Stay Lucky Picks: Travers Card Headlines Exciting Weekend

Horses race in the stretch at Saratoga Race Course earlier in the 2020 summer meet. (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 Television schedule

Thursday, Aug. 6: 2-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, Aug. 7: 1-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Aug. 8: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. ET on FS1; 3-5 p.m. ET on FS2; 5-6:30 p.m. ET on FOX; 6:30-7 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Aug. 9: 1-3 p.m. ET on FS2; 4-5 p.m. ET on FS1; 5-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

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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 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 headlined by the 151stRunhappy Travers Stakes and the undercard at Saratoga Race Course for the “Mid-Summer Derby.” The Travers will be broadcast nationwide on FOX as part of the “Saratoga Live” broadcast, airing from 5 to 6:30 p.m. ET. “Saratoga Live” will also be shown on both FS1 and FS2, alternating between those channels Saturday, and as usual the show will air from Wednesday to Friday and also on Sunday. Saratoga’s Travers undercard on Saturday is highlighted by the Ballerina Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in November.  

Friday, Aug. 7

Saratoga Special Stakes Presented by Miller Lite (5:46 p.m. ET): Cazadero (#6) enters off a Grade 3 win in the Bashford Manor Stakes. He’s a regally-bred Stonestreet Stables homebred and figures to take a lot of money, but I’d avoid this spot if I was sitting on a streak of any significance. With five 2-year-olds between 5-2 and 6-1 on the morning line and six of the 11 runners entering off debut wins, this looks like a more open race than it might appear to be at first glance.

Sorrento Stakes (8:30 p.m. ET): Another race for 2-year-olds – this one for fillies – and with six of the seven runners pegged at 8-1 or less on the morning line. I think 2-1 morning-line favorite September Secret (#2) is vulnerable and prefer My Girl Red (#4), but I don’t feel confident recommending either as a Stay Lucky play as I usually avoid betting 2-year-old filly races until the fall unless they are part of a compelling multi-race sequence or I think there is a runner who offers a ton of value.

Saturday, Aug. 8

Ballerina Stakes (3:42 p.m. ET): With a couple of other speedy types entered who probably will challenge Serengeti Empress (#1), there is a good chance she could be softened up by a fast pace. She ran a monster race last year on this track when second by a half-length to champion female sprinter Covfefe in the Grade 1 Test Stakes. Come Dancing (#7) also has an impressive win on this track having won this race last summer and she has the best Equibase Speed Figure at this distance. I think the race sets up well for Come Dancing and she should improve in her third start of the year.

Troy Stakes (4:22 p.m. ET): With multiple runners who prefer to race on or near the lead, including a dedicated front-runner stepping up in class, I think the pace will be brisk. It could set the Troy up ideally for a closer, and while I do like Imprimis (#1), I prefer Chewing Gum (#7) on the outside coming off three nice allowance races for a Hall of Fame trainer in Bill Mott, who knows when and where to place his runners. I’m hoping for a nice price and plan to play Chewing Gum to win. I don’t have a streak of consequence intact entering the weekend, so I’ll play him for Stay Lucky purposes as well and try to get something going.

Waya Stakes (5:02 p.m. ET): I’ve been waiting for Mrs. Sippy (#1) to return but twice she was scratched, the latter after a race was moved off the turf and onto the main track because of weather. So, Mrs. Sippy makes her season debut in the Waya off a nine-month layoff. That’s a long time to go without a start, but I do think she fits really well here from a class perspective although the lack of pace probably isn’t ideal. I’ll make her a secondary play on a weekend with only one true standout.

Runhappy Travers Stakes (6:15 p.m. ET): Tiz the Law (#6) stands above the opposition when considering class, speed figures, accomplishments, and stamina. I also like that he has tactical speed and can race closer to a leisurely pace or drop back a few lengths if the pace is fast. My top play of the weekend.

Best Pal Stakes (7:30 p.m. ET): Interesting to see a Grade 2 race for 2-year-olds at Del Mar without a Bob Baffert trained runner, but it definitely makes the race a bit more interesting. I like Roderick (#4) best, but he is cross-entered in the Saratoga Special the day before so I’ll have to wait and see which race trainer Wesley Ward chooses. If he ships out west, you can be pretty sure Ward is sending a 2-year-old he believes will run well.

Yellow Ribbon Handicap (9 p.m. ET): Jolie Olimpica (#8) looked very good at this 1 1/16-mile distance when second to Rushing Fall in the Grade 1 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes July 11. This race drew a solid field, but I think she faced better at Keeneland that day and she should be able to control the pace from the front.

Sunday, Aug. 9

La Jolla Handicap (6:30 p.m. ET): I don’t have a strong feeling for a Stay Lucky pick in this race, but I know I’m against 5-2 morning-line favorite Smooth Like Strait (#6). I’m intrigued by Azul Coast (#3) and Storm the Court (#6) making the switch to grass, but I think for betting purposes I’ll try Ajourneytofreedom (#4) coming off a troubled finish at 12-1.

Mike Top Stay Lucky Picks

(19 winners from 36 top plays in 2020)

1. Tiz the Law (Runhappy Travers Stakes)

2. Jolie Olimpica (Yellow Ribbon Stakes)

3. Mrs. Sippy (Waya Stakes)

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