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?
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 is horse racing's signature weekend with the Longines Kentucky Oaks on Friday at Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on Saturday, complete with terrific graded stakes races up and down both cards ... a feast for Stay Lucky enthusiasts.
Friday, May 4
Eight Belles Stakes presented by Kentucky Trailer (12:35 p.m. ET): With three horses between 2-1 and 5-2 odds, this race is a tough way to kick off the weekend slate … unless your streak is at zero, like mine, in which case it’s a perfect chance to take a swing. Give me Amy’s Challenge (#1). She’s in great form and I think she should have the stamina for seven-eighths of a mile cutting back from 1 1/16 miles. If it rains and the track is wet, I’ll switch to Mia Mischief (#3).
La Troienne Stakes presented by Twinspires.com (1:17 p.m. ET): This is a case where in midseason, Abel Tasman (#3) would be a slam dunk, essentially a free square, on the track on which she won the 2017 Longines Kentucky Oaks. But she has not raced in six months since finishing second in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and as we’ve seen in recent weeks, horses coming back from a long break in training often come up short. She’s the pick in the race and has won on a wet Churchill Downs track, which could be very valuable in light of the forecast, but I’ll exercise some caution.
Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes presented by Twinspires.com (2 p.m. ET): A turf sprint with five horses between 3-1 and 6-1 odds is a pass for me every time in Stay Lucky. Fun to bet on these races, but there will be much better sports for an easy winner.
Alysheba Stakes presented by Sentient Jet (2:53 p.m. ET): Much of the attention will be on 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming (#3) returning to the scene of his most important victory, but I was much more impressed with Good Samaritan’s (#1) 4-year-old bow than Always Dreaming’s season debut. This is not just a two-horse race and with rain in the forecast I’m hesitant to fully jump on board.
Edgewood Stakes presented by Forcht Bank (5:04 p.m. ET): It would be impossible to advise playing against Rushing Fall (#11) in Stay Lucky, but the far outside post position is far from ideal. I also think Figarella’s Queen (#4) could lead them from start to finish. That’s my exacta box, with Rushing Fall the more likely to wind up on top. Of note: trainer Chad Brown cross-entered Rushing Fall against males in the American Turf Stakes Presented by Ram Trucks on Saturday. That would leave this race wide open.
Longines Kentucky Oaks (6:12 p.m. ET): I think this is a two-horse race. I know a lot of smart people love Monomoy Girl (#14), and she has been fantastic, but I prefer West Coast invader Midnight Bisou (#10).
Saturday, May 5
Humana Distaff Stakes (1:13 p.m. ET): This is a strong group of female sprinters, but Finley’sluckycharm (#1) comes off a Grade 1 win in which she defeated three of the Humana Distaff entrants and she is 6-for-6 at Churchill Downs. She’s also proved capable of winning on a wet track if it should rain.
Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (1:55 p.m. ET): This is a great betting race and, perhaps, a tough spot for a Stay Lucky play. That said, I think On Leave (#9) is sitting on a monster race for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.
Churchill Downs Stakes presented by Twinspires.com (2:45 p.m. ET): This is another Churchill Downs race with a deep, talented field, something fans have come to expect on Kentucky Derby day. After a runaway win in his season debut, Imperial Hint (#3) looks poised for a big year after closing out 2017 with a runner-up finish by a lengths in the Twinspires Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He’s also 3-for-4 at this tricky seven-furlong distance.
Sheepshead Bay Stakes (3:30 p.m. ET): Holy Helena (#3) won a Canadian classic versus males as a 3-year-old and tried turf to start this season, winning both of her starts to date on grass. There are a few nice turf females in her, but I like her chances to extend her winning streak to three.
American Turf Stakes Presented by Ram Trucks (3:37 p.m. ET): Whether star filly Rushing Fall (#12) races against males here or sticks with the fillies on Friday in the Edgewood Stakes presented by Forcht Bank, this is a wide-open turf race for 3-year-olds with no clear standout. Another great betting race on the Kentucky Derby undercard, but I’ll pass for Stay Lucky.
Pat Day Mile Stakes presented by LG and E and KU (4:28 p.m. ET): This race drew a full field of 14, including several 3-year-olds who spent time on the Kentucky Derby trail. I think Mask (#8) is the best horse in the field, but he’s coming back from a minor injury, so there is no guarantee he’s ready to fire his best.
Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes (5:25 p.m. ET): Last year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up Beach Patrol (#10) returned from a six-month layoff to face Deauville (#1), a talented European shipper from the barn of Aidan O’Brien. Deauville ran second in his 2018 debut and finished third behind Beach Patrol in the Grade 1 Arlington Million in August 2017, but he has not won his last seven starts. Of the two, I prefer Beach Patrol, but this is far from a two-horse race. Synchrony (#7) is one who could surprise the top two.
Fort Marcy Stakes (5:48 p.m. ET): I know it’s Kentucky Derby day and all eyes will be on Churchill Downs, but this would be a race to catch if you remember. Chad Brown has two horses of significant interest slated to make their U.S. debuts is unbeaten Robert Bruce (#1), who was 6-for-6 in Chile by a combined margin of 30 ½ lengths; and Silverwave (#8), a Group 1 winner in France who held his own against European heavyweights, including a win over eventual Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Talismanic last spring in a Group 2 race at Chantilly. Silverwave gets the nod on class, but I worry that Robert Bruce might be a freak. If one scratches, take the other.
Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (6:50 p.m. ET): I’ve been on the Bolt d’Oro (#11) bandwagon for a long time, and I’m not hopping off before the big one. I think he’s sitting on a career-best race, which he will need against one of the deepest Kentucky Derby fields in recent memory. The Kentucky Derby is my favorite race to bet each year, but it’s brutal for Stay Lucky purposes. There are far easier spots if you have a nice streak intact.
Westchester Stakes (7:07 p.m. ET): Last year’s Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing (#2) is the headliner, but I can’t endorse him for Stay Lucky purposes after he closed out last season with back-to-back unplaced finishes and coming off an 8 ½-month layoff. I prefer either Tommy Macho (#5) or Conquest Big E (#6), but I don’t feel really strongly about either.
Sunday, May 6
Ruffian Stakes (5:18 p.m. ET): With four horses between 9-5 and 4-1, this might be a less-than-ideal spot to hang your hat with a significant Stay Lucky streak, especially considering the morning-line favorite has not started since she essentially stopped in a race in August 2017. to come once race entries become available.
Adoration Stakes (6:30 p.m. ET): This race looks like a coin flip on paper between Grade 1 winners Vale Dori (#3) and Fault (#7). The former has not raced since July 2017, but she’s the pick even off the long layoff.
Steve Sexton Mile Stakes (8:06 p.m. ET): If Girvin (#5) can reclaim the form that led to victory in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Stakes last July, he should easily handle this field. But this will be his first race in more than seven months, so it’s very difficult to predict how he’ll fare off an extended layoff.
Mike’s Top Stay Lucky Plays
(Eleven winners from 36 top plays in 2018)
1. Imperial Hint (Churchill Downs Stakes presented by Twinspires.com)
2. Finley’sluckycharm (Humana Distaff Stakes)
3. Abel Tasman (La Troienne Stakes presented by Twinspires.com)
4. Holy Helena (Sheepshead Bay Stakes)