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 3, 2015

    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.

    Friday, October 2, 2015

    1st Race: DEFER HEAVEN (#7) won last out at Churchill and is a perfect 2 for 2 at Keeneland. He has the speed to be on or near the lead throughout and rates the edge in the opener. FROSTBITE FALLS (#3) moves up in class after a win against bottom claimers at Arlington. He should run well in her despite the class hike. PROVEN WARRIOR (#4) is another one who likes Keeneland and has to be respected.

    2nd Race: PABLO DEL MONTE (#3) has only raced on the turf once in his 12-race career but should like the surface. He figures to go right to the lead and is capable of the front-running win under apprentice Eric Cancel. KNIGHTS NATION (#2) has solid turf form and was second in the Firecracker (G2) at Churchill in June. Throw out his last race when he broke poorly and he will be tough to beat. MANCHURIAN HIGH (#6) is a solid contender in a small but well-matched field.

    3rd Race: CONQUEST BIG E (#7) is a high-priced Keeneland sales grad in the capable hands of trainer Mark Casse. He lost his best chance when he broke poorly in his debut and should move forward off that effort. Give him the edge with Shaun Bridgmohan back aboard. IFYOUSNOOZEYOULOSE (#9) flashed speed in his debut at Saratoga and is a definite threat for Ramsey/Maker who are always tough at Keeneland. SPACE MOUNTAIN (#1) ran well on the turf and shouldn't have any trouble moving to the dirt.

    4th Race: GANGSTER (#5) looked very sharp in a maiden win at Saratoga but failed as the favorite last out at Belmont. Look for him to regain his winning form for Todd Pletcher with John Velazquez back aboard. AWOPAHO (#3) broke his maiden at Ellis and ran well to finish second at Churchill while training all summer at Keeneland. He posted a recent bullet work and figures to be ready for his best performance today. RAAGHEB (#1) rates a chance.

    5th Race: CONQUEST WINDYCITY(#3) finished fourth as the favorite in the Iroquois (G3) but lost his best chance when he broke poorly. He is back in against maidens this afternoon and looks like a solid bet to win for trainer Mark Casse and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan. PINSON (#8) didn't show much in his debut on the turf but is bred to like the dirt. He is capable of running well at nice odds. DONEGAL MOON (#9) ran well at Saratoga and has to be respected with John Velazquez aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher.

    6th Race: CROCUS HILL (#4) had a rough trip last out but was going well at the finish to run third. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard adds Lasix for the first time today and she can spring the mild upset under bug boy Eric Cancel. PIN UP (#5) woke up when switched to the grass last out and a repeat of that one makes her dangerous. MISS MO KELLY (#10) makes her Kentucky debut for trainer Chris Block, who usually has his runners ready for Keeneland.

    7th Race: MESHELL (#4) comes off a solid win at Indiana Downs and broke her maiden over this track in April. She rates the slight edge in another extremely well-matched field with Florent Geroux aboard. ENCHANTRESS (#10) has been a bit of a disappointment this year but she has been keeping top company and should be tough to beat as she drops into this allowance test. ELUSIVE FATE (#7) is 2 for 26 lifetime but can figure in the gimmicks.

    8th Race – Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3): RUNHAPPY (#1) has looked like a good one from the start but surprised a lot of people when he ran a monster race to win the Grade 1 King’s Bishop last out at Saratoga. He won that one on the front end but doesn't need the lead to win and if he breaks well from the inside post he will be very hard to beat with Edgar Prado back aboard for trainer Maria Borell. WORK ALL WEEK (#12) was a deserving sprint champion last year and regained his winning ways last out. He is always dangerous and has to be respected. BARBADOS (#3) can come from off the pace in a race with a ton of early speed.

    9th Race – Darley Alcibiades (G1) -- GOMO (#1) has been hooking tough company in California on the dirt and turf. She has never run a bad race and should get a good trip from the inside post. Doug O'Neill is always dangerous when he ships and this one can win with Mario Gutierrez in for the ride. DOTHRAKI QUEEN (#9) was impressive winning the Pocahontas (G2) despite being blocked in the turn. She will be running late with Corey Lanerie back aboard for trainer Kenny McPeek. JUST WICKED (#11) was a beaten favorite in the Pocahontas when she had a rough trip. She has to be considered but will have to overcome the outside post.

    10th Race: SOUND OF FREEDOM (#5) has been off since April but is in the capable hands of Eddie Kenneally and drops in class for his return. EXECUTE (#8) needed his race at Ellis and will improve. FANCY MAN (#12) is a solid contender. 




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