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 29, 2016


    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 29, 2016

    1st Race: BLUE RIDGE GIRL (#4) showed nothing in her last race but that was on the turf and her first start back after a seven month layoff. She posted a solid work here on Sunday and rates the edge on the class drop. TELLING METZIE (#2) just missed last out and has the speed to be on or near the lead. She is the one to catch. ALWAYS AND FOREVER (#3) fits with these.


    2nd Race: FOURTH OF JULY (#7) comes off a couple of solid races on the all-weather at Arlington but should like the move back to dirt. He ran well over this track last year and his best would make him a winner for trainer Wayne Catalano with Florent Geroux picking up the mount. MEDIA TIME (#2) figures to be prominent throughout and is the one to catch. SIDEARM (#1) drops in class for trainer Tom Amoss and is a contender.


    3rd: BROOKS HOUSE (#3) rallied from far back to finish third and should be a bit closer in the early going today. Give her the slight edge in what looks like a wide-open maiden race. BRISSON (#5) ran well in her turf debut at Kentucky Downs and had a sharp work here last week. Look for a good effort from her today. DONA ELBA (#8) narrowly beat the top pick last out and is a definite threat.


    4th Race: OKBYCYA (#8) drops in class and appears to have caught a fairly weak bunch. Give her the edge, DIAMONDINTHEROUGH (#3) was well backed in her debut but stopped badly after flashing some early speed. She is capable of better. SUPER WONDERFUL (#6) comes off a long layoff but is a contender.


    5th Race: THRILLED (#3) rebounded from a couple of dull efforts with a solid runner-up finish last out. She figures to get a good trip right behind the early leaders and gets the nod with Florent Geroux picking up the mount for trainer Todd Pletcher. DEAR ELAINE (#2) exits the same race as the top pick. She probably needed that race after a two-month break and is eligible to improve for Charlie LoPresti. FUHRIOUSLY KISSED (#1) will be running at the end and rates a chance.


    6th Race: GIANT PAYDAY (#12) was rightly disqualified from a win over the Churchill Downs turf in September but he looked very sharp winning that one despite running greenly through the stretch. He has trained well for Ian Wilkes, who has had an excellent Keeneland meet and looks best in this one. UNTIMED PLAY (#4) was the one victimized by Giant Payday's erratic stretch run. He was beaten less than three lengths after checking and looks like the one to beat. CEDARVILLE (#8) has had problems at the gate in both of his races and will be tough if he breaks well today.


    7th Race: DOMINANT CLASS (#3) was fourth behind a front-running winner in his debut at Churchill. She drops a notch in class and can win this one with Corey Lanerie back aboard for trainer Eddie Kenneally. NO LACA TALENT (#4) debuts for trainer Wesley Ward off a series of solid works. HIPPOLYTE (#8) had a bullet work on Oct. 20 and has to be respected.


    8th Race: WALKING THE KITTEN (#7) has been very consistent this year, finishing in the money in seven of her eight races. She comes off a sharp win over the Keeneland lawn and is capable of the repeat score for trainer Mike Maker and jockey Julien Leparoux. SALAMA (#1) is winless since coming to the U.S. but has faced better and will be tough as she drops into an allowance race today. CANDY CRUSH (#3) is capable of a solid performance with Corey Lanerie picking up the mount.


    9th Race – Hagyard Fayette (G2) -- NOBLE BIRD (#2) is a Grade 1 winner who comes off a sharp score in the Lukas Classic at Churchill. He is a bit temperamental but if he runs his best race he figures to win the Fayette for trainer Mark Casse and jockey Julien Leparoux. DIVINING ROD (#8) won the 2015 Coolmore Lexington (G3) and is undefeated in two starts this year. He looks second best. PRAYER FOR RELIEF (#6) has been idle since returning from Dubai but has the class to be dangerous.

    10th Race: UNBRIDLED OUTLAW (#9) came up a bit short in his first race back after a three-month layoff. He should move forward off that effort and can win this one for trainer Dale Romans with Corey Lanerie aboard. EKHLASS (#2) has been running well in New York, where he has finished in the money in six of his seven races. He is definitely the one to beat. HOMESPUN HERO (#4) is a contender. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016



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