Stay Lucky Picks: Big Weekend at Woodbine, Keeneland

Fans enjoy the races at Woodbine earlier during the 2019 meet. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

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 weekend’s Stay Lucky slate is highlighted by the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Presented by Lane's End Saturday at Keeneland and a trio of graded stakes at Woodbine.

Friday, Oct. 11

Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes (5:30 p.m. ET): Morticia (#3) is the tepid favorite in a full field that includes seven horses between 9-2 and 8-1 odds. She loves Keeneland, however, with two wins, a second, and two thirds in five starts on the grass at the Lexington track. She’s also in terrific form coming off a nice win in a $500,000 graded stakes at Kentucky Downs.

Saturday, Oct. 12

Nearctic Stakes (4:30 p.m. ET): European 3-year-old filly Woody Creek (#7) gets a huge nine to 11-pound weight break in an open race facing older males and she’s probably just as fast as any of them. It’s a tough test, but I think she’s up to the task against a solid, but unspectacular group.

E. P. Taylor Stakes (5:05 p.m. ET): I’ve often overlooked Starship Jubilee (#8) over the years, but she’s a classy racemare who looks like the lone speed in this race and could get an ideal setup. She can be very game in the stretch when she has the lead, and while I think the European contingent is strong, I think Starship Jubilee will be very tough to catch.

Sands Point Stakes (5:13 p.m. ET): I expect New and Improved (#5) to be favored as the more inspiring of the two Chad Brown runners, but I prefer Romantic Pursuit (#6) cutting back in distance here. I think her tactical speed will put her in good position at the top of the stretch and she’ll have a great shot to win, hopefully at a decent price.

Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Presented by Lane's End (5:30 p.m. ET): Cambier Parc (#3) was very impressive in winning the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks Presented by The Jockey Club by 1 ¼ lengths Aug. 17. She’s been terrific in her last three races but faces a very good field here that includes four others coming out of stakes wins as well as a French classic winner and a Grade 2-placed runner from the barn of Queen Elizabeth II. I’ll look for an easier spot.

Pattison Canadian International Stakes (5:42 p.m. ET): Ziyad (#1) looks like the class of the field and could be hard to catch if permitted to dictate the pace on his own terms. He looks like he gets pretty brave when he has a lead in the stretch. Typically, I prefer a horse with experience and, ideally, a win on the Woodbine turf, which makes last year’s Canadian International winner Desert Encounter (#4) very intriguing. I’m going against that preference here and picking Ziyad to win.

Monday, Oct. 14

Knickerbocker Stakes (TBD p.m. ET): Analysis to come once race entries become available.

Mike’s Top Stay Lucky Plays

(26 winners from 41 top plays in 2019)

1. Ziyad (Pattison Canadian International Stakes)

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