The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, featuring stakes action from Aqueduct Racetrack and Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks qualifiers from 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 in Race 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack [3:55 p.m. Eastern] as Yo Cuz, a three-time stakes winner at the Big A, leads a field of nine older fillies and mares in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance sprint. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the New York-bred and sired Laoban bay captured the seven-furlong $500,000 NYSSS Fifth Avenue in December 2021 ahead of state-bred scores last year in the one-turn mile Maddie May and seven-furlong East View. She will look to get back to winning ways after failing to hit the board in her last three outings.
A competitive field includes the David Duggan-trained Kant Hurry Love, who enters from a pair of open-lengths scores against fellow state-breds; and the improving Bruce Levine trainee Kitten’s Appeal, a Kentucky-bred, who garnered a career-best 80 Beyer Speed Figure last out when runner-up in a six-furlong allowance sprint that featured five returning rivals.
Action switches to Oaklawn for the second leg with graded-stakes winners Pretty Birdie and Yuugiri squaring off in the $150,000 Carousel [Race 7, 4:06 p.m.], a six-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.
Trained by Norm Casse, Pretty Birdie made the grade at second asking in the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga Race Course. She’s won 2-of-3 starts at Oaklawn, including the Purple Martin in March and the Poinsettia last out on December 17.
Yuugiri is also 2-for-3 at Oaklawn for trainer Rodolphe Brisset, including a neck score over Beguine in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Fantasy in April and a six-furlong allowance win last out on December 30. The multiple graded-stakes placed Samurai Charm ships in from Santa Anita for trainer Peter Miller while Mercy Warren arrives from a 16-length optional-claiming score at Fair Grounds for trainer Cherie DeVaux.
The middle leg will see a field of six travel a one-turn mile in the $125,000 Stymie [Race 8, 4:26 p.m.] at the Big A led by the streaking Repo Rocks, who enters with a trio of stakes wins for trainer Jamie Ness.
Last out, the 5-year-old Tapiture gelding garnered a 111 Beyer for his 8 1/2-length romp in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Toboggan here, which came on the heels of stakes scores at Parx in the 6 1/2-furlong Let’s Give Thanks and six-furlong Blitzen.
Grade 1-placed Miles D will look to get back on track for trainer Chad Brown following a seventh-place finish last out in the Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper on January 28 at Gulfstream Park. The 5-year-old Curlin bay finished third in the 2021 Grade 1 Travers two starts before completing his sophomore season with a half-length score over eventual Grade 1-winner Speaker’s Corner in the nine-furlong Discovery here. Another threat is the Todd Pletcher-trained Bourbonic, who captured the 2021 Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino and enters from a strong optional-claiming win on February 5 in which he added blinkers.
The sequence concludes with a pair of graded tilts from Oaklawn, starting with the Grade 3, $300,000 Honeybee [Race 10, 5:43 p.m.], a 1 1/16-mile test for sophomore fillies offering 50-20-15-10-5 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-five finishers.
The 12-horse field is topped by Godolphin’s Kentucky homebred Wet Paint, a Brad Cox trainee, who bested four of her returning rivals last out in the Martha Washington going the Honeybee distance at Oaklawn.
A fresh challenge will be provided by the Norm Casse-conditioned Effortlesslyelgant, a $475,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, who graduated last out at Oaklawn; three-time winner Towhead for trainer Mike Maker; Grade 2-placed New York-bred Gambling Girl for Pletcher; and Grade 3-placed Grand Love for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who recently secured his 10,000th win in North America.
Closing out the wager is the Grade 2, $1 million Rebel [Race 11, 6:23 p.m.], a 1 1/16-mile test for sophomores offering 50-20-15-10-5 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.
Cox will saddle a pair of strong contenders in the 11-horse field led by 2-1 morning-line favorite Verifying and 5-2 second choice Giant Mischief. By Justify, Verifying is a half-brother to multiple Grade 1-winning multi-millionaire Midnight Bisou. He finished second in the Grade 1 Champagne in October at the Big A and enters from a 5 1/4-length optional-claiming score traveling one mile on January 14 at Oaklawn.
Giant Mischief, by Into Mischief, is out of multiple graded-stakes winner Vertical Oak. He won his first two starts, including an optional-claiming score in November at Keeneland ahead of a close second as the odds-on favorite in the Springboard Mile in December at Remington Park.
Steep opposition will come from a trio of Asmussen trainees in Grade 1-placed Red Route One, stakes-winner Powerful, and two-time winner Gun Pilot; as well as recent Grade 3 Sham-winner Reincarnate for trainer Tim Yakteen.
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 25
Leg A: Aqueduct Racetrack -Race 7, ALW (3:55 p.m. Eastern)
Leg B: Oaklawn Park -Race 7, $150K Carousel (4:06 p.m.)
Leg C: Aqueduct Racetrack -Race 8, $125K Stymie (4:26 p.m.)
Leg D: Oaklawn Park -Race 10, G3 Honeybee (5:43 p.m.)
Leg E: Oaklawn Park -Race 11, G2 Rebel (6:23 p.m.)