Stay Lucky Guide: Derby Trail Trio, Big ’Cap Weekend


Welcome to the 2018 Stay Lucky season! You will notice new prizes and smoother performance for the new season, along with presenting sponsor Equestricon!

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve downloaded the app and are ready to start picking winners. If you have not yet downloaded Stay Lucky, what are you waiting for?

Get the iOS version of the app here.

The Android version of the app on Google Play can be downloaded here.

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.

This week’s schedule features plenty of options, highlighted by three Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve prep races and the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap Presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino.

Saturday, March 10

Hillsborough Stakes (4:20 p.m. ET): This is a terrific betting race with each of the 10 entrants owning a stakes win and six graded stakes winners. Off Limits (#2) has won four straight for Chad Brown but she might need a race in her first start since winning the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes on Nov. 26. Daddys Lil Darling (#5) has not raced since winning the Grade 1 American Oaks on Dec. 30 and might be the fastest horse in the race when she’s at her best. I landed on La Coronel (#9), another Grade 1 winner, who finished second on this turf course in the Grade 3 Endeavour Stakes in her first start off a long layoff and should be able to take a step forward. This might be the most interesting race of the entire weekend. It’s a tough race, though, for Stay Lucky purposes.

Triple Bend Handicap (4:30 p.m. ET): Giant Expectations (#3) was cross-enetered in this race and the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap later on the card. He’s a top contender if he goes in this race, but each of the other five runners enters off a win. City of Light (#5) won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes and Malibu runner-up Edwards Going Left (#1) has won three of his last four starts. If speedy Captain Scotty (#6) challenges City of Light early, it would bolster the chances of either Edwards Going Left or Giant Expectations. I’m going to steer clear for now, but I’ll keep an eye on the scratches in this one.

Florida Oaks (4:50 p.m. ET): Like the Hillsborough, this is a terrific betting race with 12 entrants and at least half a dozen, if not more, win contenders. I gave Salsa Bella (#12) the slight edge in her second start in North America for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown after she ran second to Thewayiam in the Grade 3 Sweetest Chant Stakes on Feb. 3. That race looks even better after Thewayiam came back and won the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes impressively last weekend.

Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (5 p.m. ET): This race drew a deep, talented group of eight turf milers, but 2017 champion turf male World Approval (#5) appears to be a cut above the rest. He’s won four straight races, including three Grade 1s, and had an ideal tune-up for this race on Feb. 10 when he won the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes in his first race off a three-month layoff. The top play.

Tom Fool Handicap (5:12 p.m. ET): This looks like a wide-open sprint with no clear standout. Pass.

Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (5:20 p.m. ET): There are a couple of horses cross-entered in this race and the Gotham Stakes because of the possibility of inclement weather in New York. If they wind up here it could change the dynamics a bit, but I think Flameaway (#5) is the best horse in the field. He’s consistently fast; he’s won on dirt, turf, synthetic, fast, and wet tracks; and he has a win on this notoriously tricky main track in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 10. He’s a solid play for me.

San Felipe Stakes (5:30 p.m. ET): This is probably the best Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve prep race so far in 2018 with Grade 1 winners McKinzie (#4) and Bolt d’Oro (#1) two of the three early leaders for the run for the roses. Throw in Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Lombo and runner-up Ayacara along with San Vicente Stakes winner Kanthaka and you have a heck of a race. Check out our San Felipe Cheat Sheet for an in-depth look at the race. I landed on Bolt d’Oro. I still think he has superstar potential.

Honeybee Stakes (5:38 p.m. ET): Amy’s Challenge (#6) is unbeaten in three starts and boasts the best career Equibase Speed Figure in the field, but she’s never run longer than three-quarters of a mile. Red Ruby (#5) comes into this race off a visually impressive 2 ½-length score on this track in the one-mile Martha Washington Stakes. I really like Red Ruby’s chances here.

Gotham Stakes (5:42 p.m. ET): I think there are a couple of entrants who profile as much-better long-term Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve candidates, but cutting back to a one-turn mile should really suit Firenze Fire (#5) and an off (wet) track would probably help his chances. He ran second in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes going 1 1/16 miles around two turns after winning the one-mile Jerome here at Aqueduct.

Santa Anita Handicap Presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino (7:30 p.m. ET): With no true superstars in the older male division, this race figured to be interesting and wide open. That seems to be the case and it doesn’t look like a banner group of horses for what has always been one of racing’s most prestigious stakes. Accelerate (#7) probably will be the favorite off an impressive Grade 2 win in his season debut. I don’t think 1 ¼ miles is ideal for him, but only one horse in the race, Hoppertunity (#5), has a win at this distance. I’m going to exercise caution here.

Mike’s Top 2 Stay Lucky Plays

(Four winners from 13 top plays in 2018)

1. World Approval (Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes)

2. Red Ruby (Honeybee Stakes)

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