Stay Lucky Guide: Florida Derby Highlights Tough 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?

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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.

This week’s schedule features five graded stakes from a loaded card at Gulfstream Park, headlined by the $1 million, Grade 1 Xpressbet Florida Derby, one of the most important points races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.

Saturday, March 31

Gulfstream Park Hardacre Mile Stakes (3:13 p.m. ET): This race features an intriguing matchup of top 3-year-olds from 2017 in last year’s Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming (#2) and Wood Memorial Stakes winner Irish War Cry (#4). It also drew Tommy Macho (#5), who is 3-for-5 at Gulfstream and enters off an impressive win at this track and distance on Jan. 27, and hard-knocking veteran Page McKenney (#6), coming off a four-length stakes win at Gulfstream on Feb. 17. Always Dreaming is unbeaten at Gulfstream and probably will go off as a heavy favorite, but he’s tough to endorse with any confidence after closing out 2018 with three straight losses. I’ll take my chances with Irish War Cry.

Honey Fox Stakes (4:47 p.m. ET): On Leave (#10) is a solid play for me, but the outside post with a short run into the first turn is a significant challenge and I respect a couple of opponents near the inside — Lull (#2) and Stormy Victoria (#3) — from the barn of trainer Christophe Clement.

Gulfstream Park Oaks (5:22 p.m. ET): I think I might be 0-fer my lifetime betting Longines Kentucky Oaks prep races, so I’ll steer clear of this race. That said, I suppose I would test the waters with Take Charge Paula (#3) if I didn’t have a streak intact and was looking to get one started.

Pan American Stakes (5:56 p.m. ET): I think you have to go with Sadler’s Joy (#8) here based on how he has performed recently, winning a Grade 1 in the second half of last year, closing out 2017 with a fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, then drilling a hole in the wind in the stretch of the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes to win his season debut and earn a 122 Equibase Speed Figure. He’s very good and in terrific form. On the other hand, Bigger Picture (#7) also is very talented and consistent and Bullards Alley (#2) is capable of a monster effort. There really are no free squares this week. Florida Derby (6:30 p.m. ET): This is a tough race and I think any one of six or seven horses is capable of winning, but I’m on board with Strike Power (#1). He ran a big one when second in his first try stretching out in distance in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes, and I think he got something out of that race. I expect him to challenge Fountain of Youth winner Promises Fulfilled (#4) earlier this time.

San Francisco Mile Stakes (6:45 p.m. ET): With seven horses listed at 10-1 odds or less, no true turf milers in the field, and a tepid 3-1 favorite in a 12-horse grass race, I would not bank a streak of any significance on this race. If you are at zero after a tough weekend, by all means take a shot.

Mike’s Top 2 Stay Lucky Plays

(Five winners from 19 top plays in 2018)

1. Sadler’s Joy (Pan American Stakes)

2. On Leave (Honey Fox Stakes)

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