Letruska at Oaklawn prior to the 2021 Apple Blossom
The New York Racing Association Inc. will host an all-stakes Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday featuring races from Aqueduct Racetrack and Oaklawn Park.
Free Equibase past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 sequence are now available for download at https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/cross-country-wagers.
Action begins in Race 5 at 3:18 p.m. ET from Oaklawn Park with the Grade 1, $1 million Apple Blossom, featuring a showdown between reigning Eclipse Award winners Letruska and Ce Ce as they both strive for their second Apple Blossom triumph.
Letruska, who won last year’s Apple Blossom and earned champion older female honors, enters off a victorious 2022 commencement in the Grade 3 Royal Delta on Feb. 26 at Gulfstream Park. Champion sprint filly or mare and 2020 Apple Blossom victress Ce Ce will attempt to become the first horse since Hall of Famer Zenyatta to secure non-consecutive wins in the race.
Steep opposition is provided by Grade 1-winners Clairiere and Maracuja. Stonestreet Stables’ Clairiere, by Curlin, won last year’s Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx Racing, while Maracuja defeated eventual champion 3-year-old filly Malathaat in the Grade 1 CCA Oaks at Saratoga Race Course for trainer Rob Atras.
A field of seven sophomores will seek their first stakes triumph in the second leg, the $150,000 Oaklawn [Race 8, 4:54 p.m.] at nine furlongs. L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Stellar Tap, a gray or roan son of Tapit, was made the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Stellar Tap aims for his first trip to the winner’s circle since his career debut, where he provided Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen with his North American record-breaking 9,446th career victory. Gary and Mary West’s Home Brew will try to make amends following a distant 10th as the lukewarm favorite in the one-mile Smarty Jones on Jan. 1 at Oaklawn. In his prior start, also run at one mile, he wired a first-level allowance optional claiming field on Dec. 4 over the Hot Springs oval.
Action shifts to New York for the middle leg with a field of seven state-bred sophomores seeking a victory in the $200,000 NYSSS Times Square [Race 8, 5:04 p.m.] going 6 1/2 furlongs at Aqueduct.
Two-time stakes winner Barese will see a quick turnaround following a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 9 at the Big A. Trained by Mike Maker, the son of Laoban won Aqueduct’s Rego Park on Jan. 9 and the Gander on Feb. 12. Trainer Richard Schosberg will saddle Unique Unions, who attempts his first win since breaking his maiden on Nov. 20 at Aqueduct.
The penultimate leg features the $100,000 Woodhaven [Race 9, 5:36 p.m.] at one mile on the Big A inner turf. Trainer Christophe Clement will send out Heaven Street, who enters off a win in the Columbia on March 12 at Tampa Bay Downs.
The son of Street Sense will attempt his fourth overall victory, having earned two wins during his juvenile season when racing for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. Klaravich Stables’ Unanimous Consent, unbeaten in both starts, will make his stakes debut for trainer Chad Brown. The son of Almanzor broke his maiden in September at Monmouth Park before emerging off a five-month layoff to win a first level allowance optional claimer at Tampa Bay Downs.
Concluding the sequence is the Grade 2, $1 million Oaklawn Handicap [Race 11, 6:41 p.m.] where Repole Stable’s Fearless seeks his fourth graded stakes win. The 6-year-old Ghostzapper gelding finished second in last year’s Oaklawn Handicap, which was won by Silver State. Danny Caldwell’s fan-favorite Rated R Superstar makes his third Oaklawn Handicap appearance, entering from a victory in the Grade 3 Essex on March 19. The 9-year-old Kodiak Kowboy veteran boasts earnings in excess of $1.5 million as he makes his 60th career start on Saturday.
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 meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the spring 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, April 23:
Leg A: Oaklawn Park – Race 5, G1, $1 million Apple Blossom (3:18 p.m.)
Leg B: Oaklawn Park – Race 8, $150,000 Oaklawn (4:54 p.m.)
Leg C: Aqueduct Racetrack – Race 8, NYSSS Times Square (5:04 p.m.)
Leg D: Aqueduct Racetrack – Race 9, Woodhaven (5:36 p.m.)
Leg E: Oaklawn Park – Race 11, G2 $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (6:41 p.m.)