Stay Lucky Picks: Action-Packed Weekend Anchored by Haskell


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 bevy of stakes action, capped by a powerhouse card on Sunday at Monmouth Park for the Haskell Invitational Stakes.

Saturday, July 28

Amsterdam Stakes (4:25 p.m. ET): If you like Strike Power (#5), this race might look like an easy spot. But it’s tough to heartily endorse a 3-year-old colt coming off back-to-back eighth-place finishes, both by double-digit margins. You probably can draw a line through the Florida Derby and assume the distance was well beyond his scope, but the Grade 2 Woody Stephens was a head-scratcher. I’m inclined to look elsewhere for Stay Lucky and try to beat the speed horses with closers Engage (#3) and Soutache (#7).

Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (5:02 p.m. ET): Imperial Hint (#4), runner-up in last year’s Twinspires Breeders’ Cup Sprint, probably will be the favorite come post time, but this race came up sneakily strong. Switzerland (#1) and Done Deal (#7) are in terrific form, while Petrov (#2), Warrior’s Club (#3), and Mr. Crow (#6) all have run very well at Saratoga. Imperial Hint is the class of the field, but I’d exercise caution here and perhaps look for a better spot.

Bowling Green Stakes (5:40 p.m. ET): There are a number of horses in good form and with success on this turf course, but I landed on Hi Happy (#7). While he has not raced at Saratoga, he’s been terrific this year. He should be able to work out a perfect trip and get the jump on the closers in a race without much early speed.

Bing Crosby Stakes (9 p.m. ET): This is a tough return spot for Roy H (#3), the defending Twinspires Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner who has not raced since finishing third by three-quarters of a length in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on the Dubai World Cup undercard. I think he’s the best of a nice group of 11, but the Bing Crosby looks like a serious test.

Sunday, July 29

Oceanport Stakes (2:56 p.m. ET): Irish Strait (#3) got the better of Synchrony (#2) in a Grade 3 race at Monmouth in May 2017 and both horses appear to be in strong form here. I like Synchrony to turn the tables here, but this looks like a coin-flip race so it’s not an ideal Stay Lucky spot unless one of the two is scratched.

Monmouth Cup Stakes (3:28 p.m. ET): You have to respect Page McKenney (#3), a hard-knocking, 8-year-old gelding with 22 career wins, and he’s the most likely favorite. I’m a little worried about Remembering Rita (#2) shipping in from Prairie Meadows off three straight wins, so I opted against making Page McKenney a top play this week.

Matchmaker Stakes  (4:05 p.m. ET): This race drew the top four finishers from the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes on June 30. The extra sixteenth of a mile should be just fine for that race’s winner, Dream Awhile (#2), who has developed into a very promising filly for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown. I also view Lift Up (#4) as a serious contender with five wins in her last six starts since shifting to the turf for the “mad genius” Michael Dickinson. Slight edge to Dream Awhile in what I think should be a really competitive race.

Royal North Stakes (4:15 p.m. ET): Smiling Causeway (#4) really seems to have found her niche as a turf sprinter with four wins and two seconds on the grass, but Lull (#8) looks like the clear class of the field and she’s enjoyed success in the past cutting back in distance to sprints. Tough call between the two.

Molly Pitcher Stakes (4:36 p.m. ET): Divine Miss Grey (#3) was a dominant, front-running winner in a stakes race at this track and distance on June 30.I think she’s pretty clearly the best of this field. The only concern is that she seems to be much better when she dictates the pace and she could face some early pressure, but it’s not a big enough concern to bump her from my top three Stay Lucky picks.

Shuvee Stakes (5:40 p.m. ET): Undefeated Chilean Triple Crown winner Wow Cat (#4) is a huge wild card here making her North American debut for Chad Brown. She was 8-for-8 in her native Chile with three Group 1 wins, but it’s tough to gauge the quality of competition she faced. Other top contenders include Ivy Bell (#5) and Farrell (#7), the former coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes in Grade 1 races and the latter coming off second-place finishes in a Grade 1 in May and a Grade 2 in June. Tough call. Haskell Invitational Stakes (5:45 p.m. ET): I really respect champion Good Magic (#6), but I’ve been impressed by the progression of Core Beliefs (#4) this season and think he might be poised for a mild upset.

Vigil Stakes (6 p.m. ET): Pink Lloyd (#6) had his 11-race winning streak snapped in his last race when third in the Shepperton Stakes at Woodbine. He was a dominant winner of this race a year ago and he’s 10-for-11 at this three-quarter-mile distance. He starts a new winning streak on Sunday.

Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (7 p.m. ET): Unique Bella (#2) posted a career-best 128 Equibase Speed Figure at this 1 1/16-mile distance and she is much, much the best horse in the field. She’s the top play of the week.

Mike’s Top 3 Stay Lucky Plays

(26 winners from 66 top plays in 2018)

1. Unique Bella (Clement L. Hirsch Stakes)

2. Pink Lloyd (Vigil Stakes)

3. Divine Miss Grey (Molly Pitcher Stakes)

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