Stay Lucky Picks: 2018 Season Closes with Breeders’ Cup Fireworks


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.

The 2018 Stay Lucky season concludes with the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday at 5:44 p.m. ET, so get as many picks locked in as you can and try to build your streak as high as possible in the final week of the season. NBC Sports will televise 12 of the 14 Breeders’ Cup championship races, starting on the Breeders' Cup "Future Stars Friday" program with five races, and continuing on Saturday with seven more. Eight races will be televised on NBCSN, and the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will anchor a 2 1/2-hour telecast on NBC slated for 3:30-6 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 3 that will also include live broadcasts of the Breeders' Cup Mile, Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff, and Longines Breeders' Cup Turf. Two Breeders' Cup races that kick off Saturday's card – the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint – will be broadcast live on TVG and will also be included as part of a one-hour Breeders’ Cup Live! presented America’s Best Racing digital special on Facebook and from 11:55 a.m.-12:55 p.m. ET.

Friday, Nov. 2

Bold Ruler Handicap (3:38 p.m. ET): Coal Front (#1) and Delta Prince (#6) probably are the two most talented horses in this race, but I think seven-eighths of a mile is just a bit too long for Coal Front and Delta Prince has made his last nine starts on the grass. I’ll go instead with True Timber (#2). He’s in terrific form after a couple of confidence-building allowance wins and I think this might be his ideal distance. He should get a perfect trip just off the pace set by Coal Front.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (4 p.m. ET): Newspaperofrecord (#6) was stunningly good when winning the Grade 2 Miss Grillo Stakes on Sept. 30 for trainer Chad Brown, who has won the last two editions of this race and three of the last four. A top play on a tough weekend.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (4:40 p.m. ET): There’s a ton of pace in this race and I think it could set up nicely for a runner who rates midpack, so I’m going with Restless Rider (#4) off a nice win in a Grade 1 at Keeneland at this 1 1/16-mile distance. Sippican Harbor (#8) could also be very dangerous in that scenario.

Tempted Stakes (4:53 p.m. ET): Sometimes a racehorse’s career debut should be viewed as a learning experience and the second race tells us more about the runner’s potential than the debut. I think that might be the case with Enliven (#7), who showed speed then faded when sprinting in her first race but came back to win by 1 ¼ lengths going 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 30. I’m really high on this Godolphin homebred Ghostzapper filly out of Grade 1 winner It’s Tricky.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (5:22 p.m. ET): The temptation is to take highly-regarded European invader Anthony Van Dyck (#14), but with the far outside post position and a short run into the first turn he’ll need to be five lengths the best to win. I prefer Line of Duty (#5), another European, at much more appealing odds of 10-1 on the morning line.

Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (6:05 p.m. ET): I thought Code of Honor (#11) was extremely unlucky in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes on Oct. 6 when he stumbled badly leaving the starting gate and dropped back to trail early. But he rallied gamely to finish second and he won his debut in front-running fashion for Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, so I think he’s got the speed to stay within striking range. I’ve mentioned in other posts that McGaughey is typically very conservative with 2-year-olds, which makes me think this one is telling him he’s ready to fire another big one. I also love seeing Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who rode him in his debut, climb back aboard.

Marathon Stakes Presented by TAA (6:43 p.m. ET): The outside post position for Rocketry (#10) is of little concern in a 1 ¾-mile race with a long run into the first of three turns. Rocketry’s first try on dirt was a dominant victory in a 1 5/8-mile stakes race at Belmont Park on Sept. 30. There are three or four logical contenders here, but I think Rocketry has by far the most upside.

Saturday, Nov. 3

Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (noon ET): If you don’t like Marley’s Freedom (#13) in this race, it’s a wide-open edition of the Filly and Mare Sprint. While I do respect the aforementioned favorite, there’s no way I could take 8-5 odds on a racemare who does not appear to be a complete standout and has never competed outside of Southern California. I like the chances of Selcourt (#4), Golden Mischief (#5), and Dream Pauline (#15) to defeat Marley’s Freedom, so I’ll pass on this race. If Dream Pauline at 30-1 draws in off the also-eligible list, I’ll make a significant win/place wager on her.

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (12:38 p.m. ET): World of Trouble (#11) has looked like a world-beater in two starts on grass. This is a serious class test for a racehorse who is Grade 2-placed on dirt but has never competed in a graded stakes on the turf, but I think there is a chance he’s found his niche as a turf sprinter and we see a star unleashed on Breeders’ Cup Saturday.

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (1:16 p.m. ET): Catalina Cruiser (#10) looks like the most logical winner on the entire slate of Breeders’ Cup races. He drew the outside post, but there is a long run into the turn in this one-turn mile and he has electric natural speed. He’s won his previous four starts by at least 2 ¼ lengths and I expect he’ll give trainer John Sadler his first win in the Breeders’ Cup here. He’s a strong Stay Lucky play.

Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (2:04 p.m. ET): I like Wild Illusion (#3) quite a bit coming off an impressive win in a Group 1 race in France on Oct. 9. She also drew much better than the other European I really like, Eziyra (#14), so I’ll take Wild Illusion over Eziyra in an all-Euro exacta.

TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (2:46 p.m. ET): Imperial Hint (#5) is my pick in this race but I don’t view him as a lock with last year’s winner Roy H (#9), elite 3-year-old sprinter Promises Fulfilled (#2), powerful closer Whitmore (#1), and Limousine Liberal (#8), who is 6-for-8 at Churchill, in the field.

Maple Leaf Stakes (3:30 p.m. ET): It’s tough to pick against Gamble’s Ghost (#11), a synthetic specialist who has won 10 of 14 starts on the main track at Woodbine, including her last three starts. I don’t think this is her best distance, however, and I’m confident Pamina (#1) will handle the switch from grass to the Tapeta Footings surface at Woodbine since she trains on it at her Fair Hill base for trainer Michael Dickinson, who invented the surface.

Breeders’ Cup Mile (3:36 p.m. ET): I like 20-1 longshot Lightning Spear (#11) to win this wide-open race. He won’t be top Stay Lucky pick, but I plan to play him anyway. He’s been an elite European miler for several years and as long as the turf does not come up soft (yielding, good should be fine), I think he wins at a big price.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (4:16 p.m. ET): My pick in the Distaff is Wow Cat (#9) coming off a dominant win in the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes, which showed how much she’s improved in her three U.S. starts after winning all eight of her races in her native Argentina. Monomoy Girl (#11) and Abel Tasman (#2) figure to vie for favoritism, and I hope that leads to a nice value on Wow Cat.

Autumn Stakes (4:32 p.m. ET): This is a wide-open race with several synthetic-surface specialists that are tough to separate. Of the group, I give a very slight edge to Decorated Soldier (#5), but I don’t feel especially confident in the pick and would not make it a Stay Lucky play.

Turnback the Alarm Handicap (4:44 p.m. ET): I’m not going to outthink this one. Divine Miss Grey (#4) looks like the class of the field on paper coming off a runner-up finish in a Grade 1 race on Oct. 6. She loves Aqueduct — three wins, two seconds in five races — she’s the fastest horse in the race, and she’s posted four wins and two seconds in eight starts this season.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (4:56 p.m. ET): While history suggests Enable (#2) should be a horse to bet against — no Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner has won the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same season — I think she is extremely formidable. She’s beaten far better horses than she’ll face in this race and, unlike past Arc winners, this will be only her third start of the year and she comes into the Turf relatively fresh.

Breeders’ Cup Classic (5:44 p.m. ET): I have tremendous respect for Accelerate (#14), and I wouldn’t suggest leaving him out of your tickets, but I think he’s beatable in this spot and I like West Coast (#7) to win the marquee race of the weekend. He’s competed against the best of the best over the last two years and I thought his first start off a long layoff in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes was a race he should build off of. At his best, he’s as fast as Accelerate, he got a much better post position, and he’s shown in the past his can ship out of Southern California and win a Grade 1 race. It’s interesting that Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith opted to ride 3-year-old stablemate McKinzie (#6) instead, but West Coast gets a Hall of Famer in John Velazquez as a replacement so I’m not concerned.

Mike’s Top 6 Stay Lucky Play

(37 winners from 94 top plays in 2018)

1. Catalina Cruiser (Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile)

2. Enable (Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf)

3. Divine Miss Grey (Turnback the Alarm Handicap)

4. Newspaperofrecord (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf)

5. World of Trouble (Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint)

6. Enliven (Tempted Stakes)

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