Stay Lucky Picks: Spotlight on Stellar Weekend at Spa

Horses break out of the starting gate during a race Aug. 22 at Saratoga. (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. 27: 1-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, Aug. 28: 1-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Aug. 29: 12:30-2 p.m. ET on FS1; 2-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Aug. 30: noon-1 p.m. ET on NBC; 1-2:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 2:30-6 p.m. ET on FS1; 6-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 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?

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 a terrific card Saturday at Saratoga that is anchored by the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Stakes, which offers a free entry to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. The Stay Lucky weekend schedule also features the Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar, an automatic qualifer for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

The Sword Dancer will be shown on NYRA's “Saratoga Live” telecast on FS2. Saturday's Pat O'Brien Stakes will be televised live on TVG as part of their comprehensive coverage of racing at Del Mar. Post time is set for 9:30 p.m. ET.

Friday, Aug. 28

Lake George Stakes (5:46 p.m. ET): Sweet Melania (#1) returned from a long layoff and led from start to finish in a 3 ½-length win in the Grade 3 Wonder Again Stakes June 20. She looks like the controlling speed and the class of the field. A top play.

Charles Town Oaks (9:43 p.m. ET): I like Boerne (#2) a little bit at the 5-1 morning-line odds, but there is some additional speed in here that I would expect could complicate things and a couple of fillies with significant back class with a chance to bounce back. I also never feel confident recommending a track I rarely play and this race is unusual in that it is a two-turn, seven-eighths of a mile sprint. Too many variables to make Boerne a play this week.

Charles Town Classic Stakes (10:18 p.m. ET): Last year was the first time I ever cashed a ticket in this three-turn, 1 1/8-mile race when Runnin’toluvya (#5) won at 9.60-1, but he is not in anywhere near the form he was a year ago so I’m skeptical about his chances to repeat here. Most of the obvious choices in here prefer to close from off the pace, but I think you need tactical speed to win this race and I landed on Multiplier (#10) even though I really dislike the outside post in the 10-horse field. But there is no way I’d risk a significant streak on this race, and if Runnin’toluvya creeps up into the 20-1 odds range I’ll put a couple of bucks on him regaining his top form at his home track.

Saturday, Aug. 29

Saranac Stakes (2:18 p.m. ET): I’ve always been fond of promising European invaders joining quality barns in the U.S., and Chad Brown looks like he’s adding a significant talent in L’Imperator (#4) coming off three straight wins in France.

Eatontown Stakes (2:29 p.m. ET): Tough to look past Nay Lady Nay (#7), one of three fillies/mares entered by trainer Chad Brown in this race. Nay Lady Nay is 2-for-2 on this turf course and closed brilliantly with a final three-eighths of a mile in about 34 2/5 seconds to win the Grade 3 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes here July 18. Worth a Stay Lucky play for sure.

Ontario Colleen Stakes (4:17 p.m. ET): It’s tough to be too confident in my support for Walk In Marrakesh (#2) given she has yet to win in five starts in North America, but unlike many of the others in here she has solid turf form. She also enters off what was arguably her best race since coming to North America when running second by a nose in the Grade 2 Appalachian Stakes and is Grade 1-placed on the grass at Woodbine. I think she is a solid play this week.

Forego Stakes presented by America's Best Racing (5:07 p.m. ET): This wide-open sprint is a fun betting race, but for Stay Lucky purposes I’m looking elsewhere. From a gambling perspective, I’m hoping for a nice price on Win Win Win (#7).

Sword Dancer Stakes (5:43 p.m. ET): In Aquaphobia (#2), Channel Maker (#4), Cross Border (#6), and Sadler’s Joy (#8), you have four veterans of the upper ranks of the turf male division capable of winning this race with a top effort. I’m also interested in Pedro Cara (#7) making his first start for trainer Graham Motion. I’ll try to beat Aquaphobia and Cross Border and work out a trifecta ticket, but I wouldn’t touch the race for Stay Lucky purposes.

Pat O'Brien Stakes (9:30 p.m. ET): There are several quality sprinters in here capable of a big effort to win a Grade 2 race like this. I like the form C Z Rocket (#5) brings into this race, and while he does not have a start on this main track, he did post his career-best 119 Equibase Speed Figure at this distance. He’s the pick in a tough race.

Sunday, Aug. 30

Shuvee Handicap (5:46 p.m. ET): With four horses listed between 3-1 and 9-2 on the morning-line odds, this is not an ideal spot for a Stay Lucky play. Of course, if you are back close to zero like me you might as well swing away. I’ll try Nonna Madeline (#6) coming off a stakes win at this track and at this distance.

Mike's Top Stay Lucky Picks

(20 winners from 40 top plays in 2020)

1. Nay Lady Nay (Eatontown Stakes)

2. Sweet Melania (Lake George Stakes)

3. L’Imerator (Saranac Stakes)

4. Walk In Marrakesh (Ontario Colleen Stakes)

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