Stay Lucky Picks: Prime TVG Pacific Classic Play

Fans watch the races at Del Mar. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

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 is highlighted by the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar, a Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” qualifying event for the Nov. 3 $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

Saturday, Aug. 18

Lake Placid Stakes (5:02 p.m. ET): I expect Rushing Fall (#6) to be well supported in the betting, and she’s eligible to bounce back from her first defeat in May at Churchill. Thewayiam (#1) and Significant Form (#4) are both better now than when Rushing Fall previously beat them as are Daddy Is a Legend (#2) and Capla Temptress (#3).  I thought Capla Temptress was extremely unlucky in the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes when she was steadied in traffic and I’m going to try and strike with her here at what figures to be a nice price.

Monmouth Oaks (5:09 p.m. ET): I imagine Sassy Siena (#8), coming off back-to-back losses by double-digit lengths, will vie for favoritism with Gio Game (#3), who enters off a fifth-place finish, beaten by 17 ¼ lengths, in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. I really didn’t see another 3-year-old filly here that jumps out besides the aforementioned two, so I guess I’d roll the dice on Gio Game if I had to make a play. I wouldn’t feel great risking a significant streak on her though …

Alabama Stakes (5:40 p.m. ET): With no Monomoy Girl in the race, I expect Grade 1 winner Midnight Bisou (#3) to be the heavy favorite with Talk Veuve to Me (#8) probably the wise-guy filly in the field. I’m a little worried about the distance for both of them, but I give a slight edge to Midnight Bisou.

Del Mar Handicap Presented by The Japan Racing Association (7:30 p.m. ET): Itsinthepost (#6) might end up the favorite here, but he’s winless in 10 starts at Del Mar and there are a few others capable of stepping up and beating him here, including Fashion Business (#12) who drew poorly on the outside. None of the entrants gets me excited from a Stay Lucky perspective.

Del Mar Oaks Presented by The Jockey Club (8:30 p.m. ET): I had trouble separating these 3-year-old fillies. Colonia (#7) and Californiagoldrush (#8) looks like they have some significant upside, but others have valuable graded stakes experience. I’m going to pass for Stay Lucky.

TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (9:30 p.m. ET): I really like Accelerate (#5) in this spot. He ran his career-best 126 Equibase Speed Figure on this track, where he is 3-for-5 lifetime, and he’s 2-for-3 at this distance and facing an average field at best. He’s the top play this week.

Sunday, Aug. 19

Sunday, Aug. 19

Sky Classic Stakes (5:20 p.m. ET): Utmost (#6) started his career in England, where he won two of eights starts, and finished third by three-quarters of a length in a stakes race at Delaware Park in July in his U.S. debut. I like his chances to improve in his second start in North America and the Woodbine turf course shares some similarities with European turf courses that might give him a boost. Tiz a Slam (#4) has won two straight for trainer Roger Attfield and looms as a formidable probable favorite.

Del Mar Mile Handicap (8:30 p.m. ET): Defending winner Hunt (#13) will need to rebound from a 10th-place finish in the Grade 2 Eddie Read Stakes while facing five horses who finished ahead of him, and he’ll have to overcome the far outside post position. The top four in the Eddie Read were separated by only a length and three of them return here, led by winner Catapult (#1), who sprung a 21-1 upset while setting a new career-best 124 Equibase Speed Figure. I landed on Sharp Samurai (#4), the Eddie Read runner-up who is at his best at this one-mile distance and posted his career-best 123 Equibase Speed Figure on this grass course. It’s a tough race though, great for betting but not ideal for Stay Lucky.

Mike’s Top Stay Lucky Play

(30 winners from 72 top plays in 2018)

1. Accelerate (TVG Pacific Classic Stakes)

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