Stay Lucky Picks: Pennsylvania Derby Day Headlines a Loaded Weekend

Fans at Parx Racing enjoy the action on Pennsylvania Derby day in 2014. (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’s Stay Lucky slate is highlighted by Saturday’s $1 million, Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby card at Parx Racing that also features the $1 million, Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, a Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” qualifying race for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The Pennsylvania Derby anchors a one-hour broadcast by NBC Sports on Saturday, airing nationally on NBC from 5 - 6 p.m. ET.

Saturday, Sept. 21

Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup Stakes (3:30 p.m. ET): There are three horses in here who prefer to set the pace, including two need-the-lead types, so I think we could see some fast early fractions. Six-year-old Frontier Market (#6) took some time to develop under trainer Chad Brown and makes his stakes debut here having run first or second in all-but one of his 10 starts. I think he gets the perfect setup and closes to win.

Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash (4 p.m. ET): You could make a compelling case for quite a few of the eight runners entered, which means it’s not an ideal spot for Stay Lucky purposes. I went with He Hate Me (#6), based on recent form, as he’s been very good in his three most recent starts.

Gallant Bob Stakes (4:34 p.m. ET): There is a ton of pace in here that could set this race up for a closer but no obvious off-the-pace candidates with much in the way of class or form. I’m going to take a shot on Bulletin (#9) making the switch from turf to dirt and adding Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. I’ll pass for Stay Lucky.

Noble Damsel Stakes (4:51 p.m. ET): This one-mile turf race drew a competitive six-horse field with four starters having won graded stakes. There’s not a lot of speed entered, and Valedictorian (#6) could control matters from gate to wire if she takes to Belmont’s Widener turf course in her first start on the surface. But she’s not enough of a standout to qualify as a Stay Lucky play. –Patrick Reed

Cotillion Stakes (5:14 p.m. ET): This field came up exceptionally strong for a race restricted to 3-year-old fillies. I’m on board the Guarana (#8) bandwagon and I’ll ride with her here. She’s capable of rating off the pace if the tempo is brisk early or she can press or set the pace; my hunch is she’ll need to do the  former with plenty of speed in this race. It’s a tough race, however, and if I had a nice streak I’d look for an easier spot.

Pennsylvania Derby (5:48 p.m. ET): It seems like Mr. Money (#6) is destined to be a heavy favorite and I have to agree that he looks formidable in this spot. He’s been handled carefully as a 3-year-old, bypassing the Triple Crown races, and rides a four-race winning streak in graded stakes into the Pennsylvania Derby. He’s a top play.

Kelso Handicap (5:57 p.m. ET): Prince Lucky (#5) is two-for-four at Belmont Park and ran the best two races of his career at a one-turn mile earlier this year when taking back-to-back graded stakes at Gulfstream Park, but he’s too inconsistent to use as a Stay Lucky Pick. Pat on the Back (#3) is even better at Belmont (5-for-10 lifetime) and has good tactical speed but is stepping up in class. He’s the play on Saturday, but overall other races on the weekend are more appealing to use for building a Stay Lucky winning streak. –Patrick  Reed

Charles Town Oaks (10:15 p.m. ET): La Chancia (#1), Irish Mischief (#2), and Newly Minted (#5) all ship in off impressive victories, while Parisian Diva (#3) is the local star with seven wins from 10 starts at Charles Town. I gave a slight nod to Newly Minted as she’s cutting back in distance from 1 1/8 miles and unbeaten in four starts on dirt.

Mike’s Top Stay Lucky Play

(21 winners from 32 top plays in 2019)

1. Mr. Money (Pennsylvania Derby)

newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!