Stay Lucky Weekly Guide: Three Plays for Tough Week

Fans soak in the racing action at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes day in 2016. (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.

Let’s take a look at this week's contest races and how to approach them (numbers listed correspond to game play, not program number).


Connaught Cup Stakes (4:52 p.m. ET): Glenville Gardens (#7) excels on the Woodbine turf and is very good at this distance. At his best, he looks like the most likely winner here. One caveat: this is his first race since Nov. 6, so I understand if you’re not eager to hitch your winning streak to a gelding who has not raced in nearly seven months.

Aristides Stakes (5:21 p.m. ET): Churchill Downs’ expert Joe Kristufek made Schivarelli (#7) his top play. He’s one of the best handicappers around, so feel free to climb on board. Limousine Liberal (#8) also is very good at Churchill and at this distance, but I landed on Union Jackson (#3). He looks like the speed of the speed in this race. I think he gets to the front and takes them from start to finish. He’s 4-for-8 at this distance and his best race to date came at Churchill Downs.

Pennine Ridge Stakes (5:45 p.m. ET): This is a very good race. I have a ton of respect for 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Oscar Performance (#6), Ticonderoga (#7) has always been a personal favorite of mine and I think Secretary At War (#8) is a 3-year-old on the rise. But Good Samaritan (#9) looks to me like the best bet of the weekend. He as consistent as they come and should be poised to take a step forward off a second-place finish in his 2017 debut in May for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Eatontown Stakes (6 p.m. ET): With a full field of 14 horses entered, including Grade 1 winner Time and Motion (#13) among nine stakes winners, for Stay Lucky purposes I’m steering clear of this race. That said, this is a terrific betting race. I’m going to try Light In Paris (#12) coming off a nice win for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown.

Shoemaker Mile Stakes (7 p.m. ET): There are a couple of classy speed horses in this race — Heart to Heart (#1) and What a View (#2) — drawn next to each other on the inside, which should ensure a fast pace. I think that sets it up nicely for a closer. Free Rose (#5) really came on in the second half of 2016 and could improve as a 4-year-old, Bolo (#7) is capable of huge efforts and Farhaan (#4) looks like another headed in the right direction. I landed on Bal a Bali (#3), who is 7-for-11 at this one-mile distance and recorded his career-best 120 Equibase Speed Figure at Santa Anita. Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella will have him ready and Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith will give him every chance to win.

Penn Mile Stakes (7:45 p.m. ET): Big Score (#8) looks like the class of the field. He’s a graded stakes winner who held his own in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year and enters off a solid season debut when second in an April stakes race at Aqueduct. That said, I really like Time to Travel’s (#3) chances to run a big one in his first race on the grass. Bronson (#1) and Frostmourne (#10) also look like very promising 3-year-olds, so Big Score was bumped out of my top two this week.


Hendrie Stakes (4:55 p.m. ET): This group looks well matched without a clear standout. Graham Motion sends Miss Ella (#8) up from his Fair Hill Training Center base to make her first start on a synthetic surface. She’s a graded stakes winner sprinting on the grass, she’s won four times on the main track and she trains on a synthetic surface at Fair Hill, so the surface switch shouldn’t be an issue. I give her a slight edge on class and she’s been first or second in her last four races, so she’s also consistent.

Top 3 Stay Lucky Plays

(Top plays – 9 winners/13 starters)

1. Good Samaritan (Pennine Ridge S.)

2. Glenville Gardens (Connaught Cup S.)

3. Union Jackson (Aristides S.)

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