Stay Lucky Guide: Fall Stars Focus on Exciting Weekend


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Stay Lucky offers participants the opportunity to win great prizes by stringing together winners in Thoroughbred races. Unbroken streaks of five, seven, nine, 14, 17 and 20 reward the players with a prize or choice of prizes. Terms and conditions apply.

The object is simple: pick winners from North American graded stakes races that draw at least six entrants. Races will be scored in real time but streaks will be updated only once daily to make sure they are scored in the correct order.

Pick as many races each weekend as you like, but be sure to play at least one race every weekend or your streak will be reset.

Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., takes center stage this weekend. The Lexington track hosts eight “Win and You’re In” races during its Fall Stars weekend, starting with the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes and Grade 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes on Friday. Those races offer automatic berths for the 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint, respectively. On Saturday, Keeneland runs the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Mile); the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (Sentient Jet  Breeders' Cup Juvenile); the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes (Filly and Mare Turf); and the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint). And then on Sunday, Keeneland features the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff) and the Grade 2 Dixiana Bourbon Stakes (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf).

Four Challenge Series races will be held at Belmont Park on Saturday and Sunday – the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic) and Grade 1 Champagne Stakes (Sentient Jet  Breeders' Cup Juvenile) on Saturday, and the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes (14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies) and the Flower Bowl Stakes (Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf) on Sunday.

Television coverage of Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup as well as the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity and Shadwell Turf Mile will be featured in an NBC Sports broadcast on its parent network from 5-6 p.m. ET. The Juddmonte Spinster Stakes and the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes, both on Sunday, will be broadcast on NBCSN from 5-6 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 6

Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (4:57 p.m. ET): When I first looked at this race, it looked like a pass for me. But after poring over the rest of the races on Friday and Saturday, it’s turned into a tepid play simply because the rest of the races are so tough. Limousine Liberal (#5) has tactical speed, has run well at Keeneland, and enters the race in pretty good form. He ran third behind a pair of elite sprinters in his last start but won three straight before that. Whitmore (#11) worries me a little bit, but it doesn’t get any easier on Saturday.

Darley Alcibiades Stakes (5:30 p.m. ET): With six fillies between 7-2 and 6-1 odds on the morning line and none of the contenders with a win around two turns on the main track, I’ll have to pass here. Kelly’s Humor (#7) looks like the class of the field, but it’s tough for closers to win at Keeneland going 1 1/16 miles because at that distance the finish line is moved to the sixteenth pole, leaving a short stretch run.

Saturday, Oct. 7

Woodford Stakes Presented by Keeneland Select (3:25 p.m. ET): Mongolian Saturday (#6) really likes Keeneland and he enters off a solid runner-up finish by a half-length to a very nice turf sprinter in Pure Sensation. But there are five or six in here who could win.

Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (4 p.m. ET): Finley’sluckycharm (#4) lost for the first time this year in her most recent start, a runner-up finish by a neck to Paulassilverlining in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga. It’s not an easy test here, but she should get back on track and looks like a solid play this week.

Champagne Stakes (4:13 p.m. ET): I lean toward Enticed (#4) here. He was a debut winner in the slop at three-quarters of a mile at Saratoga. His pedigree suggests he should improve with added distance — by Medaglia d’Oro out of multiple Grade 1 winner It’s Tricky.

First Lady Stakes (4:35 p.m. ET): Dona Bruja (#3) is my pick here, but she’ll be challenged. Dickinson (#6) ran the best race of her career in the spring on the Keeneland turf, Delectation (#2) will make her North American debut off a Group 3 win in Germany, Roca Roja (#4) and Zipessa (#5) are dangerous at their best, and Hawksmoor (#7) won back-to-back graded stakes in the spring-summer.

Hill Prince Stakes (4:48 p.m. ET): This is a wide-open race with six stakes winners and several others who have run very well in graded stakes. Multiple graded stakes winner Frostmourne (#4), Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes winner Bricks and Mortar (#6), recent stakes winner Hieroglyphics (#7), Grade 3 Saranac Stakes and Hall of Fame Stakes runner-up Yoshida (#2), and a few others look to have a shot. Find an easier spot.

Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (5:10 p.m. ET): My pick for the Breeders’ Futurity is Free Drop Billy (#9). I’ve played him in his last two starts when he came up second and his running style doesn’t really suit the 1 1/16-mile setup at Keeneland with the short stretch, but I’m a sucker for punishment so why not. He’s not a Stay Lucky play though.

Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (5:23 p.m. ET): It wouldn’t surprised me if any of these seven horses entered wins the race, but I’ll reluctantly take Keen Ice (#7) because he likes Belmont and he’s proven at the distance.

Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (5:45 p.m. ET): This is the best betting race of the weekend and probably the worst Stay Lucky race. I’ll stray from my usual theory of taking closers on the grass at Keeneland and try the lone speed horse in the race: Heart to Heart (#10).

Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (6 p.m. ET): American Anthem (#4) looks dangerous from the barn of Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, but I think this race comes down to a coin flip between Ransom the Moon (#1) and Roy H (#6). Heads or tails? You make the call.

Sunday, Oct. 8

Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (4:46 p.m. ET): The top two finishers from the Grade 1 Beverly D. StakesDacita (#3) and Grand Jete (#1), respectively — return in the Flower Bowl, where they’ll face imposing European invader Zhukova (#4), who shipped to the U.S. in May and beat males in the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes. Give Dacita a slight edge, but not by much.

Frizette Stakes (4:13p.m. ET): This race is a complete toss for me for Stay Lucky. I’d love to give players a name in case they want to take a shot, but it’s really wide open and I don’t have any strong feelings about any of the contenders.

Dixiana Bourbon Stakes (5:10 p.m. ET): This race drew a full field of 14 horses, plus one also-eligible contender who would draw into the race should another entrant be scratched. Stakes winner Flameaway (#12) and Grade 2 Summer Stakes third-place finisher Admiralty Pier (#13) look like two horses who will draw some attention and I see a lot of upside in Tap Daddy (#3), but this isn’t a great Stay Lucky race with 14 2-year-olds vying for a spot in the Breeders’ Cup. Pass.

L.A. Woman Stakes (5:30 p.m. ET): Unique Bella (#5) returns from a long stretch on the sideline since missing the Longines Kentucky Oaks with a shin injury. She last raced on March 4 when she won the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes by 2 ¼ lengths for her fourth straight win by a combined margin of 28 ¾ lengths. She’s reeled off four straight bullet workouts for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, including a freaky-fast half-mile in :45.60 on Oct. 4 that tells me she’s ready to win coming back in a 6 ½-furlong sprint.

Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (5:45 p.m. ET): This race drew 13 entrants, including the top four finishers from the Grade 3 Locust Grove Stakes and multiple Grade 1-placed Lockdown (#6). With no clear standout, it’s a pass for me.

Ballerina Stakes (7:50 p.m. ET): I lean toward multiple stakes winner Citizen Kitty (#2), but Southern California shipper She’s a Warrior (#5) from the barn of Peter Eurton and Notis the Jewell, who enters off back-to-back stakes wins at Hastings, also have a big chance.

Top 4 Stay Lucky Plays

(Top plays – 31 winners/69 picks)

1. Unique Bella (L.A. Woman Stakes)

2. Dona Bruja (First Lady Stakes )

3. Finley’sluckycharm (Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes)

4. Limousine Liberal (Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes)

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