How to bet Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 on a budget

The New York Racing Association will on Saturday host a Cross Country Pick 5 featuring races from Aqueduct and Oaklawn Park.

Saturday's Pick 5 sequence starts with Race 7 at Aqueduct, a claiming sprint for New York-breds at 4:57 p.m., and then consists of all stakes races at Oaklawn.

The Cross Country Pick 5 will have a minimum bet of 50 cents and can be played through NYRA Bets, ADW platforms, on track, and at simulcast facilities across the country.

Once again, I will use one of my favorite cost-effective Pick 5 wagering strategies, the spread ticket formula. It would cost $480 to lump all of my contenders on one ticket, but the spread ticket formula knocks the price down to a much more reasonable $64.

Aqueduct Race 7 (Clm-32k, NY-bred, 6f)

Primary - #3 Who’s Driving, #8 Fleet Warrior 

Secondary -  #1 Thesis, #5 Oh K Funnybone, #7 Trance


Comments - #3 Who’s Driving (9-2) is a Parx shipper with two wins from four outings. He can compete here if he runs back to his $25,000 claiming win on Jan. 14. #8 Fleet Warrior (6-1) exits a decent local maiden win in the slop, and his new trainer Rob Atras is 11-for-23 at Aqueduct. #1 Thesis (7-2) exits back-to-back wins and his numbers are on the rise. He added blinkers and won a local extended sprint in his first start in more than three months Feb. 17. #5 Oh K Funnybone (12-1) earned an improved number in a clear place finish vs. $35,000 claimers on March 1. He was no match for Thesis Feb. 17. #7 Trance (1-1) owns a couple of local sprints wins and cuts back in distance after a solid show finish at one mile. The versatile gelding owns the best overall numbers.   

Oaklawn Park Race 7 (G2 Azeri Stakes, 8.5f)

Primary - #2 Midnight Bisou, #5 Elate

Secondary - #1 Tapa Tapa Tapa, #6 Shamrock Rose

Comments - #2 Midnight Bisou (6-5) is 5-for-5 at this distance, but her Houston Ladies Classic (G3) return was just workmanlike and not visually pleasing or especially fast. She could easily go better in her second start after a layoff but figures to get hammered in the wagering. #5 Elate (8-5) is classy enough to handle these on her best day. This is her first start in more than six months and she probably wants more ground. #1 Tapa Tapa Tapa (10-1) is sharp and has speed -- there's not much pace in paper race -- but must prove that she can run a quality race away from Tampa Bay Downs. #6 Shamrock Rose (6-1) was a flat fourth in her Hurricane Bertie (G3) return Jan. 26, but that race was in the slop. She won four straight to end her 3-year-old season including the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), and she won a pair of all-weather routes as well. She stretches back out and should be forwardly placed. 


Oaklawn Park Race 8 (G2 Rebel Stakes, 8.5f)

Primary - #8 Galilean, #9 Improbable

Secondary - #1 Extra Hope


Comments -  #8 Galilean (3-1) deserves a shot in a Derby points race after dusting California-bred stakes foes in his last pair. He will have to run a tad faster vs. better foes but the $600,000 son of Uncle Mo might be up to the challenge. He should be part of the pace under Flavien Prat. #9 Improbable (3-5) should win this if he is ready to go in his first start of the year. Bob Baffert usually dominates these Derby preps at Oaklawn and a win would be no surprise. He did have to alter his schedule after the San Felipe was canceled last week. He is just getting warmed up at a mile and a sixteenth. #1 Extra Hope (6-1) might have been runner-up in the Los Al Futurity (G1) but Savagery blew the turn and forced him out, and he ended up third behind Improbable and Mucho Gusto. He returned with a big optional claiming route win Jan. 31 and looks ready to rejoin the stakes ranks. A ground saving stalking trip is expected under Mike Smith.

Oaklawn Park Race 9 (Essex Handicap, 8.5f)

Primary - #6 Heavy Roller

Secondary - #2 Hence, #5 Chris and Dave, #8 Giant Expectations

Comments - #6 Heavy Roller (4-1) is the now horse exiting back-to-back local route wins on less that fast footing. He has definitely improved for Joe Sharp and can make it three straight wins from off the pace. He is only 2-for-5 on a wet track and 4-for-18 with nine minor awards on fast dirt, so I do not think that the wet footing moved him up in his last pair. #2 Hence (9-2) will try to get involved late under Mike Smith but wants every bit of nine furlongs and might run out of ground Saturday. #5 Chris and Dave (15-1) elevated his game in his first start after the Villafranco claim in the local mud Feb. 23. He is 4-for-6 on a wet track and 3-for-27 on a fast track. #8 Giant Expectations (5-2) won the San Antonio (G2) at this distance in 2017 but controlled the pace that day and has not won since.  


Oaklawn Park Race 10 (G2 Rebel Stakes, 8.5f)

Primary - #2 Laughing Fox, #5 Game Winner

Secondary - #6 Omaha Beach, #8 Gunmetal Gray

Comments - #2 Laughing Fox (10-1) stretched out and won back-to-back local races on Jan. 25 and Feb. 18. He can stalk or close for Steve Asmussen and can compete here if he moves forward again in his third race after a layoff. His sire Union Rags was one of my favorites and my Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes top choice in 2012. #5 Game Winner (4-5) went 4-for-4 last year with three Grade 1 wins, and Joel Rosario is 3-for-3 aboard the 2-year-old champ. The versatile colt is fresh and should be forwardly placed in his sophomore bow. Just like his stablemate Improbable, he had to alter his schedule after the San Felipe was canceled last week. #6 Omaha Beach (7-2) got over the hump in a romping maiden win on a wet track Feb. 2, and the light bulb has seemingly turned on. He fired a big Los Al bullet for this March 9 and should be forwardly placed under his new rider Mike Smith. #8 Gunmetal Gray (10-1) is the best finisher in the field and will probably land somewhere in the top three. He finished 1-2 in three of his four Derby points races around two turns, and Saturday's rider Flavien Prat guided him to a place finish in the American Pharoah (G1) last year.



 

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