Handicapping the Cross Country Pick 5 on Aug. 14

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

August 13th, 2021

The Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday takes in all five graded stakes scheduled for the day, the two at Saratoga and the three Grade 1 turf events at Arlington. Here's a look at how we see things going.

Saratoga Special -- Saratoga Race 9 (5:39 p.m. ET)

This is the largest field in the sequence with no apparent standout juvenile among them. Morning line favorite #8 DOCTOR JEFF (2-1) could be tough off a nice maiden win, but does have to contend with other speed in the field. From off the pace, #7 DOUBLE THUNDER (6-1) was impressive in dominating the Bashford Manor (G3) following a bad start. Farther up the track was #12 RED RUN (30-1), the mild favorite who endured a rough trip. By Gun Runner, and closely related to champion Untapable and Paddy O'Prado, it's far too early to give up on him. #10 GLACIAL (15-1), who could settle more here now that blinkers are removed, is another from the Bashford Manor with upside. #11 HIGH OAK (12-1) is another possibility off a debut win at Belmont in late June for Bill Mott.

Beverly D. S. (G1) -- Arlington Race 7 (5:49 p.m. ET)

#4 Santa Barbara has generally been a good bet-against at short odds for much of her campaign, and only one other three-year-old has ever won this race. Instead, we'll lean on #2 MEAN MARY (9-5), the likely controlling speed, and Irish Group 2 winner #6 LEMISTA (5-1), a good second in her U.S. debut and likely better than her recent run in the Diana (G1) would suggest. The latter's trainer, Chad Brown, has dominated this affair in recent years.

Fourstardave H. (G1) -- Saratoga Race 10 (6:13 p.m. ET)

Not entirely convinced morning line favorite #1 Raging Bull gets the strongest possible pace he typically needs to win this, especially if his female stablemate #8 BLOWOUT (6-1) is allowed to dictate the tempo. She has no prior experience facing males, but looks somewhat intriguing if allowed to have things her own way. If #5 SET PIECE (5-2) can reproduce his recent Churchill form against this stronger field, he'll be tough to fend off.

Bruce D. S. (G1) -- Arlington Race 8 (6:28 p.m. ET)

This Grade 1 in name only has attracted an undistinguished field for the class level. We'll spread and use #1 THERIDEOFALIFETIME (6-1), who might appreciate stretching out around two turns and is by 13% first-turf sire Candy Ride; #4 GINSBURNED (5-1), who doesn't look out of place exiting a maiden win at Ellis; New York invader #6 POINT ME BY (3-1); and #9 LIKE A SALTSHAKER (12-1), stakes-placed at Belmont last fall in his only turf try and now stabled with the leading local barn.

Mr. D. S. (G1) -- Arlington Race 9 (7:13 p.m. ET)

The former Arlington Million has the country's leading grass horse in #3 DOMESTIC SPENDING (6-5), who figures to be closer to 2-5 at post time. Given his record over the past year, and the competition he faces, he'll be hard to depose.

Here's the 50-cent ticket:

  • 7,8,10,11,12 with 2,6 with 5,8 with 1,4,6,9 with 3 = $40.