Stay Lucky Picks: Autumn Action From Belmont, Keeneland

Turf racing at Belmont Park. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Welcome to the 2020 Stay Lucky season with 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 seven 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 headlined by the final slate of Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” races at Belmont Park plus several interesting graded stakes at Keeneland Race Course, led by the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Presented by Dixiana.

Friday, Oct. 9

Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes (5:30 p.m. ET): I expect Got Stormy (#10) to be a popular play this week, and I plan to play her with an active streak of two wins, but keep in mind that she finished third in her only start on this turf course and she’s really shortening up here to 5 ½ furlongs.

Saturday, Oct. 10

Frizette Stakes (2:30 p.m. ET): I lean toward Vequist (#1) in this spot, but I typically avoid 2-year-old filly races for Stay Lucky because they can be so unpredictable as the horses stretch out in distance for the first time. Vequist can rate off the pace, which I think will be useful here in a race with quite a few runners who appear to be gunning for the front early.

Monmouth Stakes (3:53 p.m. ET): On paper, Almanaar (#4) looks like a clear favorite for trainer Chad Brown, but he has not raced since winning this race a year ago in May 2019. That’s a 16-month layoff if you’re counting at home. Is he the best horse in this race? I believe he is. Will he perform like the best horse after 1 ¼ years off? Very tough to predict, although Brown does win at 34% off a layoff of 180 days or longer.

Flower Bowl Stakes (4:14 p.m. ET): I’m a believer in Cambier Parc (#1) and I think she simply needed a race when second in her most recent start in the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine. She’s one of three Chad Brown runners entered in this race and Civil Union (#3) enters off a nice Grade 2 win at Saratoga for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, but I do think Cambier Parc gets the job done here. With John Velazquez back aboard I could see her leading from start to finish.

Hagyard Fayette Stakes (4:57 p.m. ET): Quite a few of the runners in here have gone off form, but I thought Title Ready (#5) ran better than it looks on paper in a Grade 2 race at Churchill in his most recent start when he was beaten by 4 ¾ lengths by By My Standards, who would be the 1-5 favorite in here. Prior to that race, Title Ready won an allowance race on the main track at Keeneland in his first race back off a long layoff. Making his third start of the year, I think Title Ready is set up for a peak performance.

Sands Point Stakes (5:20 p.m. ET): As much as I dislike betting 2-year-old fillies on the main track, I absolutely love betting fillies on the grass and this race, in particular, has always been one of my favorites. I’m going to try to hit on a filly I believe will be a nice price here in Miss J McKay (#5), who is stretching out to a mile and picks up the services of John Velazquez. Miss J McKay has competed exclusively in stakes in her last seven races, she’s never finished out of the top three in eight career starts, and she finishes very well. I’ll bet her aggressively if she’s fair value on the toteboard.

Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Presented by Dixiana (5:30 p.m. ET): Magic Attitude (#4) was Group 1-placed in France and finished only three lengths behind the winner in the French Oaks. She came to the U.S. and won the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes by 2 ¼ lengths Sept. 19. She looks like the class of the field and there appears to be sufficient pace to set up her closing speed.

Sunday, Oct. 11

Futurity Stakes (4:12 p.m. ET): This six-furlong turf sprint for 2-year-olds is a tough race for Stay Lucky purposes with multiple possible winners among 11 entrants. I’d suggest looking elsewhere.

Matron Stakes (5:20 p.m. ET): I expect Royal Approval (#7) to be even shorter odds than the 9-5 she is listed at on the morning line, but I prefer Magisterium (#8) to her outside with two wins and two close seconds in four starts in England. She’ll be making her first start for new trainer Christophe Clement and I think she could be a serious racehorse.

Durham Cup Stakes (5:42 p.m. ET): Skywire (#1) is the play for me here. I think he’ll get an ideal stalking trip here and he’s very good on the synthetic main track at Woodbine with three wins and two seconds in seven races. I also don’t really like morning-line favorite Armistice Day (#7) at all in this spot and third choice, Salute With Honor (#3), figures to have company up front.

Mike's Top Stay Lucky Picks

(27 winners from 54 top plays in 2020)

1. Got Stormy (Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes)

2. Magic Attitude (Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Presented by Dixiana)

newsletter sign-up

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