banker horse faced open company in the last out Frank Y. Whiteley on April 15 where he finished fourth. He won the 2021 Commentator by 13 1/4 lengths.
The curtains close on the sequence in the Belmont finale [Race 10, 5:44 p.m.] where the Barry Schwartz homebred Utamaro faces an overflow field of New York-bred maidens 3-years-old and upward traveling seven furlongs over the Widener turf course. The gray son of Cairo Prince is out of the A.P. Indy mare Mindy’s Gold, making him a half-brother to graded stakes winner Sharp Starr. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez will saddle Factually Correct following a close third last out on May 5 going six furlongs in an off-the-turf maiden. The son of Tourist has never finished worse than fourth and will race with blinkers on in attempt to find the winner’s circle at seventh asking.
Free Equibase past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 sequence will be available for download at https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/cross-country-wagers.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the best way to bet every race of the Belmont spring/summer meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
Cross Country Pick 5 – Monday, May 29
Leg A: Churchill Downs – Race 8, G3 Winning Colors (4:22 p.m. Eastern)
Leg B: Belmont Park – Race 8, $125K Kingston (4:40 p.m.)
Leg C: Churchill Downs – Race 9, maiden special weight (4:55 p.m.)
Leg D: Belmont Park – Race 9, $200K Commentator (5:12 p.m.)
Leg E: Belmont Park – Race 10, New York-bred MSW (5:44 p.m.)