Expert Picks - Mike Battaglia

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Let our experts help you handicap the day's races at Keeneland.

Please note that selections typically are available about 48 hours in advance of the race.

Saturday, October 28, 2017


    Mike is Keeneland’s longtime odds maker and is recognized as being one of the best handicappers in America. In addition to his duties at Keeneland, he is a racing analyst for NBC’s Thoroughbred racing coverage.

    Saturday, October 28, 2017

    1st Race: CHARITY STRIPE (#4) has been off since August but drops in class for her return. She won a race over this track in April and appears to be in a fairly easy spot today. CHASING THE BUCK (#3) has the speed to be in contention throughout and is the one to beat. AXIAL LOAD (#6) is a contender.

    2nd Race: MORE THAN SHIRL (#6) was claimed from a winning effort last out at Churchill by Ingrid Mason, who has a solid record with her first claims. He moves up in class but is capable of the repeat score with James Graham aboard. GOOFLEADO (#5) takes the class plunge for Tom Bergin and he will be hard to beat at this level. LEROI'S THRILL (#1) ran poorly last out but may have needed that race and ran well here in April.

    3rd Race: PRAY FOR KITTEN (#3) has run well in all three of his races but has been a beaten favorite in two of those starts. He gets the slight edge in here. SURPRISE PRIZE (#9) went evenly last out in his first race since February and should improve. PAR PLAY (#10) is a definite threat.

    4th Race: GRETOUKI (#2) was second in her debut and had a troubled trip last out. Trainer Kenny McPeek drops her in for a tag and she looks best at this level. MERRI MESA (#7) hooked a solid field in her debut at Arlington for trainer Chris Block. She should like the move to the dirt and will be running at the end. BAPA'S PRIDE (#4) is a first-time starter who is also trained by McPeek and she could run well.

    5th Race: BLUE LUTE (#2) hooked next-out stakes winner Snapper Sinclair in his debut. He was never in contention in that one but gets lasix for his return and is capable of a much better performance today. BANDITO (#9) didn't fire as the favorite in his only race at Churchill behind a sharp front running winner. He should like the move to turf and the added distance and is another one who figures to move forward in his second career start. HURRY UP HARRY (#11) debuts for trainer Graham Motion and has to be respected.

    6th Race: AWESOME BOSS (#4) has been ultra-consistent this year finishing in the money in all six of her races. She comes off a close-up third-place finish last out and looks best for trainer Kenny McPeek and jockey Robby Albarado. UPSTAGE (#1) can handle the move back to the dirt and should be in good position from her rail post. She is the one to beat. MISS GRACER (#9) is a solid contender.

    7th Race: GORGEOUS KITTEN (#1A) has been competing in graded stakes races and drops in class today. Entrymate BINGO KITTEN (#1) is a veteran runner who has won four of eight this year. The Ramsey/Maker entry looks formidable with Julien Leparoux and Corey Lanerie riding. ZULU ALPHA (#8) ran a good race to finish third last out and looks like the one to beat off that effort. MR CUB (#5) is improving and has to be considered.

    8th Race: TARQUINIA (#1) ran poorly last out but trainer Mike Maker adds blinkers today and she posted a solid work last week in Louisville. Give her the edge over SHAR RAN (#2) in a close call. SHAR RAN was an impressive maiden winner in April and the runner-up that day won here on Thursday. She will win with her best performance but the long layoff may make her vulnerable. FUN (#5) could wake up at decent odds.

    9th Race – Hagyard Fayette (G2): HONORABLE DUTY (#5) has had an excellent year for trainer Brendan Walsh winning two graded stakes races and finishing second behind Gun Runner in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster. He has the tactical speed to lay right off of the early leaders and gets the nod with Corey Lanerie back aboard. NEOLITHIC (#2) may be the first horse in history to earn $2.2 million without winning a stakes race. He has hooked the best in Gun Runner and Arrogate and he has the speed to be in front. He will be tough to catch. THE PLAYER (#4) rates a chance.

    10th Race: INTO SUMMER (#5) comes off a solid runner-up performance at Kentucky Downs. She will be rallying from just off the pace and rates the edge in the meet's finale. WELL HUMORED (#2) was the easiest kind of winner in her debut. That race was taken off of the turf and she is bred to like the move  to the grass for this one. She could be tough to catch. DREFROCK (#9) exits the same race as the top pick and is a contender. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017



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