A Classy Champion, 1989 Belmont Stakes Winner Easy Goer
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.
Make no mistake, this weekend's card is anchored by three Kentucky Derby prep races — the $1 million, Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park; the $1 million; the Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Course, and the $750,000, Grade 2 Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct — but with 16 Stay Lucky races on Friday and Saturday and plenty of solid favorites, it's a great opportunity to build your streak.
Friday, April 6
Distaff Handicap (5:17 p.m. ET): Divine Miss Grey (#4) has won three in a row at Aqueduct by open lengths. This is her second try in a graded stakes after finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Longines Test Stakes last August, but she looks better prepared for the jump in class this time.
Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes (5:30 p.m. ET): Analyze It (#12) was simply dominant in two starts as a 2-year-old, including a 4 ¼-length romp in the Grade 3 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes at Del Mar. He makes his 3-year-old debut here for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown and looks like the one to beat.
Saturday, April 7
Gazelle Stakes (3:38 p.m. ET): Midnight Disguise (#3) easily handled her top two challengers in the race when she won the Busher Stakes by open lengths on March 3. She also has a won on this track at this distance back in January, so the 1 1/8 miles shouldn’t be a problem.
Commonwealth Stakes (4 p.m. ET): This is a tough race. My instinct is to ride with Limousine Liberal (#6) in here — he’s the fastest in the field, he performs well at this distance, and he’s done well at Keeneland. Conquest Windycity (#5) is another talented challenger who comes off a career-best race at this distance and the regally bred Westwood (#3) has gotten very good, very quickly in his last four starts.
Excelsior Stakes (4:11 p.m. ET): Control Group (#7) has five wins and one second at this 1 1/8-mile distance and has won three straight. He could control the tempo and lead from start to finish, but he’s not a need-the-lead type who loses all chance if another horse beats him out of the starting gate. He’s won from just off the pace as well.
Providencia Stakes (4:30 p.m. ET): This looks like a classic coin flip between Ms Bad Behavior (#5), fresh off a win in the China Doll Stakes, and Paved (#4) coming off a win over males on the synthetic main track at Golden Gate Fields in the El Camino Real Derby. The third-place finisher of the El Camino Real Derby came back to win the Jeff Ruby Steaks on the Kentucky Derby trail, so I’m a believer in Paved’s class. She’s the pick.
Shakertown Stakes (4:35 p.m. ET): A full field for a turf sprint means tough navigating for Stay Lucky purposes. If your pick starts a step slowly, you could be done. There are at least five or six with a good shot to win, but Disco Partner (#13) probably will go off as the favorite in his first start since finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Coming off the long layoff, I’ll look elsewhere.
Carter Handicap (4:44 p.m. ET): This race came up softer than I expected. It’s not an elite bunch and from a class perspective, Awesome Slew (#11) has a significant advantage. He also pretty adaptable to wet track conditions if the track comes up muddy or sloppy. His last race — third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile — would be more than enough to win here.
Madison Stakes (5:10 p.m. ET): This field came up very strong. I loved Miss Sunset’s (#8) win at this track and distance last year in the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes and she enters off back-to-back dominant wins. American Gal (#11) is a huge talent but she races very infrequently, and Ami’s Mesa (#10) was last seen finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in her first try on dirt. Finley’sluckycharm (#12) won four of six starts last season, including a graded stakes race at Keeneland … so all of that to say be sure to watch this race, but look elsewhere for a Stay Lucky play.
Bay Shore Stakes (5:17 p.m. ET): This race drew seven 3-year-olds, six of which won their most recent start and three of those six have won two straight. I like National Flag’s (#4) chances in here, but it’s really anyone’s race.
Central Bank Ashland Stakes (5:45 p.m. ET): With four wins and a second in five starts, Monomoy Girl (#1) looks to me like the Longines Kentucky Oaks favorite. I think she is much the best in here.
Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (5:55 p.m. ET): I really wanted to play against Enticed (#5), the 6-5 favorite on the morning line, in the Wood Memorial, but it’s tough to make a compelling case for the others. Maybe Restoring Hope (#8) shipping in for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert off a win in a maiden race in California has a chance for the upset, or perhaps this is the spot for a breakout from Vino Rosso (#9) for trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won four of the last eight editions of the Wood Memorial. Yep, I’m going with Vino Rosso, or maybe Restoring Hope.
Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (6:23 p.m. ET): Champion Good Magic (#11) figures to be a popular pick this week, and he is eligible to a take a step forward off a third-place finish in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes in his season debut. He’ll be the favorite, but I’m inclined to try and beat him in this race, so I’ll look for easier Stay Lucky spots.
Santa Anita Derby (6:30 p.m. ET): How Justify (#6) was made the morning-line favorite over multiple Grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro (#3) is beyond me — I guess the Justify hype train has left the station — but I think Bolt d’Oro proves much the best in this race and cements his status as the favorite for the Kentucky Derby.
Royal Heroine Stakes (7 p.m. ET): Enola Gray (#6) is probably the class of the field, but there could be significant pace pressure early and she’s coming off a long layoff of nine months. It’s tough to expect her to run huge off that long of a layoff and there are some quality challengers. Pass.
Santa Anita Oaks (7:30 p.m. ET): Midnight Bisou (#3) looks like the best of the California-based Longines Kentucky Oaks contenders. I think she handles this group with ease.
Sunday, April 8
Beaumont Stakes Presented by Keeneland Select (4:24 p.m. ET): There look like at least four and maybe five strong win candidates here, which makes it a pass for Stay Lucky purposes, but I’ll be placing a small wager on Dream It Is (#3).
Tokyo City Cup Stakes (4:30 p.m. ET): This field came up exceptionally soft and it looks like Hoppertunity (#3) should halt a four-race winless stretch against a very weak group.
Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association (4:57 p.m. ET): This race came up pretty strong as turf races at Keeneland usually do. Thewayiam (#9) has been very good to me on her current three-race winning streak, but it’s tough to look past unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Rushing Fall (#2) in her 3-year-old debut. She’s 2-for-2 at a mile, owns a win on the Keeneland turf, and was dominant on soft ground, which is a big plus given how much rain has hit Lexington and snow is in the forecast for Friday night and Saturday morning.
Mike’s Top 7 Stay Lucky Plays
(Five winners from 21 top plays in 2018)
1. Monomoy Girl (Central Bank Ashland Stakes)
2. Midnight Bisou (Santa Anita Oaks)
3. Bolt d’Oro (Santa Anita Derby)
4. Analyze It (Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes)
5. Control Group (Excelsior Stakes)
6. Midnight Disguise (Gazelle Stakes)
7. Hoppertunity (Tokyo City Cup Stakes)