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 weekend is highlighted by the opening of the Keeneland fall meet, which kicks off with Fall Stars weekend featuring nine Breeders' Cup Challenge Series "Win and You're In" races.
Friday, Oct. 5
Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (4:57 p.m. ET): The Phoenix drew a six-horse field that looks, on the surface, ideal for a Stay Lucky play. But three of the six are elite sprinters with a solid chance to win: Promises Fulfilled (#1), Whitmore (#2), and Limousine Liberal (#4). It looks like there could be some pace pressure early on Promises Fulfilled, which could set up ideally for Whitmore, who is my pick.
Darley Alcibiades Stakes (5:30 p.m. ET): I’ve bet the Alcibiades every year since I moved to Lexington in 2005 and have yet to pick a winner. I can’t in good conscience offer any suggestions on this race. You’re on your own here.
Saturday, Oct. 6
Woodford Stakes (3:30 p.m. ET): I believe this is Holding Gold’s (#5) best distance and favorite turf course, but I’m hesitant to play him because of rain in the forecast. He’s much better when he gets firm ground, so if the rain stays away I’ll lock him in as a pick. Otherwise, I’ll avoid this race.
Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (4:05 p.m. ET): I really like Miss Sunset (#3) in this spot. She’s in terrific form right now; she has four wins and a second at this three-quarter-mile distance, and she’s run really well in her two previous races at Keeneland when shipping in from California.
Beldame Invitational Stakes (4:25 p.m. ET): This race came up about as light as any Grade 1 race I can remember this year without a true star and not much depth of talent. The probable favorites all look vulnerable to me, so I’m taking a shot with Teresa Z (#2), who is well-rested and coming off a sneaky-good third in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap July 14.
First Lady Stakes (4:40 p.m. ET): I’m torn in this race between a personal favorite of mine, A Raving Beauty (#2), and European invader Crown Walk (#4). I think the pace could be brisk and set up A Raving Beauty, but I’m going to pass here in search of an easier Stay Lucky spot. There are some great betting races at Keeneland this weekend, and this is one of them.
Mazarine Stakes (4:49 p.m. ET): Two-year-olds stretching out to 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic main track at Woodbine provides quite the handicapping puzzle. I landed on Tiz Breathtaking (#7) because I think she’s the most talented of the bunch and a Tiznow filly should be able to navigate two turns.
Hill Prince Stakes (5 p.m. ET): If New York gets rain over the next few days as the forecast suggests, I like my top play here, Raging Bull (#3), even better. I think he’s the class of the field, he’s been on fire, and he loves a little give in the ground.
Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (5:14 p.m. ET): I loved Standard Deviation (#14) until I saw the post-position draw. Breaking from the far outside post in a race that has the short stretch (finish line at the sixteenth pole) is really tough to overcome.
Champagne Stakes (5:35 p.m. ET): This is a nice group of 2-year-olds with varying degrees of experience and multiple runners coming off eye-catching victories. While I’m not going to play this race for Stay Lucky, I’m hoping to get a square price on Code of Honor (#8), who won his debut for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey in August at Saratoga. McGaughey does not push his 2-year-olds at all. He often uses the debut race as a learning exercise. So when one of his debut runners wins impressively, I take notice. I also can’t overlook that half-mile workout in :46.19 on Sept. 23, the fastest of 60 timed drills at the distance. I expect to make a nice wager on Code of Honor.
Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (5:49 p.m. ET): Wow! This is one of the best betting races I’ve seen this year … just a terrific field of accomplished, evenly-matched milers. With both Voodoo Song (#10) and Heart to Heart (#5) in the field, along with a few others with some early speed, I think the pace will be honest to say the least. Almanaar (#11) cutting back in distance off a runner-up finish in the Arlington Million looks dangerous, but he drew a tough post.
City of Hope Mile Stakes (7:30 p.m. ET): Sharp Samurai (#8) has won two of four starts at this distance and he really likes Santa Anita’s turf course (4-for-5). There’s only one other horse in here that I really fear, but I feel pretty confident in Sharp Samurai’s chances.
Sunday, Oct. 7
Frizette Stakes (4:46 p.m. ET): Because of her name and an auspicious debut, Covfefe (#6) has generated a ton of attention and probably will go off as the favorite, but I prefer Graceful Princess (#5). She also is coming off a debut win and she’s bred to be a star: by leading sire Tapit out of 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.
Dixiana Bourbon Stakes (5:10 p.m. ET): I was really impressed with Fog of War’s win in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes on Sept. 16, so I also really like that race’s runner-up, War of Will (#1), who finished only three-quarters of a length behind and two lengths clear of the third-place finisher. He’s got tactical speed, valuable stakes experience, and a trainer who knows how to win at Keeneland.
Flower Bowl Stakes (5:18 p.m. ET): I’ve loved the way Lady Montdore (#2) has looked in two starts in the U.S., both dominant wins, but with Tricky Escape (#4) coming off three straight wins and multiple Grade 2 winner Fourstar Crook (#7) in the field, it’s tough to feel super-confident.
Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (5:45 p.m. ET): I guess I give a slight edge to Blue Prize (#11), but I do think she’s vulnerable here. Three-year-old Eskimo Kisses (#4) looked like a budding star in winning the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes by 6 ½ lengths and Champagne Problems (#8) only lost to Blue Prize by a nose in the Grade 3 Locust Grove Stakes on Sept. 15 at Churchill Downs. I’m looking elsewhere.
Mike’s Top 2 Stay Lucky Plays
(36 winners from 89 top plays in 2018)
1. Raging Bull (Hill Prince Stakes)
2. Miss Sunset (Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes)