Expert Picks - Mike Battaglia

You are here

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., February 8

    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 24, 2015

    1st Race: MILTEE (#5) has done most of his running on the grass but has been second in both of his dirt races. Trainer Chris Richard has had a solid meet and this one rates the edge with Chris Landeros picking up the mount. SELF STARTER (#1A) beat the top pick at Kentucky Downs. He has never tried the dirt but is bred to handle the switch and figures to be tough to catch. QUIETER AMERICA (#6) ran well at Ellis and is a contender.

    2nd Race: BIG LEGACY (#7) has won four of five this year, including a game score in his Keeneland debut last out. He should get a good trip from the outside post and rates the edge as the favorite. MIDNIGHT SHINE (#2) showed big improvement in his first race for trainer Dave Vance and has had two excellent works since that win. He can run well again despite the class hike. SLAN ABHAILE (#1) will be running at the end in a race that has plenty of early speed and has to be respected.

    3rd Race: BIG KICK (#1) has been idle since being claimed by Ramseys/Ward in March. He has been training very well for his return and figures to get a good trip from the inside post. Give him the edge despite the layoff. VOODOO STORM (#7) makes his first start for Moss/Richard after being claimed at Churchill. He is the one to beat. MR. HANDSOME (#5) fits with these.

    4th Race: CELESTIAL INSIGHT (#2) was an impressive debut winner sprinting on the Belmont turf. She figures to improve in her second career start and will like the added distance. Give her the slight edge over Miss Otis in a close call. MISS OTIS (#6) came from off the pace to break her maiden at Churchill and the fifth-place finisher in that one came back to win here on Thursday. She will be hard to beat. LILLY’S DREAM (#11) exits two stakes races and would be the top pick if she gets in off of the also-eligible list.

    5th Race: HARLANSPERFECTION (#9) was a beaten favorite in her debut at Churchill but figures to improve off that one and gets the nod in here. PICK POCKET (#7) will be running at the end in a race that figures to have a solid pace and is the one to beat. ESCALANTE (#8) is a contender.

    6th Race: WAR STROLL (#4) dropped back after pressing a fast pace but re-rallied, finished strongly and actually galloped out in front. Give her the edge with Julien Leparoux back aboard for trainer Ken McPeek. PATTON PROUD (#7) debuts for trainer Steve Asmussen and has been training well over the Keeneland surface. He should be ready for a good performance. HOT SQUAD (#6) rates a chance.

    7th Race: IMAGINING (#8) is the class standout in here. The Phipps homebred is a Grade 1 stakes winner of over $1.7 million and trainer Shug McGaughey drops him in against allowance runners today. He figures to win with Joel Rosario aboard. MORGANO (#3) figures second best. COUGAR RIDGE (#9) is good right now.

    8th Race: TIGER MOTH (#8) has been in the money if all five of her races and has the tactical speed to be in contention throughout. Look for her to win this one with Joel Rosario picking up the mount for trainer Todd Pletcher. FIVE HEARTS (#5) has been running on the grass but has trained very well over the Keeneland main track and could be tough to beat. GAMBLERS ROSE (#3) is a solid threat in a well-matched race.

    9th Race: Pin Oak Valley View (G3) -- SUNSET GLOW (#10) is a Grade 1 winner who has been ultra-consistent throughout her career, finishing in the money in 10 of her 11 races. She will be rallying from just off of the pace and appears to be in a good spot to regain her winning ways in an extremely tough renewal of the Pin Oak Valley View. MRS MCDOUGAL (#13) has won three of her six starts this year for trainer Chad Brown, whose barn has been red hot recently. She is a definite threat with Julien Leparoux aboard. DON'T LEAVE ME (#14) could add value to the gimmicks.

    10th Race: LA MACCHINA (#3) was a $250,000 Keeneland buy-back in 2013 but failed to live up to expectations and was dropped into the claiming ranks. He as gelded prior to his last start at Churchill and woke up dramatically to win by 12 lengths. Watch for him to improve and give him the edge in here. I'MBETTERTHANGOOD (#7) ran well at this level last out and appears to be the one to beat for trainer Kenny McPeek and jockey Corey Lanerie. INSPIRE COURAGE (#9) is a contender. 




Keeneland Association, Inc. 4201 Versailles Road
Lexington, Kentucky 40510
Telephone: (859) 254-3412 Toll Free: (800) 456-3412 Fax: (859) 255-2484

©1999-2015 Keeneland Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved