Stay Lucky Picks: Sharpen Focus on Whitney Weekend


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 the $1.2 million Whitney Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

Friday, Aug. 3

National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (5:40 p.m. ET): It’s always nice to kick off the weekend with a fun, competitive race. The favorite here, Gidu (#6), won two straight stakes in the U.S before venturing over to Europe, where he finished sixth, beaten by 2 ½ lengths, in a Group 1 race at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet. Gidu is a terrific 3-year-old prospect, but a trans-Atlantic trip can be taxing and the race came up pretty deep. Roll the dice if your streak is back to zero or one, but I’d hold off for a better spot if I had a significant streak rolling.

Saturday, Aug. 4

West Virginia Governor’s Stakes (4:55 p.m. ET): With five horses at 6-1 or less on the morning line and another that I like at 10-1 in Term of Art (#8), I’ll sit this one out.

Test Stakes (5:10 p.m. ET): Mia Mischief (#7) was pressed through taxing early fractions in her most recent start when she faded late in the Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes, but there is really only one possible challenger for the early lead in this race and I expect her to dictate the temp. Trainer Steve Asmussen has been red hot and this looks like a great spot.

West Virginia Derby (5:35 p.m. ET): This is similar to the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes in that it has five runners listed at 6-1 or less on the morning line. I expect Bob Baffert’s shipper Once On Whiskey (#5) to be bet down to near even money, and I really liked how he finished in winning the Grade 3 Los Alamitos Derby, but I like Rugbyman (#6) here. I think he’s an elite talent and this will be a breakout race for him.

Whitney Stakes (5:46 p.m. ET): If sprinter Mind Your Biscuits (#4) is the top threat to Diversify (#6) as the morning-line indicates, I like my chances with the Suburban Stakes winner. Diversify has a big performance on this track and I think the race came up a bit softer that usual. I think he could win fairly easily.

Fasig-Tipton Waya Stakes (6:22 p.m. ET): Santa Monica (#5) 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 (#2) and I’ve been waiting for Lottie (#8) to return after she ran second in a Grade 2 at Belmont Park in May in her first start off a long layoff.

Yellow Ribbon Handicap (8:30 p.m. ET): This race essentially drew all of the best turf females from the West Coast, plus a few others. It’s one of the most wide-open graded stakes races I’ve seen this year, so it’s a great betting race but brutal for Stay Lucky purposes.

Sunday, Aug. 5

Troy Handicap (3:15 p.m. ET): Disco Partner (#3) is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the eight-horse field and he’s capable of electric performances. He definitely prefers firm turf so be aware of the weather and turf conditions, and Holding Gold (#2) is a major player here as well, but I like Disco Partner’s chances.

La Jolla Handicap (6 p.m. ET): River Boyne (#2) has been very consistent this year and he looks to be coming into this race in strong form off a stakes win as the 2-5 favorite. I don’t view him as a free square like Unique Bella last week, but I really like his chances here.

Sorrento Stakes (8:30 p.m. ET): Stakes this early in the season comprised almost entirely of fillies who have never competed in a race other than a maiden race are extraordinarily difficult to predict. Often the early odds offer a clue of which runner is doing especially well in the mornings, but just going off the past performances, I like Dragic (#2) for trainer Wesley Ward, who excels with 2-year-olds.

Mike’s Top  2 Stay Lucky Play

(28 winners from 69 top plays in 2018)

1. Diversify (Whitney Stakes)

2. River Boyne (La Jolla Handicap)

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