Stay Lucky Picks: Fireworks for Holiday Weekend

Fans check out the horses in the paddock at Belmont Park. (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?

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, the Stars and Stripes Festival at Belmont Park takes center stage, Delaware Park hosts a trio of graded stakes, and a veteran sprinter returns to his favorite turf course for the Parx Dash Stakes. Opportunity knocks!

Friday, July 5

Iowa Oaks (9:27 p.m. ET): Lady Apple (#2) will be a popular choice this week. She’s a personal favorite of mine and I view her as the most likely winner. That said, only two favorites in the last 10 years have won this race and there have been some big favorites upset shipping to an unfamiliar track in Iowa. I’m not saying avoid Lady Apple, but if I had a big streak I’d tread lightly.

Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (10:33 p.m. ET): Like the Iowa Oaks above, favorites are only 2-for-10 in this race since 2009. Unlike the Iowa Oaks, there does not appear to be a clear standout with six horses between 9-2 and 8-1 on the morning-line. I’m looking at other options for Stay Lucky this week.

Saturday, July 6

Dwyer Stakes (3:55 p.m. ET): Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve runner-up Code of Honor (#3) rates a class edge here and ran a nice race on this track a year ago when he overcame a terrible start to run second in a Grade 1 race. He’s the pick in the Dwyer, but a couple of points of caution if you have a major streak. Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey often uses comeback races as steppingstones to bigger targets (Runhappy Travers Stakes in this case) so Code of Honor might not be fully cranked for this race, and this field is sneaky good with a dangerous lone-speed horse riding a four-race winning streak in Majid (#6).

Kent Stakes (4:03 p.m. ET): While this race did not draw the depth and quality of the Belmont Derby Invitational, another 3-year-old turf race on Saturday, this is an interesting group. Among the top contenders are He’s No Lemon (#5), who is an also-eligible for the Belmont Derby; Todd Pletcher’s stakes winner Empire of War (#1), and Award Winner (#2) off an impressive win at Churchill Downs. While I really like Award Winner, I landed on Critical Data (#3) coming off a fast-closing third in his U.S. debut, who could be a nice price for a trainer without the name recognition of some of the others in here. I’m hoping for a price, but I’ll look elsewhere for Stay Lucky.

Parx Dash Stakes (4:09 p.m. ET): Pure Sensation (#7) finished third as the 9-10 favorite last year in this race and busted quite a few Stay Lucky streaks in the process, but he is 5-for-6 lifetime at Parx, won a race at this course and distance in September 2018, and enters off victories in his two races this season. I think he gets his third win in the Parx Dash on Saturday and he rates a top play.

Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (4:30 p.m. ET): Newspaperofrecord (#2) came into 2019 with a megaphone of buzz and has disappointed in her two starts, including a no-excuse second to stablemate and Belmont Oaks entrant Cambier Parc (#9) in a Grade 3 race on this inner turf course on June 6. This may cost me, especially against a terrific group here, but I’m going to the well once more with Newspaperofrecord. I really believe in the talent and she looks like the lone speed if jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. can get her to relax early.

Delaware Oaks (4:37 p.m. ET): Last year’s champion 2-year-old filly Jaywalk (#6) was pegged the 6-5 morning-line favorite in this race, but she’s winless in three starts this season and does not look like the world beater she did in 2018. Granted, Jaywalk gets some much needed class relief here after a sixth-place finish (disqualified and placed 13th) in the Longines Kentucky Oaks, but I’m skeptical. I’m going to look to her inside and Fashion Faux Pas (#5), who freaked in her first try stretching out on dirt when winning a stakes on this track by 14 ½ lengths on June 5.

John A. Nerud Stakes (5:05 p.m. ET): I love Promises Fulfilled (#9) cutting back in distance here after finishing third and fourth in his previous two starts behind the freaky-fast Mitole. This is his third race after a trip to Dubai and I think he’ll halt a four-race losing streak with a monster effort.

Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (5:12 p.m. ET): I don’t have a really strong opinion on this race. I gave a slight edge to Juddmonte Farms homebred Gaining (#2) coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes in stakes races. I think she’s poised to run a big one in her third start of the year.

Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (5:44 p.m. ET): The Belmont Derby drew a full field of 14, plus one also-eligible, and looks like one of the best fields assembled for a turf race this year. Chad Brown entered a pair of unbeaten 3-year-olds among four starters, three Kentucky Derby runners make the shift to the grass, and Aidan O’Brien is shipping over a pair of Galileo colts. This is a hell of a race, but one I’ll avoid for Stay Lucky. I might take a shot on Plus Que Parfait (#5) to light up the toteboard coming off an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

Suburban Handicap (6:18 p.m. ET): Catholic Boy (#1) won his season debut on the grass and returns to the main track here at what I believe is his best distance of 1 ¼ miles. This is a nice group for the Suburban, but I think Catholic Boy is the best of the bunch by a decent margin and prevails here after saving ground throughout.

Great Lady M Stakes (7:58 p.m. ET): Marley’s Freedom (#2) has a class advantage over her six opponents, having won this race a year ago and four other graded stakes. Marley’s Freedom has lost two in a row as the odds-on favorite coming into the Great Lady M, but those were both runner-up finishes against tough competition. Anonymity (#3), Danuska’s My Girl (#4, entering on a four-race winning streak), and Yuvetsi (#6) are worthy contenders, but Marley's Freedom has been training well for Bob Baffert since her last race and is a good bet to get back to the winner’s circle on Saturday.–Patrick Reed

Mike’s Top 3 Stay Lucky Plays

(5 winners from 9 top plays in 2019)

1. Pure Sensation (Parx Dash Stakes)

2. Promises Fulfilled (John A. Nerud Stakes)

3. Catholic Boy (Suburban Handicap)

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