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., 2014-04-25

    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, April 9, 2014

    1st Race: KISS ME PERFECT (#1) ran a decent race at Turfway in her first try back after a 10-month layoff. She has trained well over the Keeneland strip since then and should show marked improvement today. SHAKESPERIAN DREAM (#3) comes off a solid race over the Gulfstream turf and figures to be running at the end. TORDITA (#4) makes her first start since being claimed by Ramsey/Maker and has to be respected.

    2nd Race: SHE'S COAL FIRED (#6) was stuck behind horses and forced to check entering the turn in her 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream. She rallied well to finish second in that one and trainer Wesley Ward figures to have her ready to win with apprentice Dylan Davis up. SOMETHING BLUE (#7) just missed last out but was nine lengths clear of the third place finisher and is the one to beat. ESTUARY (#5) ran well on the Keeneland Polytrack in the fall.

    3rd Race: CHAIRMAN GAREY (#2) won for a $50,000 tag in February and hooked next-out graded stakes winners in his two other most recent starts. Trainer Graham Motion's horses are running well and this one rates a slight edge in a well-matched claiming test. STATE FLAG (#6) has also been keeping good company and figures to be tough at this level. MALIBU WAY (#4) moves up in class after being claimed and is a definite threat.

    4th Race: MARGIN (#2) was never in contention last out but was running well at the end against much tougher. He appears to be in good spot to get his maiden win with Robby Albarado picking up the mount for trainer Al Stall. NAPA VALLEY (#8) has been off since November but trainer Ken McPeek's horses all ran well here on opening weekend and this one looks dangerous. FOUR MORE (#3) drops in class and fits with these.

    5th Race: PURELY HOT (#9) was given some time off after a dull effort at Turfway in December. Her works haven't been fast but if she is anywhere close to being ready she should win this one. BRICK HOUSE ROAD (#4) will like the move back to Polytrack and rates a chance. IRON GINNY (#8) takes on much tougher after an extremely easy score at Gulfstream.

    6th Race: RED RIVER RISING (#6) figures to be running at the end in a race loaded with early speed. He has never raced on the grass but if he takes to the footing he could spring the upset. JESSICA'S STAR (#2) comes in off an impressive maiden romp. He posted a bullet work here on Friday and is bred to handle the added distance. GENERAL JACK (#3) ran poorly in the John Battaglia Memorial on March 1 at Turfway but will like the move back to turf.

    7th Race: MIA D'ORO (#3) looked good breaking his maiden last out at Gulfstream. He has never been on the Polytrack but has run well on dirt and turf and he had a decent work here last week. Give him the edge. LETS GO BEN (#7) and SIMPLE INTEREST (#8) are both trained by Charlie LoPresti and come back after layoffs. They have been working together and both are capable of running well.

    8th Race: OVERTONE (#4) was second in her 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream and has been training well for Mark Casse, who had four winners here on opening weekend. She should be ready to get her maiden score with jockey Stewart Elliott named to ride. CINNAMON SPICE (#1) is a high-priced Keeneland sales grad who ran well despite breaking from an outside post on the Gulfstream turf. She figures to move forward off that start. SMART ASHLEY (#2) is a solid contender in a tough race.

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