The return of a Grade 1 winner and an intriguing Grade 2 stakes race provide the highlight of this week’s New York Racing Association Cross Country Pick 5. This week’s races come to horseplayers from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.
The aforementioned Grade 1 winner is Americanrevolution, who returns six months after winning the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. That was the Constitution colt’s first Grade 1 score and his fifth victory in his last six races. One start before that half-length victory over Following Sea, Americanrevolution racked up a career-best 108 Beyer Speed Figure dismantling the Black-Type Empire Classic by 11 3/4 lengths.
As the 8/5 morning line favorite, Americanrevolution is the key horse in the Blame Stakes, which is the fourth leg of the Cross Country Pick 5. Waiting for him in the 1 1/8-mile Blame at Churchill Downs is Todd Pletcher stablemate Dynamic One. He comes in off a runner-up to Scalding in the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland in April. And speaking of Scalding, that was his fourth victory in a row. He’s the 5/2 second choice here.
One race before the Blame in the sequence, forming the middle leg, is the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge. Being a nine-furlong race along Belmont Park’s inner turf, you’d expect to see Chad Brown represented. And the four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer doesn’t disappoint. He sends out two contestants: Unanimous Consent and Napoleonic War.
Remember Derby hopeful Emmanuel? He’s back on turf
Unanimous Consent has been unanimous in victory, opening his career with three wins in as many starts. That includes his last-out score by nearly two lengths in the Black-Type Woodhaven Stakes at Aqueduct April 23. Napoleonic War is 2-for-3, but missing a black-type win on the resume. Waiting for both is Pletcher’s Emmanuel, the one-time Kentucky Derby prospect. He makes his turf debut after his third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass in early April.
This week’s Cross Country Pick 5 opens at Belmont Park with the sequence’s lone non-stakes race: a starter allowance one-turn mile for 3-year-olds and up. That competitive opening leg features Mike Maker’s three-time winner Royal Tryst taking on Rudy Rodriguez’s Air Show and Peter Walder’s Luna Simi.
Leg two moves south to Churchill Downs for the Aristides. This six-furlong sprint for older horses is one of the most competitive in the wager. Miles Ahead beat Drain the Clock two starts ago in the Gulfstream Park Sprint with a 102 Beyer. Bob’s Edge comes in off a fourth to Jackie’s Warrior in the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint at Oaklawn Park. But one race earlier, he rallied to win the Grade 3 Whitmore on the same track.
Cross Country Pick 5 leg offers horses for courses
Then, there’s two candidates with a combined 11 victories under the Twin Spires: defending Aristides champion Bango (six) and Necker Island (five).
After the Pennine Ridge and Blame, the Cross Country Pick 5 ends at Churchill Downs with the Listed Audubon. That sends 11 3-year-olds on a nine-furlong trek along Churchill Downs’ new turf track. Major General, the winner of the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes on the Derby trail, makes his turf stakes debut. Last out, he finished a dismal ninth in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile on the Derby undercard.
Major General’s Pletcher stablemate, Grand Sonata, comes well-versed on grass, after winning back-to-back turf stakes at Gulfstream Park this winter. He captured the Dania Beach in January, then the Grade 3 Kitten’s Joy a month later. The Medaglia d’Oro progeny lost by less than a length to Sy Dog in the Grade 3 Transylvania last out.
NYRA Cross Country Pick 5
|Leg A||Allowance||Belmont Park||4:40 p.m.|
|Leg B||Aristides Stakes||Churchill Downs||4:55 p.m.|
|Leg C||Pennine Ridge (G2)||Belmont Park||5;12 p.m.|
|Leg D||Blame Stakes||Churchill Downs||5:26 p.m.|
|Leg E||Audubon Stakes||Churchill Downs||5:58 p.m.|
The Cross Country Pick 5 comes with a 50-cent minimum and a 15% takeout. It’s offered every Saturday at simulcast facilities and ADW platforms.
Free Equibase past performances are available here.