Handicapping the Cross Country Pick 5 on Nov. 15

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

November 14th, 2020

Weather in Louisville and New York will be the X factor for Sunday's Cross Country Pick 5, a 50-cent wager offering a 15% takeout. Rain is forecast to hit Louisville overnight into Sunday, so the main track condition will be in doubt while grass racing has already been suspended through Nov. 22. Rain showers are forecast to pick up in New York in mid-afternoon, though possibly late enough to keep the featured Winter Memories S. on the turf.

Given what we know at this writing, here's how we'll approach the sequence.

The Cross Country 50-cent ticket:

  • 8,9 with 1,8 with 3,4,7 with 1,5,10 with 1,2,5 = $54

Leg 1 -- Aqueduct Race 8 -- 3:17 p.m. ET

Morning line favorite #9 TALE OF THE UNION (5-2) has been second at this level in his last two starts and remains with upside for Baffert while Johnny V takes back the reins. Meanwhile, Lezcano climbs back aboard #8 POWER UP PAYNTER (12-1), whom he's had some success with in the past for trainer Linda Rice. Paynter gelding a decent second last out after hitting the gate at the start, and he could get a favorable pace scenario with a lot of speed signed up.

Leg 2 -- Churchill Downs Race 6 -- 3:36 p.m. ET

#1 SUPER SOL (5-2), a former allowance-class horse, woke up on the drop to $20,000 last time and haltered by the Kenneally barn, which is doing well this meet and has a history of making astute claims. #8 ORO DE TEJANO (10-1) likewise claimed last out by Diodoro, who previously had the gelding over the spring and summer. Although win-shy, he won twice for the barn with 7 furlongs seemingly his optimum trip.

Leg 3 -- Aqueduct Race 9 -- 3:47 p.m. ET

An interesting edition of the $100,000 Winter Memories for 3-year-old fillies on the turf. #3 VIGILANTES WAY (7-2) ran out of real estate in the Hilltop S. at Pimlico last out after being farther off the pace than usual. Velazquez picks up the mount. #4 FACCIO IO (10-1) likely to be overlooked despite second best-of-19 finish in the Italian 1000 Guineas (G3) in June. #7 CRYSTALLE (8-1) was one of the better juvenile turf fillies on this circuit last season. Given an impossible task following a long layoff when behind a sleepy pace in a Sept. 24 allowance. Improvement expected second off the bench.

Leg 4 -- Churchill Downs Race 7 -- 4:06 p.m. ET

This open allowance for fillies and mares will be run on the main track, and at this writing we'll guess as to which ones remain in the field based on prior main track form. #1 AMBASSADOR LASS (8-1) captured the off-the-turf Unbridled Sidney S. on Sept. 2, while #5 SURRENDER NOW (8-1) is a two-time winner on dirt and drops from tougher Grade 3 company. #10 A BIT OF BOTH (4-1) has won five of 10 on dirt and perhaps is the one to beat for Mike Maker.

Leg 5 -- Churchill Downs Race 9 -- 5:06 p.m. ET

In a race lacking much in the way of speed, #1 SYMPHONIC (8-1) should get every chance to take this field as far as he can go as one of the longer prices in the field. #2 ICON (3-1), a track-and-distance grad, returns to dirt and figures to improve off his belated season-opener following a layoff of well over nine months. A deep-closing, one-turn specialist, #5 MISTER CANDY RIDE (4-1) was seemingly in the wrong spot testing 9 furlongs in his first race back in nearly six months. Can move forward here.