Expert Picks - Mike Battaglia

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    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.

    Wednesday, October 7, 2015

    1st Race: TUSK (#10) was third behind Dixiana Bourbon (G3) runner-up Camelot Kitten at Belmont and trainer Graham Motion adds blinkers for this one. He appears to be in a good spot to pick up his maiden win with Drayden Van Dyke picking up the mount. ENTERTAINER (#11) tries the turf for the first time but he was beaten just 3½ lengths by Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Brody’s Cause at Churchill. If he takes to the surface he will be hard to handle. CITY FLYER (#2) makes his third start for red-hot trainerMark Casse and has to be respected.

    2nd Race: TIZ SEXY NOW (#4) was dead last in a turf race last out but moves back to the dirt today. She ran her best race over this track a year ago and a repeat of that one makes her a winner in here. I AM SUPERIOR TOO (#7) ran well when dropped in for a tag at Churchill and could add value to the gimmicks. COOL COMFORT (#5) has the speed to be dangerous. 

    3rd Race: I’MBETTERTHANGOOD (#7) didn't run well at Saratoga but drops a notch in class for his return to Kentucky. His best would be good enough to win this one. BLUEGRASS BEAT (#2) takes the big class drop and figures to be the main competition. DERBY DAY KITTEN (#4) is a contender. 

    4th Race: ROBILLARD (#4) looked good winning back-to-back races earlier this year but faltered against some tough company at Saratoga. She is capable of rebounding and rates the slight edge in a very well-matched allowance race. ALJALELA (#9) is undefeated in two career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher and will be tough beat with John Velazquez up. ASPERITES (#2) comes off a game score at Kentucky Downs and is a solid threat.

    5th Race: BIG LEGACY (#7) comes off a sharp win over the synthetic surface at Arlington but runs equally well on the dirt. He has the speed to be on or near the lead throughout and looks like a winner with Florent Geroux picking up the mount for Dale Bennett. POLITICAL JUSTICE (#5) is also in top form. He was claimed last out by Bret Calhoun and is definitely the one to beat. SLAN ABHAILE (#6) is also coming off of the claim by Ramsey/Maker and has to be respected. 

    6th Race: BANREE (#8) broke her maiden her against the boys in April and has run in graded stakes races since that score. She hooks much easier today and trainer Wesley Ward should have her ready to win with Mike Smith picking up the mount. PRAIRIE CHICK (#5) beat Illinois-bred runners last out but did it impressively and has to be respected. MIDNIGHT ON OCONEE (#1) also looked good in her maiden score. 

    7th Race – JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) – HARMONIZE (#4) showed big improvement winning a stakes race in her second career start. She has speed but showed that she could rate last out and looks like a solid bet to take the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) with Junior Alvarado back up for Bill Mott. THEORY OF CHANGE (#8) closed strongly to break her maiden at first asking at Saratoga. She should benefit from what figures to be a lively pace and looks like the one to beat. DELICATE LADY (#10) was third in the Adirondack (G2) and will be tough if she handles the move to the turf.

    8th Race: PERFECT SAINT (#2) didn't show much on the Kentucky Downs turf in his debut but should like the move to dirt today. He is capable of springing the mild upset for trainer Dale Romans and jockey Corey Lanerie. STAND GUARD (#8) closed ground in his only race at Churchill and has been training well over the Keeneland strip. IRISH COLONEL (#9) is a definite threat.




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