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., Sunday, October 4, 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.

    Sunday, October 4, 2015

    1st Race: FLOWERS FOR LISA (#1) stopped badly in his debut but drops in for a tag today. He runs coupled with LONELY MISSION (#1A) as the Ramsey entry and they rate the edge in the opener. BOSS HAWG (#7) went evenly in his only start at Ellis and also takes the class drop.

    2nd Race: MAGIC FIVE (#3) ran well in his first race back after a five-month layoff. He figures to move forward off that one and will like the move back to the dirt today. He appears to be in a good spot to get the win for trainer Gary Hartlage and jockey Joe Johnson. RIPPIN RANGER (#4) didn't show much at Saratoga but has trained well since coming to Kentucky. Look for a much better performance in here. MACHO BREW (#6) is a solid contender.

    3rd Race: SOUTHERN BLESSING (#8) woke up a bit last out in his third start back after a layoff. He stretches out for this one but may like the added distance and can spring the mild upset. WHATTHECATDRUGIN (#5) has been off form recently but has beaten much better in the past and has to be respected at this level. BAD STUDENT (#3) comes off a game win and can't be left out of the gimmicks. 

    4th Race: ASCEND (#7) has shown improvement in each of his three starts. He just missed last out at Saratoga and a repeat of that one would make him a winner with Julien Leparoux back aboard for trainer Graham Motion. He needed his last race after a six-month layoff. He is bred to handle the added distance and figures to be the one to beat. NILEATOR (#1) can handle the distance and should get a good trip from the inside post.

    5th Race: MAL GUAPO (#1) ran a huge race in his first start back after being claimed by trainer Brad Cox,  He has been off since that race in July but is training very well for his return and looks to be in a good spot to make it two in a row. DESELVO (#6) is the only runner in here who has proven he can handle today's distance. He is definitely the one to beat. O T B BOB (#7) comes off a solid win and is a contender.

    6th Race: TAKE IT LIKE A MAN (#10) drops to a career-low claiming level and makes his second start back after a layoff. He ran a big race in his only start on the Keeneland dirt last year and is capable of winning what looks like a wide-open race. MAGICAL MOMENT (#9) is a veteran runner who is always tough at this level. His best makes him dangerous. FRUIT LUDT (#8) didn't beat much last out but he did it easily and fits in here.

    7th Race: CONQUEST TIZ ONE (#4) just missed in her debut at Woodbine and the Casse/Bridgmohan duo won a pair of 2-year-old maiden races here on opening day. If this on handles the move to the dirt he will be tough to beat in here. CINDER (#2) didn't show much in her only race at Saratoga but has trained well since coming to Keeneland. Look for big improvement today. LADY GAYLE (#5) is a solid threat.

    8th Race – Dixiana Bourbon (G3) -- HOT ORE (#11) looked very sharp breaking his maiden on the Santa Anita turf and came back with a runner-up effort in his stakes debut at Del Mar. He has shown improvement with every start and gets the slight edge in an extremely tough renewal of the Dixiana Bourbon. SALLISAW (#2) was a distant fourth in the Hopeful after a poor start but posted a couple of excellent works for Kiaran McLaughlin since then. He should be able to handle the move to the turf and looks dangerous with Johnny V. picking up the mount. UNBRIDLED DADDY (#5) is a definite contender for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Javier Castellano.

    9th Race – Juddmonte Spinster (G1) – UNTAPABLE (#3) has not shown the brilliance she showed at three but she really hasn't run a bad race all year. She has trained well since the Personal Ensign and Asmussen figures to have her ready to return to the winners circle today in the Spinster. FRIVOLOUS (#9) has never been better. She showed a new dimension last out coming from far off of the pace and can be expected to run well again today. LOVELY MARIA (#1) was sharp winning the Ashland and Oaks and has been posting bullet works in Delaware. She was dull in her last two but has to be respected in this spot.

    10th Race: WALLFLOWER (#6) has been in the money in five of her seven races and drops in for a tag today. She looks best at this level. MISS BLOSSOM (#9) has only had one race and should improve. THISONEISMINE (#7) stopped badly in her debut after being heavily bet and had a bullet work since that start. 




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