by New York Racing Association Press Release
March 5, 2020
OZONE PARK, NY - The New York Racing Association will host an all sophomore stakes Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday highlighted by a pair of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks qualifying races with action from Aqueduct Racetrack, Tampa Bay Downs and Oaklawn Park.
The multi-race wager, hosted by NYRA and featuring a 50-cent minimum, will begin with the $200,000 Florida Oaks from Tampa Bay Downs for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 Miles, carded as Race 10 at 4:55 Eastern.
Multiple stakes winner New York Groove will look to remain unbeaten in her fifth career start and first of the season for trainer Mike Trombetta following a 4 ½ length victory in the Glorious Song last November at Woodbine. Outburst, for conditioner Eddie Kenneally, will make her stakes debut and third career start in the Florida Oaks after capturing an allowance race on February 7 at Tampa. Also entered in the 11-horse field is Secure Connection for Hall of Fame conditioner Shug McGaughey, Secret Stash for trainer Mark Casse, and Blame Debbie for Graham Motion.
The action then switches to Aqueduct Racetrack for the $250,000 Busher Invitational. A qualifying race toward the Kentucky Oaks, The Busher offers 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers. Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott entered the highly regarded Lake Avenue for Godolphin. The homebred Tapit filly out of multiple graded stakes winning mare Seventh Street will make her first start of the year following an impressive four-length victory in the Grade 2 Demoiselle on December 7 at Aqueduct.
Challengers among the eight-horse field include Courtlandt Farm's graded stakes placed Maedean for trainer Mark Hennig who finished second in the Demoiselle, Mo City for trainer Michael Stidham who ships up from Tampa following a second-place finish in the Gasparilla on January 18, and Water White for local conditioner Rudy Rodriguez.
The third leg of the sequence is the Grade 2, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby with 50-20-10-5 qualifying points available to the first four finishers towards the Kentucky Derby. Graded-stakes winner Sole Volante for trainer Patrick Biancone, with three wins from four starts, enters following his 2 ½ length win in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis on February 8. Trainer Todd Pletcher entered a trio of contenders in Texas Swing for Harrell Ventures, Market Analysis for China Horse Club and WinStar Farm, and Unrighteous for Calumet Farm. The 12-horse field also includes recent maiden winner Spa City for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and Relentless Dancer and Mo Mosa for conditioner Mike Maker.
The action then shifts to New York for the penultimate leg of the sequence, the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham, the second Kentucky Derby prep in the sequence. Headlining the 11-horse field is graded stakes winner Mischevious Alex for trainer John Servis and Cash Is King and LC Racing. The Into Mischief colt enters the Gotham off a seventh-length win in the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream Park.
Top challengers among the field include Sagamore Farm's Necker Island for trainer Stanley Hough, who will look to improve off a fifth-place finish in the Swale; impressive maiden winner Sixto for Southern Equine Stable and trainer Eric Guillot, and stakes winner Montauk Traffic for owner Chris Fountoukis and trainer Linda Rice.
The sequence concludes with the Grade 3, $300,000 Honeybee for 3-year-old fillies from Oaklawn Park. The Kentucky Oaks qualifying race features a field of nine. Conditioner Ken McPeek will send out a talented pair of runners with graded stakes placed Motu for owners Susan Moulton, David Bernsen and Magdalena Racing and maiden winner Back in Charge for C&H Diamond Racing. Also entered is Alta's Ward for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen for owners Ed and Susie Orr, coming in off an allowance victory at Fair Grounds on February 14. Trainer Jason Servis will saddle stakes placed Fiftyshays Ofgreen for owners Leonard Green and Sean Shay.
The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool.
Cross Country Pick 5 - Saturday, March 7
Leg 1 - Tampa, Race 10: $200,000 Florida Oaks (4:55 p.m.)
Leg 2 - Aqueduct, Race 9: $250,000 Busher Invitational (5:14 p.m.)
Leg 3 - Tampa, Race 11: Grade 3, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (5:32 p.m.)
Leg 4 - Aqueduct, Race 10: Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham (5:42 p.m.)
Leg 5 - Oaklawn Park, Race 9: $300,000 Honeybee (6:09 p.m.)