Stay Lucky Picks: Arlington Million, Heavy Sunday Slate


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?

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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 is highlighted by Saturday’s International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park. The card is highlighted by a pair of Road to the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” races – the Arlington Million and the Beverly D. Stakes. The winners of these two races receive berths to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, respectively. The Arlington Million and Beverly D. will be featured in an Aug. 11 broadcast by NBC Sports as part of the network’s “Win and You’re In” series of telecasts presented by America’s Best Racing. The broadcast will air on NBCSN from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET.

Saturday, Aug. 11

Adirondack Stakes (2:07 p.m. ET): I give Mucho Amor (#1) a slight edge with a hard-fought win under her belt, but four other 2-year-olds in here enter off open-length victories. Lyrical Lady (#3) won a race earlier this meet on the Saratoga main track by 5 ¾ lengths for trainer Steve Asmussen, who is winning at above 30-percent this summer at Saratoga.

Fourstardave Handicap (5:02 p.m. ET): I expect Grade 1 winner Yoshida (#7) to be the favorite at post time and he’s my pick, but both potential pacesetters, Heart to Heart (#5) and Voodoo Song (#6), have run very well at Saratoga as have Delta Prince (#2) and Made You Look (#4). Add in Divisidero (#3), another Grade 1 winner, and you have the makings of a great race.

Secretariat Stakes (5:48 p.m. ET): I’m a glutton for punishment, so I’m going to stay on the Analyze It (#9) bandwagon despite back-to-back heartbreaking losses by a head or less. I believe in his talent … and Catholic Boy, who defeated him in his last two, is not in this race.

Beverly D. Stakes (6:25 p.m. ET): Sistercharlie (#3) is the 9-5 morning-line favorite as one of four entrants from Chad Brown’s barn, but this is a terrific race with Fourstar Crook (#7), who beat Sistercharlie in the Grade 2 New York Stakes, Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes winner Athena (#9) and 2017 Beverly D. runner-up Dona Bruja (#4) among a deep, talented field. I’d suggest anyone with a significant streak stay away from this race.

Arlington Million XXXVI Stakes (7:08 p.m. ET): With five horses between 3-1 and 6-1, this race looks like another terrific betting race but a tough spot for Stay Lucky. Morning-line favorite Oscar Performance (#11) ran one of the best races of his career on this turf course a year ago when winning the Secretariat and he looked very good in his comeback from a 7 ½-month layoff. He might be the play on Saturday given how tough the schedule is … or you could wait for Sunday, which I’m leaning toward doing with my four-win streak.

Pucker Up Stakes (7:51 p.m. ET): I had trouble identifying which horse I thought would be the favorite before the morning-line odds were released, which is always a sign that it’s a tough race for Stay Lucky purposes. I’m taking a shot with Pamina (#3) because I feel reasonably confident she’ll be there at the finish and doing her best running late.

Sunday, Aug. 12

Seagram Cup Stakes (3:40 p.m. ET): The race features yet another showdown between familiar rivals Melmich (#1) and Are You Kidding Me (#3), plus Gigantic Breeze (#2) who has beaten both of those horses on at least one occasion. It’s a tough call with Are You Kidding Me 7-for-14 at the 1 1/16-mile distance and Melmich at 10 wins and eight seconds in 23 starts at the distance. Melmich won this race by a nose last year over Are You Kidding Me with Gigantic Breeze another half-length back in third. Take your pick, I’ll stay away.

Saratoga Special Stakes presented by Coors Light (5:02 p.m. ET): I’ve always had difficulty separating 2-year-olds early in the season and then as they start to build resumes, I feel like I quickly get a good feel for which ones will continue to progress and which ones might be precocious types that flame out once the races get longer. This is a tough spot because five of the six come out of debut wins and the lone stakes winner, Sir Truebadour (#5), looks pretty slow from a speed-figure perspective. Follow the early odds and you might get an indication that one of these 2-year-olds has looked especially promising in the mornings, but otherwise you’re rolling the dice.

Fasig-Tipton Waya Stakes (5:40 p.m. ET): Santa Monica (#3) looks like a strong play this week and she should be formidable coming off a Grade 2 win at Woodbine, but I really respect graded stakes winner Mom’s On Strike (#5) and I’ve been waiting for Lottie (#1) to return after she ran second in a Grade 2 at Belmont Park in May in her first start off a long layoff.

Groupie Doll Stakes (5:40 p.m. ET): I thought there were three or four in here with a good chance to win. Pinch Hit (#10) enters off a stakes win and has a win on this Ellis Park main track, but Champagne Problems beat her by three-quarters of a length at this distance in June at Churchill. She’s 2-for-3 at one mile, so I gave Champagne Problems the slightest of nods here.

Rancho Bernardo Handicap (6 p.m. ET): Anonymity (#3) has looked like a freak in her last two starts for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella and she’s 2-for-2 at Del Mar. The lightly raced rising star will be making her first start against stakes competition, however, and the field includes Grade 1 winner Moonshine Memories (#6) and graded stakes winner Skye Diamonds (#4), the fourth-place finisher in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. I’ll go with the up-and-comer here, but Moonshine Memories is 3-for-4 at Del Mar and two of Skye Diamonds best races came on this track, so it’s a significant challenge.

Longacres Mile Handicap (8:39 p.m. ET): I got burned on Alert Bay (#2) last year in the Longacres Mile when he ran fourth. I think he’s the fastest and best horse in the field, but I think at this point in his career, the 7-year-old is best on grass and synthetic surfaces. He’s winless in two tries at Emerald, but he’s still the play, albeit a shaky one.

Mike’s Top Stay Lucky Play

(30 winners from 71 top plays in 2018)

1. Oscar Performance (Arlington Million XXXVI Stakes)

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