Expert Picks - Mike Battaglia

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Please note that selections typically are available about 48 hours in advance of the race.

E.g., 2014-07-25

    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.

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    1st Race: CLIMB IN BACK (#6) debuts for 2-year-old training guru Wes Ward and posted a bullet work on Tuesday. SKYWAY (#1) also had a bullet work for trainer Mark Casse and is the one to beat. STORM OFF (#2B) debuts for trainer John Hancock and merits respect.

    2nd Race: N. B. A. MONEY (#4) figures to be running at the end in a race that should have a legitimate pace. Give him the slight edge. HORNED FROG (#1) drops in class after being pulled up while bearing out in the turn last out. Anything close to his best makes him a winner but it would be tough to bet on this one with any confidence. SHAKEYOGROOVETHING (#5) is a contender.

    3rd Race: FRANKLIN (#8) has been training well at Churchill since an even effort over the Gulfstream track in February. He drops in for a tag and appears to be in a good spot to get the win for trainer Mike Maker and jockey Joel Rosario. COUNTY CORRECTIONS (#5) was heavily favored in his debut but failed to fire in that one. He has also trained well recently and is the one to beat. MONEY FAN (#2) fits in here.

    4th Race: BOOM BOOM VROOM (#7) caught a sloppy track when favored in her debut at Saratoga and was no match for an impressive front-running winner in her last race at Gulfstream. She has been training sharply over the Keeneland Polytrack and could lead all the way today. SOUTHERN HONEY (#8) has run well in both of her races and is definitely the one to beat. STATE VISIT (#6) is a solid contender in a tough maiden race.

    5th Race: UP WITH THE BIRDS (#4) capped an excellent 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Grade 1 Jamaica at Belmont. He has been idle since October but has run well fresh in the past and rates the edge with Shaun Bridgmohan picking up the mount. BOISTEROUS (#7) is a 7-year-old who also won a Grade 1 last year. He likes the soft turf and will be tough if at his best. FORTE DEI MARMI (#1) prefers more distance but is another Grade 1 winner in this stakes-caliber allowance test.

    6th Race: PURSE STRINGS (#3) is a high-priced Keeneland sales grad by hot sire Tapit. He debuts for trainer Wayne Catalano off of a series of good works and should be ready for a solid effort today. SUMMER CAMP (#7) hooked a tough field at Gulfstream and figures to be the one to beat. CREATIVE SPIRIT (#8) comes off a poor effort but is capable of better.

    7th Race: LAY IT DOWN (#9) is riding a four-race win streak and comes off a solid win at Turfway on Spiral (G3) Day. This is the toughest field he has faced but he should get a good trip from the outside post and rates the slight edge. VANITY FEATURE (#1) evidently has some issues, but when he runs he runs well. He is the one to catch. PATRIOTICANDPROUD (#6) has been idle since August but has the class to be dangerous.

    8th Race: MYOSITIS DAN (#10) was second behind the promising Anchor Down at Gulfstream and broke his maiden over this track in October. He looks like a solid bet to win this one for trainer Tom Proctor and jockey Joe Rocco Jr. ROCKFORD (#4) has been chasing some good 3-year-olds and is in easier this afternoon. ARTEMUS COALMINE (#7) was no match for Harry's Holiday at Turfway but that one came back and was beaten just a nose in the Spiral (G3).

    9th Race -- Central Bank Ashland (G1): TESTA ROSSI (#6) has won five of her last six and the only loss came with a troubled trip the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) when she was flying at the end to run second. Her win last out at Tampa was impressive and if she handles the Polytrack she should win a well-matched renewal of the Central Bank Ashland. ROSALIND (#8) has only won one race but is one of the few in here with experience on the Keeneland Polytrack. She will be running at the end in a race loaded with early speed and could add value to the gimmicks. ROOM SERVICE (#2) looked very good winning at Gulfstream and is a solid contender.

    10th Race: SATISFACTION (#4) has been given some time off after two hard races at Gulfstream this winter. She has been training steadily for the past month and trainer Shug McGaughey figures to have her ready to roll with Joel Rosario in the irons today. CANNY NANNY (#2) has won three of her last four and looks like the main competition. GLORIOUS CHANT (#1) fits in here.




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