Saturday’s Cross Country Pick 5 features all graded stakes action from Belmont Park
by Ryan Martin
The New York Racing Association Inc. (NYRA) will host a special all graded-stakes Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday featuring racing action exclusively from the lucrative Man o’ War Day card Belmont Park.
Free Equibase past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 sequence are now available for download at https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/cross-country-wagers. First post on Saturday’s 11-race card is 1 p.m. Eastern.
The sequence begins in Belmont’s third race at 2:05 p.m. with the Grade 3, $150,000 Vagrancy for fillies and mares 4-years-old and upward going 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track. Headlining the field is Bella Sofia, last year’s winner of the Grade 1 Longines Test at Saratoga Race Course. The Rudy Rodriguez-trained daughter of American Patriot will make her first start since finishing fourth in last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Del Mar. Last out winner Miss Brazil will seek to add a graded stakes victory to her resume for trainer Tony Dutrow. She captured last year’s Ruthless at Aqueduct.
The second leg, the Grade 3, $150,000 Runhappy [Race 5, 3:06 p.m.] at six furlongs over Big Sandy, features three horses who won stakes at Aqueduct over the winter. Vegso Racing Stables’ homebred Officiating captured the Grade 3 Tom Fool in March at the Big A. The Saffie Joseph, Jr.-trained Blame colt arrives off a fourth-place finish against fellow Florida-breds as the favorite in Tampa Bay Downs’ NYRA Bets Sprint in April. Trainer David Duggan will send out 8-year-old veteran Drafted following a distant fifth in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in April at Aqueduct, which came following a victory in the Grade 3 Toboggan in February. Michael Dubb’s Chateau, winner of the Gravesend in December at Aqueduct for trainer Rob Atras, enters off a runner-up effort in the Tom Fool behind Officiating.
Godolphin’s reigning Champion Turf Horse Yibir will return stateside for the first time since capturing last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf in the middle leg [Race 8, 4:46 p.m.], the Grade 1, $700,000 Man o’ War at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf.
Yibir is trained by Charlie Appleby, who sent Althiqa from Europe to conquer two Grade 1 events on the NYRA circuit last year. The son of Dubawi won the Jockey Club Derby at Belmont in September en route to his Breeders’ Cup score. Otter Bend Stables’ Gufo was second in last year’s Man o’ War, finishing a nose behind Channel Cat. The Christophe Clement-trained Declaration of War horse has finished in the money in 14-of-15 lifetime starts and made his 2022 debut a winning one, taking the Grade 2 Pan American on April 2 at Gulfstream Park.
The penultimate leg, the Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan [Race 9, 5:19 p.m.] at nine furlongs, will see a field of eight 3-year-olds vie for a possible start in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 11.
A traditional local prep for the ‘Test of the Champion’, this year’s Peter Pan features a pair of contenders for trainer Rodolphe Brisset in Western River, a full-brother to 2016 Belmont Stakes winner Creator, and two-time winner We the People. Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher will attempt his fifth Peter Pan victory when saddling Complete Agenda, a maiden winner in April at Aqueduct. Klaravich Stables’ Electability will see an increase in distance following two one-turn mile wins at Aqueduct for trainer Chad Brown.
The Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay will close out the sequence in Race 10 at 5:50 p.m., where Peter Brant and Michael Tabor’s Chad Brown-trained Rougir will make her first start for new connections. The daughter of Territories captured the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera in October before shipping stateside for a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in November at Del Mar. Stablemate Lemista finished second in last year’s Beaugay and returns to action following a nine-month layoff. She last raced when finishing third in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park.
The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on ADW platforms and at simulcast facilities across the country. Every week will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool. The Cross Country Pick 5, which features a low 15 percent takeout, will continue each Saturday throughout the year.
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 official wagering platform of Belmont Park, and the best way to bet every race of the 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 – Saturday, May 14:
Leg A: Belmont – Race 3, Grade 3, $150,000 Vagrancy (2:05 p.m. Eastern)
Leg B: Belmont – Race 5, $150,000 Runhappy (3:06 p.m.)
Leg C: Belmont – Race 8, Grade 1, $700,000 Man o’ War (4:46 p.m.)
Leg D: Belmont – Race 9, Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan (5:19 p.m.)
Leg E: Belmont – Race 10, Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay (5:50 p.m.)