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.

E.g., Saturday, October 25, 2014

    Mike Battaglia

    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 4, 2014

    1st Race: REBECCA’S SURPRISE (#2) is an extremely consistent runner from the barn of Kelly Breen. She has won 7 of her last 12 starts and appears to be in a good spot for another win today. DEFOE STREET (#7) looked very sharp winning at Churchill and a repeat of that performance makes her the one to beat. RUSTICANA (#6) fits in here.

     

    2nd Race: INCREMENTAL (#7) hooked a tough field in his Churchill debut in June and ran well to finished third last out at Saratoga. Trainer Al Stall Jr. figures to have him ready to win with Johnny V. picking up the mount. THIRTYSEVENLIVESON (#8) is a half-brother to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mine That Bird and multiple Grade 1 winner Dullahan trained by Dale Romans. He needed his race at Churchill and should like today's added distance. A DAY IN PARADISE (#5) rates a chance.

     

    3rd Race: GOT LUCKY (#5) is also entered in tomorrow's Juddmonte Spinster (G1) and with just 6 horses slated to run in that race I would be surprised to see her run in here. If she does, she should win at short odds. GRACEFUL RIDGE (#3) has been off since winning a race in July but she has been training well for her return. She ran well at Churchill and can win this one with Mike Smith picking up the mount. IMPETUOUS YOUTH (#4) has the speed to be dangerous.

     

    4th Race: STARBOUND (#9) just missed last out in a game effort and had a solid work over the new Keeneland dirt track. He should get a good trip from the outside post and looks best in this one. FRAMMENTO (#6) ran well in his debut at Saratoga and should move forward off that effort. JACK TRIPP (#5) rates a chance.

     

    5th race – Woodford Presented by Keeneland Select (G3): NO NAY NEVER (#9), a Group 1 winner in France last year for Wesley Ward, makes his first start since a runner-up finish in the Swale (G2) in March. He is back on the grass, where he is undefeated in three races and has been training very well for his return. Mike Smith picks up the mount and he looks best in a very competitive renewal of the Woodford. SPRING TO THE SKY (#11) is riding a three-race win streak and should be on or near the lead from the outside post with John Velazquez up. MARCHMAN (#10) won the Shakertown (G3) here in April and is a definite threat.

     

    6th Race – Thoroughbred Club of America (G2): STONETASTIC (#5) ran well in her first five races but has shown tremendous improvement since returning to the races after a six-month layoff. She destroyed the field in the Prioress (G2) and if she takes to the Keeneland surface she should win the TCA for trainer Kelly Breen with Paco Lopez back aboard. R FREE FROLL (#3) also comes in off an impressive win at Saratoga. She is riding a three-race win streak and will be tough with Mike Smith up. SOUTHERN HONEY (#6) was no match for the top pick last out but has been training sharply here at Keeneland.

     

    7th Race – First Lady (G1): FILIMBI (#1) didn't fire last out at Saratoga but may not have cared for the turf, which was labeled as good. She looked very sharp beating Dayatthespa in her previous start and should benefit from what figures to be a fast pace today. Look for her to rebound and give her the slight edge. DAYATTHESPA (#7) loves the Keeneland lawn, where she was second in this race last year. She likes to be on or near the lead and will be tough to pass with John Velazquez riding. SOMALI LEMONADE (#8) is good right now and has to be respected. 

     

    8th Race – Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1): BOLD CONQUEST (#6) had a wide trip in the Iroquois (G3) and just missed in a game effort. He should be in good position behind what figures to be a fast pace and he rates the slight edge in a wide-open renewal of the Breeders’ Futurity. HASHTAG BOURBON (#10) was beaten by the top pick in the Iroquois but had a rough trip and posted a recent bullet work over this track. CARPE DIEM (#5) was a $1.6 million purchase at the March sale at Ocala. He looked good breaking his maiden and has to be respected.

     

    9th Race – Shadwell Turf Mile (G1): WISE DAN (#6) is quite simply one of the best turf milers who have ever raced. He came back from colic surgery to post a game win in the Bernard Baruch (G2) despite giving runner up Optimizer 11 pounds and he has been training sharply since that score. Look for another top performance today in the $1 million Shadwell. SILVER MAX (#4) threw in an uncharacteristic bad race last out but figures to make the lead and is always tough to catch. SEEK AGAIN (#8) is a solid contender.

     

    10th Race: PATTITUDE (#4) was no match for a Wesley Ward speedball at Kentucky Downs but was clearly second best in that one. She shouldn't mind the move to the dirt and could spring the mild upset in here. ENCHANTRESS (#7) and ZEVEN (#9) are both well-bred first-timers from tough barns.

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