Stay Lucky Picks: Jersey Shore Sizzles for Haskell Weekend
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
Courtesy of Mike Curry of America's Best Racing
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?
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 53rd running of the TVG.com Haskell Stakes on Saturday, July 18 at Monmouth Park. This year’s Haskell has the distinction of serving both as a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7 at Keeneland and as a qualifying points prep for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs.
The Haskell will be broadcast live Saturday on NBC from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern as part of their Breeders’ Cup "Win and You're In" series.
This weekend also marks the start of the Saratoga Race Course meet in upstate New York with a pair of Stay Lucky qualifying races on Thursday, July 16, and another on Sarurday, July 18.
Thursday, July 16
Schuylerville Stakes (5:14 p.m. ET): If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might remember that I typically steer clear of races for 2-year-old fillies early in the season. You see quite a few front-running, runaway debut victories that can be deceptive and a young filly capable of putting up a big speed figure when uncontested up front might wilt under sustained pressure. The same goes for 2-year-old males, but I’ve found 2-year-olds fillies to be a bit more unpredictable. While 6-5 favorite Beautiful Memories (#3) and 2-1 second choice Hopeful Princess (#8) look like the logical selection, I don’t believe it’s a two-horse race so I’ll pass for Stay Lucky.
Peter Pan Stakes (5:46 p.m. ET): I don’t really like any of the favorites in here, which makes it a good betting race but a lousy spot for a Stay Lucky play. I’m hoping to get value on Caracaro (#7) making just his third start. I think he’ll get a nice trip either up front or just off the pace and there is more upside with him than some of the others that look good but not great.
Saturday, July 18
National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (2:18 p.m. ET): Decorated Invader (#7) is 2-for-2 this year with both clear victories in stakes. He overcame a terrible start to win his season debut and then romped in the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge Stakes as the 3-5 favorite June 20. He’s my best bet of the weekend.
WinStar Matchmaker Stakes (4:06 p.m. ET): I think Varenka (#4) needed a race in her first start of the year against what I believe was a better field than she will face here. The three Chad Brown fillies will take a lot of money, so I’m hoping for a nice price on a filly who is better than she looks on paper after her last start. I’ll pass on the race, however, for Stay Lucky purposes.
Monmouth Cup Stakes (4:40 p.m. ET): This is a pretty evenly-matched group but I landed on Bal Harbour (#9) even though he’s coming off a seven-month layoff. There are five or six legitimate win contenders in here though, so I’ll look for an easier spot for Stay Lucky.
Trillium Stakes (4:55 p.m. ET): I have distance concerns with several of the runners entered in this race, but not Art of Almost (#3). She’s in terrific form for a potent trainer-jockey tandem in Roger Attfield and Emma-Jayne Wilson, and she’s been consistently good on the all-weather surface at Woodbine.
United Nations Stakes (5:12 p.m. ET): Standard Deviation (#2) ran a nice race in Saudi Arabia but lacked late punch in his first start back in the U.S. in the Tiller Stakes in June. I expect a much better performance in this race, but he will face some quality opposition including Grade 1 winner Arklow (#1). I’m siding with Standard Deviation but I don’t feel strongly enough to make him a top play.
Royal North Stakes (5:28 p.m. ET): The pace shape of this race will be very interesting as there are multiple runners who prefer to set or press the pace, including 2019 Royal North winner Summer Sunday (#3), whose only race on the grass in 12 career starts came last year in this race. Another Time (#4) is cross-entered in the Trillium Stakes, but I like her better in this spot staying on the grass and cutting back from a mile. Summer Sunday gets the slight nod in a fairly evenly matched group.
TVG.com Haskell Invitational Stakes (5:48 p.m. ET): I think this is Authentic’s (#2) race to lose. While I respect Dr Post (#1) to his inside, I think at his best Authentic is a standout in this race and his tactical speed will be a huge asset on the main track at Monmouth Park. A top play this week.
Molly Pitcher Stakes (6:51 p.m. ET): She’s a Julie (#1) is a clear standout here on class with multiple Grade 1 wins on the resume, but I think lightly raced Royal Flag (#2) is a really talented filly for trainer Chad Brown and Horologist (#11) is 4-for-4 lifetime on the main track at Monmouth. I still like She’s a Julie to win, but she can be a bit inconsistent.
Mike’s Top Stay Lucky Picks
(15 winners from 31 top plays in 2020)
1. Decorated Invader (National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes)
2. Authentic (TVG.com Haskell Invitational Stakes)
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