Stay Lucky Picks: Action-Packed Belmont Stakes Weekend

Horses burst out of the starting gate at Belmont Park in the 2017 Belmont Stakes. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Welcome to the 2019 Stay Lucky season with new presenting sponsor Breeders' Cup! We have several exciting new prizes plus a smoother, faster app for the new season!

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 week's slate is headlined by the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, the final jewel of the 2019 Triple Crown. The Belmont anchors a terrific card June 8 at Belmont Park that features 10 stakes races, including eight Grade 1 races. NBCSN will broadcast from 2:30-4 p.m. ET live from Belmont Park, featuring several graded stakes races on the loaded undercard, before switching to NBC from 4-7 p.m. ET for more undercard races and then the Belmont Stakes. 

Thursday, June 6

Wonder Again Stakes (4:07 p.m. ET): Look no further than Newspaperofrecord (#3) here to kick off an extended Belmont Stakes weekend with a victory. I was stunned that this gifted filly lost her 3-year-old debut because I thought she might be the best horse in training in the U.S. But it was her first race in six months and horses are not machines. She gets back on track here with a win.

Intercontinental Stakes (6:46 p.m. ET): Significant Form (#2) is the morning-line favorite (excluding main-track-only entrant Jc’s Shooting Star), but she hasn’t raced in 6 ½ months and ended 2018 on a four-race winless stretch. I prefer stablemate Stella di Camelot (#5), who is 1-for-2 in the U.S. for trainer Chad Brown.

Friday, June 7

Bed o' Roses Invitational Stakes (2:58 p.m. ET): Give Chalon (#3) an edge on class and she should be able to improve in her second start of the year after a nice stakes win Preakness weekend. It’s not her best distance, so she rates just outside my top plays this weekend.

True North Stakes (4:42 p.m. ET): Catalina Cruiser (#3) looked like a budding superstar last year before a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile to close his 4-year-old season. He should be a heavy favorite here, but it’s his first race in more than seven months and he should have plenty of company on or near the lead. I think this race sets up better for either Whitmore (#7) or Do Share (#8) coming from off the pace.

New York Stakes (5:15 p.m. ET): Homerique (#8) placed in multiple Group 1 races in France, including the French Oaks, before shipping to the U.S. and winning her stateside debut in a Grade 3 race four weeks ago going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown. She should be even better stretching back out to 1 ¼ miles here.

Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes (5:48 p.m. ET): I like European invader Raa Atoll (#8) here. He’s lightly raced but he comes off a Group 2 win at this distance and this Sea The Stars colt is bred to run all day. This is a fun race to handicap.

Saturday, June 8

Longines Just a Game Stakes (1:22 p.m. ET): One of the keys to success in Stay Lucky is identifying heavy favorites who might be vulnerable. I respect immensely Rushing Fall (#4), the 4-5 morning-line favorite, who has seven wins and one second in eight career starts, but I think this might be the best overall group she has faced and there are a couple of challengers who have run faster than her. She is the most likely winner, but I think there are several better plays this weekend.

Jaipur Invitational Stakes (2:41 p.m. ET): Disco Partner (#6) won this race in 2017 and 2018, setting a world record in 2017 when he completed the three-quarter-mile race in 1:05.67. He’s not the favorite in the race, however, as World of Trouble (#8) enters on a four-race winning streak. World of Trouble figures to be very tough if allowed to set an uncontested pace. You’d have to think he’ll be challenged early but there are no true dedicated front-runners in the field. I give a slight edge to Disco Partner on a course he loves, but if no one challenges World of Trouble early the race will be over after a quarter of a mile.

Acorn Stakes (3:22 p.m. ET): Serengeti Empress (#1) is a bit of an all-or-nothing type. When she is on her game, she can be damn near unbeatable as she was in a dominant win in the Longines Kentucky Oaks. She should have company early in this race, and while she has won from off the pace she seems to excel when setting the tempo. Maiden winner Guarana (#7) was pegged the morning-line favorite off a debut win and I think Cookie Dough (#3) and Fancy Dress Party (#5) should love this one-turn mile. I’m passing on the race for Stay Lucky but will try Fancy Dress Party at 10-1 at the betting windows.

Woody Stephens Stakes (4:04 p.m. ET): I’m all in on regally bred Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Honest Mischief (#1). I understand this is a tough spot for a stakes debut, but I think this colt is the real deal and I’ll play him for Stay Lucky and at any price near his 6-1 morning-line odds at the betting window.

Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (4:46 p.m. ET): Terrific group of racehorses for the one-turn mile, but I’m a believer in Mitole (#3) and have been for a while. I think he could turn into a superstar this year. Firenze Fire (#7) absolutely loves this main track and there are several elite runners in here, which is the only reason I don’t have Mitole higher this week.

Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap (5:26 p.m. ET): Limari (#7) has won four straight and sure looks ready for her stakes debut for Brad Cox. Most of the top jockeys are up at Belmont Park for the Belmont Stakes card, but notice regular rider Florent Geroux stays in Louisville to ride this one.

Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (5:36 p.m. ET): After a dominant season debut, Bricks and Mortar (#8) has had to work in each of his next two races, winning by a nose and a half-length. He’s won eight of his 10 starts and is 2-for-3 on the grass at Belmont, but his one loss did come on this inner-turf course. He’ll be a popular Stay Lucky pick this weekend — and for very good reason — but I’m leaning toward stablemate Robert Bruce (#3) here at a more appealing price.

Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (6:37 p.m. ET): I was surprised Tacitus (#10) was favored on the morning-line in this race over Preakness winner War of Will (#9), but I do think he’s the most likely winner. Sire Tapit is responsible for three of the last five Belmont winners, Tacitus has some tactical speed, he’s well rested, and he’s as fast as any horse in the race.

Woodford Reserve Brooklyn Invitational Stakes (8 p.m. ET): Rocketry (#6) was left with too much ground to make up late in the Flat Out Stakes, but I think jockey Joel Rosario will keep him a bit closer here in a race with almost no speed. Not a top play, but if you sitting on a goose egg or one win, why not take a shot here in the last race of the day.

Sunday, June 9

Hendrie Stakes (5:28 p.m. ET): Summer Sunday (#6) is 5-for-5 on synthetic surfaces and looks like a formidable favorite in this race. I really liked Katie Baby’s (#5) comeback race, a five-length win, after she was Canadian classic-placed as a 3-year-old and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her take another step up in her second start after a long layoff. She’s the play but I wouldn’t stake a big streak on it.

Mike’s Top Stay Lucky Plays

(0 winners from 2 top plays in 2018)

1. Newspaperofrecord (Wonder Again Stakes)

2. Homerique (New York Stakes)

3. Tacitus (Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets)

4. Mitole (Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap)

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