by Najja Thompson
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday with racing action from Belmont Park, Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pennsylvania and Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke, Ontario.
The special all-stakes edition of the Cross Country Pick 5 features the Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby; the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion; and Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bob from Parx as well as the Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso Handicap from Belmont and the $100,000 Sweet Briar Too from Woodbine.
The multi-race wager, hosted by NYRA and featuring a 50-cent minimum, will start with the Gallant Bob from Parx, carded as Race 9 at 4:34 ET. Featuring a field of nine talented runners, 7-2 morning-line favorite Landeskog for conditioner Doug O'Neill enters off an impressive 4 ¾ length victory on August 4 at Del Mar Racetrack. Top challengers in the field include multiple graded stakes winner Bulletin for trainer Todd Pletcher, Trophy Chaser for conditioner J.C. Avila, and King Jack for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
In the second leg, the Grade 1 Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies, undefeated multiple graded stakes winner Guarana for Three Chimneys Farm and conditioner Chad Brown will look to win her fourth straight race facing top contenders Serengeti Empress for trainer Tom Amoss; Bellafina for conditioner Simon Callaghan; and Jaywalk for trainer Jason Servis, who enters off a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks.
The action then switches to Woodbine for the third leg where a field of nine is assembled for the Sweet Briar Too for fillies and mares going 6 ½ furlongs on the Tapeta.
Sister Peacock for conditioner Stuart Simon will look to improve off a third-place finish in the Galway Stakes at Saratoga Race Course taking on deep field led by Heavenly Hill for trainer Jose Carroll, who finished third last out in the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap on June 29 at Arlington Park.
The Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, the penultimate leg of the sequence, will feature a talented field led by Gary Barber's Grade 1 Preakness winner War of Will. The Mark Casse trainee will make his first start since finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy in July at Saratoga. Steep opposition will be provided by Grade 1-winner Improbable and Mr. Money, who is riding a four-race win streak all in Grade 3 events.
In the 39th running of the one-mile Grade 2 Kelso Handicap, the final leg of the Cross Country Pick 5, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will send out Calumet Farm's True Timber, who will make his first start since finishing ninth in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on March 30 at Meydan Racecourse. Trainer Todd Pletcher entered Prince Lucky for owner Daniel McConnell, who will make his first start since winning the State Dinner on closing day of the Belmont Park spring/summer meet. Other notable protagonists include Shortleaf Stable's Plainsman and Harold Lerner's Pat On the Back.
The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool.
Belmont Park/Parx Racing/Woodbine Cross Country Pick 5 - September 21:
Leg 1 - Parx, Race 9: Grade 2 Gallant Bob (4:34 p.m.)
Leg 2 - Parx, Race 10: G1 Cotillon (5:14 p.m.)
Leg 3 - Woodbine, Race 9: Sweet Briar Too (5:34 p.m.)
Leg 4 - Parx, Race 11: G1 Penn Derby (5:48 p.m.)
Leg 5 - Belmont Park, Race 10: G2 Kelso Handicap (5:57 p.m.)