May 13, 2021
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Saturday’s all-turf Cross Country Pick 5 features racing action from Belmont Park, Churchill Downs

by Keith McCalmont

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host an all-turf Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, May 15 in partnership with Churchill Downs. 

Live coverage will be available with America’s Day at the Races on FOX Sports. Free Equibase past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 sequence are now available for download at https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/cross-country-wagers.

The sequence kicks off at beautiful Belmont Park in Race 8 at 4:50 p.m. Eastern as a loaded field of New York-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up look to graduate in a 1 1/16-mile test on the Widener turf course. Trainer Jorge Abreu will saddle a pair of top contenders in second-time starter Acushla and debutante Dixie Kitten.

Chris Larsen’s Acushla debuted with a closing fourth traveling 1 1/16-miles on the Big A turf on December 11 in a state-bred maiden special weight. Racing from last-of-12 and 13 lengths back, the Tiznow bay rallied to finish fourth, defeated 3 1/2-lengths by Mendham. Bloodlines Racing Partnerships’ Dixie Kitten, a dark bay daughter of Kitten’s Joy, wintered at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida before shipping to New York where she has breezed three times at Belmont Park. Manny Franco has the call aboard Acushla from post 6, while Dixie Kitten will exit post 7 under Jose Lezcano.

Action switches to Churchill Downs in Race 9 [4:55 p.m.] for a 5 ½-furlong allowance optional claiming sprint featuring an overflow field of fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. Trainer Mike Maker sends out Foxxy Belle [post 5, Tyler Gaffalione], whose two-race win streak came to an end last out when seventh in the Unbridled Sidney, a Churchill Downs turf sprint on April 29. She will be tested by a talented field that includes Ghosting Kim [post 7, James Graham], riding a two-race win streak in turf sprints; and seven-time winner Lady of Luxury [post 9, Mitchell Murrill].

In Race 10 [5:52 p.m.] from Belmont, a field of 11 sophomore filly turf sprinters will contest at seven furlongs on the Widener turf in the Grade 3, $100,000 Soaring Softly. The Christophe Clement-trained duo of Hit the Woah [post 5, Junior Alvarado] and Bye Bye [post 11, Eric Cancel], will look to fend off the accomplished multiple stakes winner Tobys Heart [post 6, Manny Franco] for trainer Brian Lynch.

In the penultimate leg, the Grade 3 Louisville [Race 11, 5:58 p.m.] at 12 furlongs on the Churchill Downs turf, a field of 14 older horses is led by the Brad Cox-trained multiple graded stakes winner Arklow. The 7-year-old son of Arch, who captured the 2019 Grade 1 Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont, has banked in excess of $2.6 million and will make his seasonal debut out of post 10 under Florent Geroux.

Closing out the sequence in Race 11[ 6:22 p.m.] at Belmont Park is a field of 10 state-bred maiden claimers sprinting six furlongs on the inner turf. Panster [post 9, Junior Alvarado], a first-time gelding trained by Clement, looms large on the drop after facing state-bred maiden special weight company in his first three starts. Accomplished turf rider Jose Lezcano retains the mount on Tempesta for his seasonal debut from post 10.

The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on ADW platforms and at simulcast facilities across the country. Every week will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool. The Cross Country Pick 5 will continue each Saturday throughout the year. For more information, visit NYRABets.com.

Cross Country Pick 5 - Saturday, May 15:

Leg A: Belmont Park-Race 8 (4:50 p.m.)

Leg B: Churchill Downs-Race 9 (4:55 p.m.)

Leg C: Belmont Park- Race 10, Grade 3 Soaring Softly (5:52 p.m.)

Leg D: Churchill Downs-Race 11, Grade 3 Louisville (5:58 p.m.)

Leg E: Belmont Park-Race 11 (6:22 p.m.)

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