Ricardo Santana gives Ginobili a pat after his win in the Fifth Seasons at Oaklawn
The New York Racing Association Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, featuring action from Aqueduct Racetrack, Tampa Bay Downs, and Oaklawn Park.
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, will continue each Saturday in February and March, offering sequences with races from Aqueduct Racetrack and partner tracks across the country.
Saturday’s sequence kicks off at 3:55 p.m. Eastern at Aqueduct in Race 7, a one-mile maiden special weight for sophomores. The field of 10 is headlined by Klaravich Stables’ Power in Numbers, who makes his second start for four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown. The son of Girvin finished a clear second in his January 14 debut 6 1/2 lengths behind Clubhouse, who exited that race to post a runner-up finish in the Jimmy Winkfield on Saturday. Brown will also send out the uncoupled McCullough, who enters with a pair of fifth-place finishes.
Trainer David Donk will hope to see Robert Spiegel’s promising Register finish one better than his previous two outings when second in a pair of January maiden tilts. The son of Super Saver is a half-brother to 2021 Grade 2 Saratoga Special winner High Oak. The Linda Rice-trained Ride Up and Todd Pletcher-trained There Be Dragons will also look to improve from previous on-the-board efforts in their last outings.
The second leg will feature stakes action from Tampa Bay Downs as older fillies and mares contest at five furlongs over the lawn in the Lightning City [Race 8, 4:17 p.m.]. The competitive field of 12 boasts eight last-out winners, including the Kelly Breen-trained Train to Artemus, who won an optional claimer going the Lightning City distance on January 18 at Gulfstream Park. There, the daughter of Tapizar raced prominently under Junior Alvarado and made a determined run down the lane to win by a nose. The victory was awarded an 86 Beyer Speed Figure.
Three other entrants boast last-out victories that garnered Beyers in the 80s, led by the speedy Trevess for trainer Laura Cazares. The 6-year-old daughter of Kantharos arrives from a one-length optional claiming score sprinting five furlongs on January 15 at Gulfstream where she brushed the gate and tracked in second along the rail before unleashing a strong turn of foot down the lane to stop the clock in a final time of 55.84 seconds.
Action returns north to the Big A for the middle leg as eight older sprinters line up for a six-furlong open allowance in Race 8 [4:26 p.m.]. Today’s Flavor has been flawless in his three starts against fellow New York-breds since being transferred to trainer George Weaver this fall, led by a pair of 8 1/2-length scores at the Big A in November and December, respectively. He followed with a last-out 3 1/2-length optional claiming score on January 7, which garnered a 93 Beyer.
Steep opposition will be provided by the Amira Chichakly-trained Russian to Win, who posted a strong bullet work on February 11 when covering a half-mile in 47.60 seconds over the Belmont dirt training track. The Kentucky-bred son of Cairo Prince was last seen landing a 3 3/4-length victory on January 20 in a seven-furlong allowance over a muddy and sealed Big A and has won two of his last three starts. Twelth Man, who has been on-the-board in his last three starts, will provide interest as he looks to score his third victory for conditioner Michelle Nevin.
The penultimate leg will see action move south to Tampa for Race 10 [5:20 p.m.], the five-furlong Turf Dash featuring an overflow field of older horses. The consistent Panther Island will look to notch his first stakes victory in his first start for trainer Laura Cazares after being haltered for $62,500 out of a narrow defeat on January 19 at Gulfstream. The son of Speightstown has won four of his six lifetime starts, his two losses coming by margins of a nose and a head, respectively. His best performance was a 5 1/2-furlong optional claiming score in October that garnered a 90 Beyer after he went head-to-head with next-out winner Mamba On Three throughout before inching away to a one-length score.
The Critical Way brings graded stakes form to the field in his first start off a nearly five-month layoff after finishing sixth in the Lucky Coin in September at Saratoga Race Course. The Jose Delgado trainee earned his first graded victory in August 2021 in the Grade 3 Parx Dash in exciting fashion with a nose score over Battle Station.
The sequence concludes in Hot Springs, Ark., with graded stakes action from Oaklawn Park. The Grade 3 Razorback Handicap [Race 9, 5:42 p.m.] will see the return of graded stakes winner Law Professor after his dominant 7 1/2-length victory in the Queens County on January 7 at the Big A for trainer Rob Atras. The son of Constitution was a game runner-up to Life Is Good in the Grade 1 Woodward in October and scored a Grade 2 victory in an off-the-turf edition of the Mathis Mile in December 2021.
Gary and Mary West’s West Will Power also makes an anticipated return to the races on the heels of a close runner-up finish to Proxy in the Grade 1 Clark in November at Churchill Downs. The Brad Cox trainee earned his lone graded victory two starts back with an emphatic 6 3/4-length score in the Grade 2 Fayette in October at Keeneland where he was awarded a 102 Beyer.
The Peter Miller-trained Ginobili, who won the Fifth Season at Oaklawn last out, looms as a serious threat from post 4 while the duo of Grade 1-placed Caddo River and graded stakes-winner Last Samurai for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will look to play spoiler from posts 10 and 7, respectively.
Free Equibase past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 sequence will be available for download at https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/cross-country-wagers.
America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of the Aqueduct winter meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the best way to bet every race of the Aqueduct Racetrack winter 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, February 18
Leg A: Aqueduct Racetrack – Race 7, MSW (3:55 p.m. Eastern)
Leg B: Tampa Bay Downs – Race 8, $100K Lightning City (4:17 p.m.)
Leg C: Aqueduct Racetrack – Race 8, ALW (4:26 p.m.)
Leg D: Tampa Bay Downs – Race 10, $100K Turf Dash (5:20 p.m.)
Leg E: Oaklawn – Race 9, Grade 3 Razorback Handicap (5:42 p.m.)