by Ryan Martin
The New York Racing Association will host an all-stakes Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday featuring racing action from Aqueduct Racetrack and Churchill Downs.
In contrast to previous years when the Cross Country Pick 5 wager ended in October, November features 12 Cross Country Pick 5 wagers from Aqueduct Racetrack and Churchill. The wager will be offered Friday, Saturday and conclude on Sunday, November 29, which is closing day of Churchill’s fall meet.
Live coverage will be available with America’s Day at the Races on FOX Sports and MSG Networks. Free Equibase past performances for all Cross Country Pick 5 sequences will be available for download at https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/cross-country-wagers.
Saturday’s all-stakes sequence kicks off with the $100,000 Central Park for juveniles going 1 1/16 miles over the inner turf, where Repole Stable’s impressive first-out winner Never Surprised will vie for stakes supremacy against nine others, including Hard Love who also won his career debut. Laurel Futurity winner Catman will hope to make amends from an eighth-place finish in Belmont Park’s Awad for trainer Mike Maker. Carded as Race 7 on Aqueduct’s 10-race program, the Central Park has a scheduled post time of 2:44 p.m.
Oak Bluff Stables’ eight-time stakes winning New York-bred Therapist seeks to add to his lengthy resume in the $100,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship [Race 9, 3:44 p.m.] and cuts back to six furlongs after scoring in the one-mile Artie Schiller on November 14 for trainer and co-breeder Christophe Clement. Multiple graded stakes winner El Tormenta will seek his first triumph since an upset win in last year’s Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, while multiple-graded stakes winner True Valour will seek two straight victories for trainer Graham Motion after an allowance score on November 14 over the all-weather surface at Woodbine.
In the middle leg of the sequence, a dozen fillies and mares, plus one also eligible entrant, will face an endurance test in the Grade 3, $100,000 Long Island. Clement brings a strong three-horse punch to the 11-furlong event over Aqueduct’s inner turf, including Al Shira’aa Farms’ Mutamakina, who makes her second start in North America after a game third-place finish in the Zagora on October 31 over a yielding Widener turf course at Belmont Park. Clement also will saddle three-time winner Traipsing and multiple stakes-placed Wegetsdamunnys.
Trainer Chad Brown sends out Peter Brant’s Eliade after making her fourth start in North America a winning one, when the daughter of Teofilo scored a narrow victory against winners going 1 ½ miles over the Keeneland lawn. Carded as the Saturday finale, the Long Island has a scheduled post time of 4:13 p.m.
Action shifts to Churchill Downs for the remaining two legs of the sequence, starting with the Grade 2, $200,000 Golden Rod for juvenile fillies going 1 1/16 miles over the main track. The 10-4-2-1 qualifier for the 2021 Kentucky Oaks features Grade 1-winner Simply Ravishing, who was a last out fourth to Vequist in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies for trainer Kenny McPeek.
The daughter of freshman stallion Laoban will face off against Stonestreet Stables’ promising Clairiere, who made her career debut a winning one for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen going the Golden Rod distance on October 25 at Churchill Downs. The regally bred daughter of Curlin is out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Bernardini mare Cavorting. Post time for the Golden Rod [Race 9] is 4:57 p.m.
Closing out the sequence is the Golden Rod’s male counterpart race – the Grade 2, $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club which drew a field of eight juvenile colts. Trainer Dale Romans will saddle three contenders in the race, led by Albaugh Family Stables’ Sittin On Go, who was an upset winner of the Grade 3 Iroquois on September 5 at the Louisville oval. Romans will also saddle Smiley Sobotka, a last out maiden winner at second asking, and Ultimate Badger, who defeated winners going two turns last out on October 25 at Churchill Downs.
After finishing third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Keepmeinmind will seek his first trip to the winner’s circle for trainer Robertino Diodoro. The son of Laoban was made the 6-5 morning line favorite for the 10-4-2-1 qualifier for the Kentucky Derby, which has a scheduled post time of 5:56 p.m.
The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Every day will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool.
The 2020 fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack kicked off on Friday, November 6 and continues through Sunday, December 6. Highlighted by the 32nd renewal of the Grade 1, $250,000 Cigar Mile on Saturday, December 5, the 18-day fall meet at Aqueduct features 29 stakes, including 11 graded events, worth $3.41 in purses.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the 18-day fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
Cross Country Pick 5 – Saturday, November 28:
Leg A: Aqueduct-Race 7 (2:44 pm) $100K Central Park
Leg B: Aqueduct-Race 9 (3:44 pm) $100K Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship
Leg C: Aqueduct-Race 10 (4:13 pm) G3 $100K Long Island
Leg D: Churchill-Race 9 (4:57 pm) G2 $200K Golden Rod
Leg E: Churchill-Race 11 (5:56 pm) G2 $200K Kentucky Jockey Club