Stay Lucky Guide: Plenty of Fireworks on Loaded Holiday 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 weekend features a loaded holiday-weekend schedule with multiple graded stakes races at Prairie Meadows, Delaware Park, Belmont Park, and Arlington Park.

Thursday, July 5

Iowa Oaks (10:28 p.m. ET): Rayya (#6) looks like an especially vulnerable favorite to me. She was beaten by 42 lengths in the Longines Kentucky Oaks. Before that, Rayya ran second against males in the United Arab Emirates Derby but was beaten by 18 ½ lengths by winner Mendelssohn. I prefer Sassy Sienna (#9), the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes winner who has good tactical speed and enters off a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks.

Friday, July 6

Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (10:30 p.m. ET): Dr. Dorr (#3) is a top play for me this weekend. He won three straight in California before finishing second to Accelerate most recently in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita. I expect him to win this one fairly easily.

Saturday, July 7

Parx Dash Stakes (4:04 p.m. ET): If ever there was a horse for the course, it’s Pure Sensation (#4). The 3-2 morning-line favorite is 4-for-4 on the grass at Parx and has won the last two editions of this race. I love his chances for a three-peat.

Dwyer Stakes (4:36 p.m. ET): I know a ton of money will be bet on Mendelssohn (#6), who never ran a step in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve and should run a much better race with a better track and less traffic with a seven-horse Dwyer field. I’m a believer in Mendelssohn but I’m also a believer in Rugbyman (#3), so because he is my upset pick to win this race I can’t endorse Mendelssohn. Note: I could look really stupid at 4:40 p.m. on Saturday; it would not be the first time.

American Derby (4:41 p.m. ET): I really like Captivating Moon (#6). He’s got a terrific turn of foot and he’s very consistent, but as the deepest of closers he is a bit pace dependent. So, while he is my pick, I’ll reluctantly leave Captivating Moon out of my top Stay Lucky plays this week.

Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (4:45 p.m. ET): I dabbled with making Esquisse (#5) a top play this week, but the problem is I also really like Creative Thinking (#8). Instead, I’ll skip this race for Stay Lucky and bet an exacta box.

Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (5:11 p.m. ET): Seven-eighths of a mile is a tricky distance in that it tests the endurance of the prototypical sprinter and is a bit short for the best milers. I like to try to play horses who have shown an affinity for the distance and Limousine Liberal (#1) fits the bill with four wins and two seconds in nine starts at seven furlongs. He’s classy, in good form, and racing at his best distance.

Modesty Handicap (5:16 p.m. ET): Daddys Lil Darling (#13) has been a bit unlucky this year racing against strong competition. She’s a Grade 1 winner who rarely runs a bad race and I think she’s the fastest in this field. The far outside post position does worry me a bit and you hate to see her lose Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, but Brian Hernandez Jr. is a nice replacement and I think she’s the winner.

Delaware Oaks (5:45 p.m. ET): I think the only ticket I cashed on Preakness Stakes weekend was on Red Ruby (#9) in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. I thought she was better than she’d showed in her previous race and she proved me right. I’ll stick with her here with three wins in her last four starts.

Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (5:46 p.m. ET): You have to respect Chad Brown’s two runners in this 3-year-old turf race as he has three wins in four editions of the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes. But the race came up incredibly strong with a deep cast of talented runners. You could make a case for so many fillies in here — it’s a terrific betting race — but I landed on Capla Temptress (#4) off a fourth-place finish by a half-length in a French classic race.

Suburban Handicap (6:18 p.m. ET): Dr. Dorr (#5) was cross-entered in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap on Friday and I like his chances in either spot, but he’s critical to the pace setup in this race. If he competes in the Suburban, he’ll probably press last year’s Suburban winner Diversify (#10) early and hamper his chances. But if Dr. Dorr races on Friday and skips the Suburban, I think Diversify has a chance to set an uncontested pace and cruise here. I’m taking a wait-and-see approach.

Stars and Stripes Stakes (6:23 p.m. ET): This is another deep, talented field for what looks like a challenging turf race to handicap. I gave a slight edge to Canessar (#9) off a very promising performance in the two-mile Belmont Gold Cup on June 8.

Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (6:50 p.m. ET): I’m a card-carrying member of the Analyze It (#3) bandwagon. I still think he’s a star despite watching Catholic Boy (#7) re-rally and beat Analyze It after he had passed him in the stretch of the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge Stakes on June 2. But I have to admit I’m treading lightly here because this race drew such a strong group of 3-year-olds, so Analyze It is the pick but he falls just outside of a top-play selection.

Arlington Handicap (6:55 p.m. ET): Synchrony (#3) is in terrific form and Divisidero (#11) is a consistent Grade 1 winner who ran deceptively well on this course in last year’s Arlington Million when seventh, but beaten by only 2 ½ lengths. I also think we’ll see an improved Just Howard (#9) and I respect the chances of a few others entered in here, which means I’ll look elsewhere this weekend.

Sunday, July 8

Victory Ride Stakes (5:50 p.m. ET): I really liked Mia Mischief’s (#5) win in the Eight Belles Stakes presented by Kentucky Trailer on the Longines Kentucky Oaks undercard. She has been first or second in all seven of her starts and has a great chance to win her third stakes in a row. She faces a very tough test in the Victory Ride, however, with Grade 1 Frizette Stakes winner Separationofpowers (#3) returning for her first start since running fourth in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies plus undefeated stakes winner Sower (#4) and graded stakes winners Take Charge Paula (#7) and Spectator (#8).

Mike’s Top 5 Stay Lucky Plays

(21 winners from 59 top plays in 2018)

1. Dr. Dorr (Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap) Note: Dr. Dorr would remain a top five play if he competes instead in the Suburban, but he would not be my top pick.

2. Limousine Liberal (Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes)

3. Pure Sensation (Parx Dash Stakes)

4. Red Ruby (Delaware Oaks)

5. Daddys Lil Darling (Modesty Handicap)

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