Sophomores in High Stakes Cross Country: Next Generation Dominance

Belmont Park’s Cross Country Pick 5 Extravaganza

Belmont Park is all set to host an exhilarating day of racing with its highly anticipated Cross Country Pick 5. This exciting betting sequence combines Belmont Park’s two Grade 1 races with the highlight of the day at Horseshoe Indianapolis. With a compelling lineup of stakes races, this is an event that racing enthusiasts won’t want to miss.

European Flair in the Belmont Oaks Invitational

The Cross Country Pick 5 kicks off at Belmont Park with the prestigious Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational. This 10-filly field showcases some of the finest 3-year-old talent, with a considerable European influence. Half of the field consists of European invaders who have made the journey across the Atlantic to compete on American soil.

Among the notable contenders is Agartha, a talented filly who achieved success in two group events as a 2-year-old. Although she finished fifth in her recent start, the Group 1 Irish 1,000 Guineas, Agartha commands attention due to her impressive track record. Notably, Aidan O’Brien, renowned as Europe’s top trainer, has a presence in this race with the Group 1-placed Concert Hall. Additionally, Chad Brown, a highly successful American trainer, sends out a trio of formidable contenders: Consumer Spending, McKulick, and Haughty. Consumer Spending, in particular, has shown her prowess by winning four of her last five races, including the Grade 2 Wonder Again.

Battle for Supremacy in the Belmont Derby Invitational

The second leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 takes us to Big Sandy’s flagship event, the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational. This race, designed for 3-year-old colts and geldings, unfolds over a demanding ten furlongs on the turf. As the first race of the NYRA’s Turf Triple Series, the Belmont Derby Invitational carries significant prestige and attracts a field of talented sophomores.

The depth of this race is astounding, making it a thrilling challenge for avid horseplayers. The competition intensifies with the inclusion of European invaders Nations Pride and Stone Age. Nations Pride, trained by Charlie Appleby, had a remarkable four-race winning streak before finishing eighth in the Epsom Derby. Similarly, O’Brien’s Stone Age had a two-race win streak snapped with a sixth-place finish in the Epsom Derby.

Trainer Todd Pletcher adds to the excitement with graded stakes winners Grand Sonata and Emmanuel. Grand Sonata, coming off a third-place finish in the Audubon at Churchill Downs, and Emmanuel, who successfully transitioned to turf in the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge, have proven their mettle. Kenny McPeek also enters the fray with Kentucky Derby expats Tiz the Bomb and Classic Causeway, the latter making his turf debut.

Indianapolis Takes Center Stage

After Belmont Park’s contributions, the Cross Country Pick 5 shifts its focus to Indianapolis for the final three legs. The Jonathan B. Schuster Memorial, a 1 1/16-mile turf test, serves as the third leg of this thrilling sequence. With a competitive field of twelve contenders and two also-eligibles, this race promises to deliver exhilarating action.

One of the standout horses in this leg is Grade 1 winner Ivar, who returns to the racetrack after a seven-month hiatus. The last time we saw Ivar was in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, where he finished seventh. If you’re seeking a fresher contender, watch out for Somelikeithotbrown. This six-year-old multiple-graded stakes winner comes off a fifth-place finish in the Black-Type Kingston Stakes at Belmont Park in late May, displaying consistency and talent throughout his career.

The penultimate leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 features the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks, a captivating race for three-year-old fillies. Eight talented contenders take on the challenge of navigating 1 1/16 miles. Brad Cox, a highly respected trainer, has two strong representatives in Interstatedaydream and Patna. Interstatedaydream arrives off an impressive victory in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan held during Preakness weekend at Pimlico, while Patna looks to make a statement in her stakes debut following a convincing win in a first-level Churchill Downs allowance race.

The grand finale of the Cross Country Pick 5 is the Grade 3 Indiana Derby, where the return of Grade 2 Rebel Stakes winner Un Ojo is highly anticipated. This one-eyed gelding, out of action since a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby, joins new trainer Robertino Diodoro for his comeback. Un Ojo will face stiff competition from Todd Pletcher’s Best Actor, a promising undefeated colt aiming for his third consecutive victory, and Rattle N Roll, a Grade 1 winner who triumphed in the American Derby just a week ago.

The Cross Country Pick 5 Schedule

Race Track Time (ET)
Leg A Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) 4:06 p.m.
Leg B Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) 5:12 p.m.
Leg C Schuster Memorial 5:22 p.m.
Leg D Indiana Oaks (G3) 6:05 p.m.
Leg E Indiana Derby (G3) 6:40 p.m.

The Cross Country Pick 5 offers a thrilling betting opportunity with its 50-cent minimum and 15% takeout, ensuring exciting potential returns for lucky bettors. To aid in your handicapping endeavors, Equibase past performances for the races are readily accessible.


The Belmont Park Cross Country Pick 5 presents a captivating array of races that will undoubtedly leave racing enthusiasts on the edge of their seats. From the European influence in the Belmont Oaks Invitational to the highly competitive fields in the Belmont Derby Invitational and the legs at Horseshoe Indianapolis, this betting sequence promises excitement, drama, and the potential for substantial rewards. Place your bets, buckle up, and get ready for an exhilarating ride through some of the finest racing action the summer season has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the minimum bet for the Cross Country Pick 5?

The minimum bet for the Cross Country Pick 5 is 50 cents, allowing bettors to engage in this thrilling betting sequence without breaking the bank.

2. What is the takeout for the Cross Country Pick 5?

The Cross Country Pick 5 has a takeout of 15%. This ensures that a significant portion of the betting pool is distributed back to the winners, making it an attractive wagering option with the potential for lucrative returns.

3. How can I access the Equibase past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 races?

Equibase past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 races can be easily accessed through the respective racetracks’ official websites or through reliable online platforms dedicated to providing comprehensive racing information.

4. Are there any standout contenders to watch for in the Cross Country Pick 5?

Yes, several standout contenders deserve attention in the Cross Country Pick 5. Look out for Agartha and Consumer Spending in the Belmont Oaks Invitational, Nations Pride and Stone Age in the Belmont Derby Invitational, Ivar and Somelikeithotbrown in the Schuster Memorial, and Interstatedaydream and Patna in the Indiana Oaks. Additionally, the return of Un Ojo in the Indiana Derby adds to the excitement.

5. Which trainers have a notable presence in the Cross Country Pick 5?

Trainers Aidan O’Brien, Chad Brown, Brad Cox, and Todd Pletcher have a significant presence in the Cross Country Pick 5. With their proven track records and ability to prepare competitive horses, their entries add to the depth and excitement of the races.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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