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.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015

    1st Race: SET THE SAIL (#6) has been off since July but is training well for Angel Montano, whose horses have been running very well recently. He has done almost all his racing on the turf but his two dirt races were against much better competition and he drops to a career low claiming level. WINKATDAWAT (#7) figures to be the heavy favorite and has the speed to be on or near the lead throughout. He will be tough to catch. MUSIC CRITIC (#5) rates a chance.

    2nd Race: OLD MOUNTAIN LANE (#2) comes off a dull effort on the grass but will like the move back to dirt today. He drops in for a tag for the first time and rates the edge in a well-matched race. REVEREND GREEN (#6) won a race in May but was disqualified from that score. He ran well at this level in New York and looks like the one to beat with Corey Lanerie aboard. MUNTIJ (#4) has the speed to be on or near the lead and also drops in for a tag.

    3rd Race: MAL GUAPO (#1) has won two in a row since trainer Brad Cox claimed him in May. He looked good winning over this track earlier this meet and is capable of the repeat score this afternoon. PROSPERO (#2) hooked much better last out at Belmont but drops back into a starter allowance race and he will be tough to beat at this level. BOLD SHOT (#3) will be running late and could win if the top two engage in an early speed duel.

    4th Race: POW WOW PAL (#5) ran well to finish second last out and should move forward off that effort. He should be in good position throughout and might be able to upset the favorite with Frankie Dettori picking up the mount for trainer Wesley Ward. UNION JACKSON (#1) beat a weak maiden field last out but did it very impressively. He is the most obvious winner in here but will be odds on and faces much tougher today. READY GET SET (#7) has been off since June but is training well and is a contender.

    5th Race: CARINA MIA (#6) was second in her debut after setting a lively pace. She will move forward off that one and appears to be in a good spot to get her maiden win for trainer Bill Mott and jockey Julien Leparoux. J LA TACHE (#4) finished right behind the top pick and looks like the main competition again today. CHERYL D (#9) debuts for trainer Larry Rivelli, who has excellent numbers with his first-time starters.

    6th Race: ALL DAY ALICE (#9) looked sharp winning last out. She has the tactical speed to be in good position throughout and is capable of making it two in a row with Calvin Borel back aboard. HOUSE OF SOLE (#2) has never run a bad race but has been beaten at short odds on several occasions and may be a vulnerable favorite again today. ELUSIVE FATE (#1) and HONE IN (#1A) run coupled and can't be left out of the exotics.

    7th Race: I am one of the owners of O’PRADO OLE (#3), who comes off a dismal performance in the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3). He didn't seem to care for the soft footing in that one but has been training very well since that start. He won an allowance race over this course in 2013 and should be ready to a much better performance today. TAGHLEEB (#4) has been in the money in eight of his 11 turf races and also won here last October. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had an excellent Keeneland Fall Meet and this one looks like the one to beat. OIL STRIKE (#5) was overmatched in the Northern Dancer (G1) but drops in class for trainer Mark Casse and has to be respected in a wide-open race.

    8th Race – Lafayette Presented by Keeneland Select: FALLING SKY (#2) ships in from Florida off a narrow loss to Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) contender Valid. He is a graded stakes winner of nearly $500,000 and gets the nod with Julien Leparoux picking up the mount for trainer Marty Wolfson. COASTLINE (#3) looked good in beating a much weaker field last out and could add value to the gimmicks despite the big class hike. MIDNIGHT CELLO (#5) is a solid contender.

    9th Race: COME AS YOU ARE (#7) failed as the favorite at Kentucky Downs but ran well on the dirt at Saratoga in his debut. He has trained well here and appears to be in a good spot to break his maiden for trainer Wesley Ward with Frankie Dettori picking up the mount. BOW TIE BOSS (#8) didn't take to the grass at Saratoga but also runs better on dirt and he is the one to beat. CATANOVA (#4) is a solid contender. 




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