Breaking the Monopoly: Challenging Belmont Park’s Cross Country Pick 5 Dominance

The Cross Country Pick 5: A Day of Graded Stakes Racing at Belmont Park

The New York Racing Association is set to host an exciting day of graded stakes racing at Belmont Park’s Man o’ War Day. This much-anticipated event features five highly competitive races, all of which are graded stakes events. With a total of 11 races on the Saturday card, Belmont Park takes center stage in the North American racing universe during the weekend between the Kentucky Derby and the upcoming Preakness Stakes.

Race 1: The Vagrancy Stakes

Kicking off the Cross Country Pick 5 is the Grade 3 Vagrancy Stakes, a thrilling 6 1/2-furlong sprint on the main track for fillies and mares aged 4 and up. The standout contender in this race is Bella Sofia, a talented filly who captured the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga last summer. Making her 2022 debut, Bella Sofia aims to shine just as brightly after finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Del Mar last year. However, she will face strong competition from Miss Brazil, who seeks her first graded stakes victory after a recent allowance win.

Race 2: The Runhappy Stakes

The second leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 features the Grade 3 Runhappy Stakes, a six-furlong race where three Aqueduct stakes winners headline the field. Officiating, the Grade 3 Tom Fool winner, will face off against Drafted, the Grade 3 Toboggan winner. Both will have to contend with Chateau, who finished second to Officiating in the Tom Fool and won the Gravesend stakes in December. This promises to be a showdown among these talented sprinters, with each looking to assert their dominance.

Race 3: The Man o’ War Stakes

The centerpiece of the Cross Country Pick 5 is the prestigious Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes. Run over 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf, this race brings back the Eclipse Award-winning Yibir to the US for the first time since his Breeders’ Cup Turf triumph. Yibir, familiar with Belmont Park’s turf course, won the Jockey Club Derby before securing his Breeders’ Cup victory. Another contender to watch is Gufo, who finished just a nose behind Channel Cat in last year’s Man o’ War. An experienced turf runner, Gufo seeks redemption after a disappointing 10th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Race 4: The Peter Pan Stakes

The fourth leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 is the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes, a crucial race serving as a local prep for the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. This 1 1/8-mile race is expected to be highly competitive, with Western River and Rodolphe Brisset stablemate We the People among the top contenders. Western River, a Tapit progeny and full brother to 2016 Belmont Stakes winner Creator, makes his graded stakes debut after a promising maiden-breaking performance at Oaklawn Park. We the People looks to bounce back from a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Arkansas Derby and compete for victory. Todd Pletcher-trained Complete Agenda adds further intrigue to the race.

Race 5: The Beaugay Stakes

The final leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 is the Grade 3 Beaugay Stakes, a thrilling 1 1/16-mile turf test for older fillies and mares. The race features Group 1 winner Rougir, making her debut for renowned trainer Chad Brown. Rougir’s previous triumph in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera showcases her talent, although her last outing resulted in a distant seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Also in contention is stablemate Lemista, the runner-up in last year’s Beaugay Stakes. After a nine-month layoff since her third-place finish in the Grade 1 Beverly D at Arlington Park, Lemista looks to make a strong comeback in this race.

In Conclusion

The Cross Country Pick 5 at Belmont Park’s Man o’ War Day promises a day filled with thrilling graded stakes racing. From the sprinting excitement of the Vagrancy Stakes to the turf battles in races like the Man o’ War Stakes, each leg offers intense competition among top-notch horses. The Peter Pan Stakes serves as a critical stepping stone towards the highly anticipated Belmont Stakes, while the Beaugay Stakes brings the excitement of turf racing to a fitting close. With a minimum bet of just 50 cents and available on various platforms, the Cross Country Pick 5 provides an opportunity for both seasoned bettors and casual fans to engage in the excitement of this action-packed racecard.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How can I participate in the Cross Country Pick 5?

To participate in the Cross Country Pick 5, you can place your bets on ADW platforms or at simulcast facilities across the country. With a minimum bet of 50 cents and a 15% takeout, it offers an accessible and exciting wagering opportunity for racing enthusiasts.

2. Which race is the highlight of the Cross Country Pick 5?

The centerpiece of the Cross Country Pick 5 is the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes. This prestigious race is run over 1 3/8 miles on the turf and attracts top-class horses seeking glory and recognition in the world of thoroughbred racing.

3. What is the significance of the Peter Pan Stakes?

The Peter Pan Stakes holds great importance as a local prep race for the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. Many Belmont Stakes contenders use the Peter Pan as a stepping stone to the third jewel of the Triple Crown, making it an exciting and closely watched event.

4. Can you provide past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 races?

Equibase offers free past performances for all Cross Country Pick 5 races. You can access these past performances to gain valuable insights and information about the horses competing in each leg of the wager.

5. Are there any standout contenders in the Beaugay Stakes?

The Beaugay Stakes features Group 1 winner Rougir, who recently joined the Chad Brown stable. Rougir’s past success and the expertise of her new trainer make her a notable contender in this turf test. Keep an eye on stablemate Lemista, who showed promise with a runner-up finish in last year’s Beaugay Stakes.

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Doug I. Jones

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