Scully: Handicapping the July 18 Cross Country Pick 5

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July 18th, 2020

Three graded stakes from Monmouth Park, including the $1 million Haskell (G1), are part of Saturday’s Cross Country Pick 5. The wager is a 50-cent minimum and post time for the first leg, the Monmouth Cup (G3), is 4:40 p.m. EDT.

Here are my thoughts on the sequence:

Leg 1 – Monmouth Race 10 – Monmouth Cup (G3)

Ten will contest the 1 1/8-mile race, and #3 Senior Investment should appreciate the class relief after a weakening eighth in the Westchester (G3) at Belmont Park. The 6-year-old reeled off three straight wins prior to his last outing, including a sharp five-length stakes tally at Laurel Park two back, and I expect a favorable up-close stalking trip from his inside post.

#2 Monongahela likely needed his last start and is eligible to show more today. He rolled to a four-length win in his previous start at Monmouth, the 2019 Philip Iselin (G3). #7 Joevia is 2-for-2 over the track and will show speed. #8 Just Whistle, a nice stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles two back, is intriguing on the cutback from the Suburban (G2).

Leg 2 – Monmouth Race 11 – United Nations (G1)

Nine are set for the 1 3/8-mile turf test, and I’m going five deep in the competitive event.

#3 Muggsamatic and #5 Aquaphobia will be used from the Mike Maker stable. Muggsamatic exits a sharp stakes tally at Gulfstream in his first start for Maker, and the three-time local winner can carry his form forward with Paco Lopez. Aquaphobia enters on the upswing, missing by only 1 1/2 lengths in the Wise Dan (G2) last out.

#2 Standard Deviation looks dangerous in his second start for Graham Motion. #6 Current just missed in the Pan American (G2) two back, and it’s easy to envision a favorable trip here. #9 Paret appears to be coming on for James Lawrence.

Leg 3 – Woodbine Race 9 – Royal North (G2)

Nine distaffers will sprint 6-furlongs on Woodbine’s turf, and I’ll spread in this spot as well.

#4 Another Time can’t be dismissed following a neck second in the June 27 Nassau (G2). #1 Foxxy Belle looks intriguing from her inside post, and #5 Sister Peacock rates as a front-end threat. #8 Lady Grace could get the right stalking trip from the outside.

Leg 4 – Monmouth Race 12 – Haskell (G1)

#1 Dr Post brings improving form to Saturday’s $1 million Haskell (G1). A maiden winner in late March, he overcame a troubled trip to win the Unbridled S. at Gulfstream a month later and continued to move forward with a clear second to Tiz the Law in the June 20 Belmont Stakes (G1). The Todd Pletcher-trained colt has displayed a fine turn of foot on the far turn of his last three starts before finishing powerfully in the stretch, and Dr Post can continue to move forward here.

Nine furlongs is not an optimal distance for probable favorite Authentic. The classy colt remains capable of overpowering inferior competition, holding for second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) last time, but Dr Post is one of the top 3-year-olds in training.

Leg 5 – Saratoga Race 10 – Coaching Club American Oaks (G1)

With my initial top choice, Altaf, being scratched, I will lean upon #6 Paris Lights in the 1 1/8-mile CCA Oaks. Tonalist's Shape received a tough post and may be better suited for shorter distances, and Crystal Ball is eligible to catch pressure after having things her own way in her maiden tally.

Paris Lights has impressed in a pair of starts since stretching out to two turns for Bill Mott, and the Curlin filly can sit a good stalking trip just off the speed before offering her best.

50-cent Cross-Country Pick 5 Wager

  • 2,3,8,10 with 2,3,5,6,9 with 1,4,5,8 with 1 with 6 = $40