Hanson: A look at the Cross Country Pick 5
The Cross Country Pick 5 returns to the wagering menu on Saturday, and this week's offering includes three races at Belmont Park and two from Churchill Downs. The wager can be played at a 50-cent minimum and post time for the first leg Saturday is scheduled at 4:32 p.m. ET.
Here's a look at the sequence.
Leg 1 -- Belmont Race 7 -- Westchester (G3)
He faces a decent-sized field here and could conceivably be caught a little short in his return from a seven-month layoff, but there's no questioning #9 CODE OF HONOR (6-5) is the class here and will take some beating if anywhere close to his best. Expected to be one of the top older horses in the country this year, he loves Belmont and is more than capable around one turn as gears up for a possible tilt in next month's Met Mile (G1). The single here.
Leg 2 -- Belmont Race 8 -- Intercontinental (G3)
Trainer Chad Brown is well-stocked in this 7-furlong turf dash. #12 SIGNIFICANT FORM (5-2) won this race last season off a similar layoff and later added another couple of graded stakes wins. Irish import #1 VIADERA (6-1), though not the most consistent, is Group 3-placed and will get a significant weight break in her U.S. debut. #7 REGAL GLORY (5-1) in the second tier among 3-year-old grass fillies last term, but she's 2-for-2 around one turn and would benefit from a hot pace.
Leg 3 -- Churchill Race 9 -- Allowance
#9 TOHUI (5-1) typically fast out of the gate and will have to contend with other speed here, but relative maturity could see him last longer than some of his other early rivals. #5 HIGH CRIME (7-2) capable of much better than what we saw in his recent comeback on the main track. Also-eligibles #12 CARDIAC KITTEN (4-1) and #14 AMERICAN MANDATE (5-1) worth a look if either or both get in.
Leg 4 -- Belmont Race 9 -- Carter H. (G1)
Besides Code of Honor, trainer Shug McGaughey has another potential top-flight older horse in #2 PERFORMER (3-1), who enters on a four-race win streak including the Discovery (G3) over nine panels. Loves one turn, too, and Belmont. #11 VEKOMA (7-2) is 3-for-3 around one turn and looked sharp taking a smaller stakes at Gulfstream on Mar. 28 following an extended break.
Leg 5 -- Churchill Race 10 -- Dogwood (G3)
#3 BAYERNESS (6-1) threw in a clunker in the Davona Dale (G2), but showed potential on this circuit last fall with back-to-back wins. The latter was an allowance score over the Churchill strip against the now division-leading Swiss Skydiver. #5 MAGIC DANCE (7-2) won twice here early in her career, had an excuse in stakes try at the Spa, and found two turns too much at Oaklawn last time. #2 FOUR GRACES (5-2) has won both tries over this 7-furlong trip and is highly regarded by Team Wilkes.
The 50-cent ticket:, the cost of which could go lower depending on Leg 3 AE scratches:
- 9 with 1,7,12 with 5,9,12,14 with 2,11 with 2,3,5 = $36