Stay Lucky Picks: Exciting Weekend on Tap at Del Mar

The focus shifts to Del Mar for the Stay Lucky schedule this weekend. (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!

weekend TV schedule

Thursday, Aug. 20: 1-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, Aug. 21: 1-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Aug. 22: 1-4 p.m. ET on FS1; 4-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Aug. 23: 1-6 p.m. ET on FS1; post time varies on TVG

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 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 a deep schedule at Del Mar for the TVG Pacific Classic undercard. While the Pacific Classic did not draw enough runners to qualify for Stay Lucky, the undercard offers many exciting races to choose from, including the Del Mar Handicap Presented by Japan Racing Association, which offers a fees-paid entry to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Meanwhile at Saratoga, the Fourstardave Handicap is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

The Pacific Classic and Del Mar Handicap will both be televised live on TVG as part of their comprehensive coverage of racing at Del Mar. The Fourstardave will be shown on NYRA's “Saratoga Live” telecast on FS2

Friday, Aug. 21

Rancho Bernardo Handicap (9 p.m. ET): Gingham (#1) looked great cutting back in distance in her most recent start for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, but she steps up to face older females here, including Great Lady M Stakes winner Sneaking Out (#5) and that race’s third-place finisher Amuse (#6). You could make a case for Sneaking Out as a play given she’s had success on this track and boasts good recent form, but I’ll pass and look for a better spot.

Saturday, Aug. 22

Fourstardave Handicap (5:46 p.m. ET): This race drew the top three finishers from a year ago in 2019 winner Got Stormy (#4), runner-up Raging Bull (#1), and third-place finisher Uni (#6), who would go on to defeat males in the 2019 TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile. Uni came up a little short in her first start off a layoff of nearly eight months and should improve on a turf course she really likes. Likewise, Got Stormy has gone off form but is 2-for-2 on this turf course with a career-best effort. Raging Bull will carry high weight in a deep, talented nine-horse field and brings the best form to the race, but I prefer Uni slightly in this spot and I expect her stablemate Without Parole (#8) to also run a big one. Terrific race, but less than ideal for Stay Lucky purposes.

Green Flash Handicap (6 p.m. ET): With plenty of speed in this race, I like Sparky Ville (#1) to make a big run from off the pace. He enters off a nice win in his first try on this turf course and he’s a proven commodity at the graded stakes level. It’s a solid field, though, and I don’t think he’s an especially safe pick this week.

Torrey Pines Stakes (6:30 p.m. ET): There are three very interesting, lightly raced fillies in here who look capable of taking a big step forward here in Secret Keeper (#2), Harvest Moon (#3), and Provocation (#6). I think any one of them could win and both Aurelia Garland (#5) and Merneith (#7) also look like win candidates, so I’ll try elsewhere this week.

Del Mar Handicap Presented by The Japan Racing Association (8 p.m. ET): I’ll make United (#1) my top play of the weekend. He’s run very well on this turf course with two wins and a second in three starts and he’s on a three-race graded stakes winning streak.

Del Mar Oaks (9 p.m. ET): A couple of talented European invaders making their debuts for new barns in the U.S., plus the top three finishers from the Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes make this a fun betting race but probably not ideal for Stay Lucky purposes. I landed on French Group 2 winner Miss Extra (#3) in her first start for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.

Sunday, Aug. 22

Del Mar Mile Handicap (9 p.m. ET): Both Mo Forza (#4) and Bob and Jackie (#11) have put up huge races on the grass at Del Mar, with the former winning a Grade 1 on this turf course last November and the latter 3-for-3 on the Del Mar grass. Galilean (#3) won his first try on turf July 26 at Del Mar in an impressive grass debut, and Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella will saddle for the first time a South American Group 1 winner riding a five-race winning streak in Royal Ship (#7). Sharp Samurai (#6), who is cross-entered in the TVG Pacific Classic, has finished in the top three in this race in each of the previous two editions and also looms a major player if he starts in the race. I’m looking elsewhere for Stay Lucky purposes, but I think Mo Forza would be the play if I didn’t have a significant streak riding on the outcome.

Mike Top Stay Lucky Pick

(20 winners from 39 top plays in 2020)

1. United (Del Mar Handicap Presented by The Japan Racing Association)

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