Cross Country Pick 5 5.28.2022

Cross Country Pick 5 5/28/22


Thought this was a really fun sequence to handicap. Big, deep fields that look extremely competitive. I feel like this is one of those sequences where even if the favorites do oblige that you’re still going to get paid.


Race #1: Churchill Downs Race 8 MSW 1 1/16 Mile on Dirt


This is a race you might want to comb through once scratches and changes are made. There’s some interesting options on the also-eligible list. #10 Pioneering Spirit seems like a very likely winner to kick off the sequence. He’s 3/1 on the ML, but can’t imagine we get much more than 9/5. He has pretty much the 4 fastest races on dirt (albeit two of them on a sloppy course), but if he runs any one of those 4 races he should be right there. The winner two back, Creative Minister, came back and flattered the form with a win on the Derby undercard and a third place finish in the Preakness last week. The other horse that caught my eye was #4 War Campaign. He’s listed at 6/1 on the ML and I think you’ll get every bit of them and some. He’s a half to Royal Mesa (264K earner) and Flash of Mischief (495K earner). He’s raced once at Keeneland in a 6.5 Furlong sprint where he split the two favorites with a second place finish. Phil Sims has only run 4 runners at the meet with 1 winner and two to hit the board. I’m a little afraid of #3 Ridley’s Major here. I’m going to use him defensively. If this race were on turf, I would try to beat him and he’s first time dirt after not getting the money 3 times on turf. However, when you take a deep dive into Chad Brown’s Turf to Dirt for maidens there’s some interesting horses that pop up. 1st off Chad is 21/85 (25%) making this move with a $1.74 ROI. There’s some intriguing names in the sample size that jump off the page that have made this move. Country Grammer (Dubai World Cup winner), Risk Taking (G3 Withers winner), Altaf (Listed stakes winner), Core Conviction, and Southern District. I assume Ricardo Santana is the pilot here hoping to get Ridley’s Major a little bit more into the game here early. To me, those are three main players.


A’s: #3 Ridley’s Major, #4 War Campaign, #10 Pioneering Spirit

C’s: #1 Bon Bueno, #6 G Flat, #12 Scotland Yard


Race #2: Belmont Park Race 8 OC 62K/N2X 1 Mile on Dirt


To me, this is a two and a half horse race. The race centers around #2 Highly Motivated. He kind of has to win this race on Saturday as crazy as that sounds. He was off a year in his return from Keeneland and he didn’t run that badly. He still registered a 90 beyer which is a good stepping stone into the race. The one turn mile at Belmont should hit him square between the eyes. The #1 Sibelius has to go from the rail with the addition of blinkers, #7 Captain Bombastic should be up there attending the pace, as well as #4 Market Alert. So, I don’t think Highly Motivated will be pace compromised and quite frankly with the stretch out, I would expect him to be a little more in the game early. The other horse that is really interesting to me is the #5 Too Boss. He ran a career best 94 beyer last out when finishing less than 2 lengths behind Vindictive. Vindictive finished 2nd in the Pimlico Special last week, but he’s a horse that I think will be a major player in two turn stakes races throughout the summer and fall in New York. Manny Franco is having an incredible meet and is really taking that next big leap into elite rider category. He’s riding at a 24% clip so far at the Belmont meet and he gets the mount here. We’ve had enough runbacks out of the race where the 94 figure stands up strongly. He should be able to sit a tactical trip right outside the pace setters and should get first run if he’s good enough. The other contender in the race is #9 Stage Raider who sits as the second choice at 3-1 on the line. I’ve never really been this horse’s biggest fan. Can he win? Absolutely, but for my money he’s the third likeliest winner. If you pick a part his form, he has one number that sticks out like a sore thumb. He ran a 96 in his second career start going around one turn on a sloppy sealed track. Outside of that race, where’s his race that makes him overly competitive in here? His last race at Keeneland was far and away the second best race he’s ever won. Wasn’t he supposed to win that race though? It was run at a time during the meet where speed was VERY good. I just feel like he should have been able to go by Buck Moon there. Buck Moon would probably be 12-15 to 1 in this race. The last horse to cover in this race that I would like to have somewhere on my ticket is the #3 The Reds. He’s probably not much of a win candidate, but he shows up and runs his race every single time.


A’s: #2 Highly Motivated, #5 Too Boss

B: #9 Stage Raider

C’s: #3 The Reds


Race #3: Belmont Park Race 9 Grade 3 Soaring Softly 7 Furlongs Turf


This race changed completely with the likely scratch of #8 Haughty as he was expected to be a prohibitive favorite in this race. It seems as though Chad worked Haughty on turf 5/27 and is looking to run her in a different spot. #9 Derryanne probably takes on the role of favoritism with the scratch of Haughty in what now becomes a really wide open race. She ran huge last out off the layoff at Keeneland going 5.5 furlongs on the turf. It’s rare to criticize Joel Rosario too much in turf sprint races, but maybe he was just a little too patient waiting on a spot to run in the stretch. Regardless, the race held together and she was flying at the end. The concern now is A. Can she get the 7 furlongs? And B. Is she going to still have that potent kick going the 7 furlongs? I feel like the distance shouldn’t be a problem, but the kick won’t be as potent. #12 Chardy Party is an extremely interesting horse in this race and quite frankly might be the most intriguing runner to run at Belmont on Saturday. She looked as though she would be LUCKY to hit the board in mid stretch in her debut at Keeneland. However, she found another gear and blew by the field to win by nearly a length. The field she faced that date wasn’t anything special, but the “eye test” was extremely impressive and the figure came back solid enough. #10 Sail By is one that is very interesting to me. She’ll be my top pick in the race at a generous 15/1 on the morning line. She’s light on figs, but last out she finished 3rd beaten a few lengths to two very good horses in Consumer Spending and Pizza Bianca. She’s shown versatility to be able to go to the front or sit right off the pace. She’s also turning back in distance in a race where a lot of horses are stretching out in distance.  Lastly, there’s not a lot of speed on paper so from an outside post Jose Lezcano can get his position going forward and either going to the front or sit right off if someone else is intent on going to the lead. I would want to have both #2 Breeze Easy and #7 Wonka somewhere in there as backups. Breeze easy is first time in the US and while his Timeform Rating numbers aren’t bad, he would still need to take a step forward to win this kind of race. #7 Wonka shouldn’t be far off the pace and is coming off a maiden score at GP that has already produced multiple horses that have broken their maiden out of the race.


A’s: #9 Derryanne, #12 Chardy Party, #10 Sail By

C’s: #2 Breeze Easy, #7 Wonka


Race #4: Churchill Downs Race 10 Keertana 1 1/2  Mile on Turf


I thought this one would come down to one of the three favorites on the morning line. #2 Disappearing Act is my top pick at 4/1 on the line. I thought each of her last two races were very good. Two back, she was just beaten by Neige Blanche who took the G3 Santa Barbara two weeks ago. Last out, I liked how tactical she was behind a slow pace being able to be positioned perfectly and won going away. If you look at her PPs, she’s 2 for 4 at distances of 1 1/4 miles or longer and just 1 for 10 in distances shorter than 1 1/4 miles. #7 Temple City Terror won this race last year and sits at 3/1 on the morning line. Temple City Terror quite honestly might have run the best race of her career at Saratoga last year when she finished a few lengths back of the uber talented War Like Goddess. Temple City Terror as a favorite isn’t a horse I’m running to the windows to bet, but she’s a consistent hard knocker that has to be used primarily on your tickets. The last of the three horses I’m using here is the #8 Luck Money. She’s arguably kept the best company of anyone in the field. Her last 9 races have all been in stakes races. Her last race at Belmont you can completely throw out as that was more on a “heavy” course than a “soft” course. The blinkers are coming on for the 1st time in her 18 start career, so I expect her to be a little closer than normal to the pace. I would be pretty surprised if one of these 3 horses doesn’t end up the winner of this race.


A’s: #2 Disappearing Act, #8 Luck Money

B: #7 Temple City Terror


Race #5: Churchill Downs Race 11 Allowance 6 furlongs on Dirt


How are we going to get paid? This did not come up a particularly strong race for the level. Usually, especially this time of year, an allowance race for 3 year olds sprinting on the dirt has at least ONE stakes caliber type horse in the field. The race kind of goes through #2 Ari Oakley who is your 5/2 morning line favorite. It took her 5 starts to break her maiden for a potent trainer like Steve Asmussen. That’s cause for pause right there. Last out, she did run a 91 beyer which is 10 points faster than any other horse has run in the field so far. She figures to get the lead in this race and she might just be too good for these. The alternative to me was the #8 Ontheonesandtwos. She was a promising type as a two year old that tailed off as the campaign went on. She came back and ran a pretty big race on Kentucky Oaks undercard day. The horse she lost to was a Steve Asmussen private purchase that had reportedly been working very well. She seems tactical enough where she can lay back if the pace is hot or be able to sit close off the front runners if the pace isn’t overly fast. She’s second off the layoff and any slight jump from her last start puts her right there. A couple of deep backups are the #5 Pipeline Girl and the #9 Highland Square. #5 Pipeline Girl really only has one race on her card that makes her competitive here, but is getting some class relief after facing some pretty good ones in her last few. #9 Highland Square is a bit of a wild card coming from Turfway Park after just one race where she broke her maiden.


A’s: #2 Ari Oakley, #8 Ontheonesandtwos

C’s: #5 Pipeline Girl, #9 Highland Square


3,4,10   1,6,12
2,5 9 3
9,10,12   2,7
2,8 7  
2,8   5,9


A’s = $1.50 = $108

All A’s and B’s = $.50 = $81

CAAAA = $.50 = $36

ACAAA = $.50 = $18

AACAA = $.50 = $24

AAAAC = $.50 =$36


Total Investment = $303

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