Stay Lucky Weekly Guide: Arrogate Invades Del Mar

Horses warm up in the paddock before a race at Del Mar, which on Saturday will host Arrogate for the TVG San Diego Handicap. (Eclipse Sportswire)

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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.

Del Mar and Saratoga Race Course opened this week and the two tracks account for most of the contest races, including the return of champion Arrogate in the Grade 2 TVG San Diego Handicap. Let’s pick some winners!

Friday, July 21

Schuylerville Stakes (5:02 p.m. ET): Risking anything of substance on 2-year-old fillies as they stretch out in distance is a dicey proposition. I like trainer Mark Casse’s debut winner Snowfire (#8) in this spot, but Buy Sell Hold (#2) is fast and dangerous for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen as is his second entrant Laudation (#7). Stainless (#9) looks like a quality prospect for trainer Todd Pletcher and Dream It Is (#4) is an unbeaten stakes winner by 2011 Preakness victor Shackleford who is trying dirt for the first time. Tough race for Stay Lucky purposes.

Lake George Stakes (5:40 p.m. ET): Any one of five or six fillies could win this race, which means I’ll probably donate some money through the betting windows but avoid for Stay Lucky purposes. Defiant Honor (#3) could be tough if she is left loose on the lead.

Saturday, July 22

Ontario Matron Stakes (4:47 p.m. ET): I loved handicapping the synthetic Polytrack surface at Keenealnd, but one thing the last few weeks of Stay Lucky has taught me is that either that didn’t translate north to Woodbine or I’m just rusty. If you want to play Minks Aprise (#10) here, I wouldn’t try to stop you …

Sanford Stakes (5:40 p.m. ET): I loved the way Free Drop Billy (#4) won his career debut despite trouble early with a visually impressive rally. He’s bred to go longer and there is plenty of pace in this race to set up his closing kick. I’m all in on this half-brother to 2016 European Group 1 winner Hawkbill.

Diana Stakes (6:18 p.m. ET): Lady Eli (#3) is the obvious pick here. She’s the class of this field, she’s 2-for-2 at this distance and she enters this race off a Grade 1 win that showed she was back to her best. Exercise a little caution here, however, because Antonoe (#2) is a formidable Juddmonte filly on the rise, Dickinson (#6) is a serious racemare and I think Quidura (#4) is poised to run a big one. The point is: Lady Eli isn’t facing cupcakes in this Grade 1 race.

Eddie Read Stakes (6:40 p.m. ET): Tough to look past Ashleyluvssugar (#6) in here. Most weeks, the 6-year-old gelding would be my top play but this week he rates a fairly distant second thanks only to Arrogate (see below). This 1 1/8-mile distance appears to be his best.

TVG San Diego Handicap (9:10 p.m. ET): I’m stunned they lured five horses to face Arrogate (#3), the world’s top-ranked racehorse. They are all running for second. Arrogate is a free square this week.

Sunday, July 23

Coaching Club American Oaks (6:18 p.m. ET): Abel Tasman (#2) has won five of eight career starts, including five wins and two seconds in her last seven races. She’s posted clear wins in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Acorn Stakes in her last two races and figures to be a heavy favorite for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Just remember, they call Saratoga the “Graveyard of Champions/Favorites” for a reason and the runners-up in the Kentucky Oaks and Acorn, Daddys Lil Darling (#3) and Salty (#7), respectively, look dangerous. I still like Abel Tasman, but I’m hedging a little and making her the last of my top five picks.

San Clemente Handicap (8:10 p.m. ET): Grade 1 winner Noted and Quoted (#1) making her turf debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert after a pair of bullet workouts on the turf scares me a bit, but you have to give the edge to undefeated Sircat Sally (#7), who will try to extend her unbeaten streak to eight. I do think this is her toughest challenge to date, but she’s 4-for-4 at this distance.

Top 5 Stay Lucky Plays

(Top plays – 16 winners/30 starters)

1. Arrogate (TVG San Diego Handicap)

2. Ashleyluvssugar (Eddie Read Stakes)

3. Lady Eli (Diana Stakes)

4. Free Drop Billy (Sanford Stakes)

5. Abel Tasman (Coaching Club American Oaks)

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