Hanson: Handicapping the Aug. 1 Cross Country Pick 5

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 31st, 2020

Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5, which offers a mix of graded events and non-stakes, twice crosses the international border between the U.S. and Canada with pair of races from Woodbine included. Here's how the sequence shapes up from this view.

Leg A -- Woodbine Race 9 -- 5:26 p.m. ET

This 9-furlong maiden on the Tapeta has an intriguing contender in #1 RED STORM RISEN (4-1), who shapes up better now than he did when debuting over this track last August. Has shown much improved form in a pair of turf tries at Belmont this summer and figures tough. #4 AWESOME WOK N ROLL (8-1) has been out a long time, but is proven over this track and was runner-up to By My Standards at Fair Grounds just a few starts back, thus owns a maturity edge over the rest of these. #11 LION KINGDOM (20-1) is relatively exposed, but looked desperately in need of latest off a long break as he ran out of gas in the final furlong after getting within a half-length of the lead. Return to a route should also help.

Leg B -- Monmouth Park Race 11 -- 5:31 p.m. ET

#6 LUCREZIA (4-1) arguably owns the best piece of 2020 form in this Monmouth Oaks (G3) field courtesy of her second-place finish to Swiss Skydiver in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). Almost everyone, including her, ran below par when Gamine ran off the screen in the Acorn (G1), and this field is considerably easier. Trainer Butch Reid stated after her 38-1 upset of the Delaware Oaks (G3) that #8 PROJECT WHISKEY (6-1) had been waiting to go a route of ground. With a potentially contested pace, she could be in prime position to double up in this spot.

Leg C -- Saratoga Race 9 -- 5:42 p.m. ET

With just five horses entered, tactics could play a role in this excellent renewal of the Whitney (G1). Luckily for #5 TOM'S D'ETAT (6-5), he's highly adaptable and can win from pretty much anywhere. Imposing 7-year-old has never been better and can confirm his standing as the leading older horse in the country with his sixth straight victory here.

Leg D -- Woodbine Race 10 -- 5:58 p.m. ET

#1 BURNING MAN (5-2) was a surprise exacta crasher against N2X allowance foes in his season debut, but won't be if he runs as well against this starter/optional claiming group. Both #4 ARTISTICO (10-1) and #12 THEREGOESJOJO (4-1) have the necessary back class and winning experience over this course and/or distance to make their presence felt as they look to take a step forward off their recent 2020 bows.

Leg E -- Saratoga Race 10 -- 6:18 p.m. ET

This edition of the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) lacks a standout and thus we'll spread. Bob Baffert rarely sends a non-competitive sort to the Spa, so have to respect American Pharoah (G1) winner #2 EIGHT RINGS (8-1) despite a lackluster first run of the season at Oaklawn, a spot the Hall of Famer regrets pursuing. #4 ECHO TOWN (9-2) has been ultra consistent so far, while #5 MISCHEVIOUS ALEX (8-1) reportedly ran below par in the Woody Stephens (G1) due to a foot issue. He romped in the Swale (G3) by seven lengths the last time Irad Ortiz was up. #8 THREE TECHNIQUE (6-1) has won over this track and distance and figures to be more formidable cutting back in trip from a pair of two-turn Derby preps at Oaklawn over the winter.

Here's the 50-cent ticket:

  • 1,4,11 with 6,8 with 5 with 1,4,12 with 2,4,5,8 = $36.