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., Monday, August 31, 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.

    Saturday, April 11, 2015

    1st Race: WHATTHECATDRUGIN (#4) moves back up in class after being claimed by Michelle Lovell, who does well with her first claims  He has the speed to be on or near the lead throughout and rates a slight edge.  HAPPY FELLA (#6) drops back down after a dull effort in the mud at Oaklawn. Look for a much better performance today. DAD ARE WE HERE (#1) also takes the class drop and will be tough at this level

    2nd Race: DREAMING OF GOLD (#2) was second behind Shaman Ghost at Gulfstream and that one came back to win impressively here on Thursday. He looks like a solid bet to get his maiden win for trainer Mike Maker with Joel Rosario back aboard. RUE DE GRANDE (#1A) is an improving runner from the D. Wayne Lukas barn and BIG HAT (#1) worked strongly for his debut for trainer Rusty Arnold  The Calumet entry can't be left out of the gimmicks. MOUNTAIN CRY (#3) exits the same race as the top pick and is a contender.

    3rd Race: THUNDERGRAM (#6) showed improvement in his second start back after a layoff and should continue to move forward today. He has the tactical speed to be in contention throughout and rates the edge in a tough $50,000 claimer. ETON BLUE (#2) drops in for a tag and posted a solid work here on Wednesday. His best makes him the one to beat. JUMPIN FRAC FLASH (#10) is a definite contender.

    4th Race: NOMINATIVE (#10) was claimed by Ramseys/Maker in August and has since won four of her six races. This is a tougher spot but she rates the slight edge with Julien Leparoux back aboard. FINAL REDEMPTION (#5) was stakes placed last year and makes her 4-year-old debut off a series of solid works for trainer Graham Motion. Anything close to her best would make her tough to beat. SAVINGS ACCOUNT (#7) has been off since April but trainer Tom Proctor is very good with returning runners and this one had a recent bullet work.

    5th Race – Ben Ali (G3): PROTONICO (#5) was eased after falling back in the early stages of the Grade 1 Donn but has been training exceptionally well since. He just missed upsetting Hoppertunity in the Grade 1 Clark in November and trainer Todd Pletcher should have him back in for today  FARHAAN (#3) hasn't raced since a career-best performance in August at Saratoga but trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is very good with returning runners and he has to be respected. GOLDEN TICKET (#4) is a Grade 1 winner of over $1.3 million He posted recent bullet work at Oaklawn and is a solid threat.

    6th Race: BIG RED CHARLIE (#3) was beaten as the odds-on favorite last out but appears to be in a good spot to get his maiden win today. SHATHOOR (#6) was second behind a repeat winner last out and figures to be the main competition. TAKETOTHESTREETS (#8) moves to the barn of trainer Kellyn Gorder and is training well for his return.

    7th Race – Giant’s Causeway: This race features a rematch between the top two finishers from last year's race. FREE AS A BIRD (#11) has won six in a row since dropping a close decision to AGELESS (#4) in that one and rates the slight edge over that foe this afternoon. JEWEL OF A CAT (#2) is the main danger to the top two.

    8th Race: PLAYTIME (#4) is a Phipps homebred who has been training sharply for Shug McGaughey. She had a nice recent word over the Keeneland surface and appears ready to run well in her debut this afternoon. SUPER HUMOR (#3) also makes her first career start. Mark Casse trains this one by Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Super Saver and she has to be respected. BON HEIR (#11) comes off a solid runner-up finish at Oaklawn and is a contender.

    9th Race – Jenny Wiley (G1): BALL DANCING (#4) was no match for stablemate Stephanie's Kitten at Tampa Bay but ran big to finish second  She figures to move forward off that start and gets the nod over Filimbi. FILIMBI (#3) exits the same race as the top pick. She didn't fire after stumbling at the start but posted a recent bullet work and can be expected to run much better in here. HARD NOT TO LIKE (#5) has shown big improvement and is a contender.

    10th Race – Coolmore Lexington (G3): FAME AND POWER (#6) showed huge improvement in his 3-year-old debut and trainer Bob Baffert was impressed enough to ship him here for the Coolmore Lexington. He hooks a fairly weak field for a Grade 3 race and a repeat of his maiden score may be good enough to win today. DIVINING ROD (#1) was no match for Carpe Diem in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) but should get a good trip from the inside post and is the one to beat. DONWORTH (#7) overcame trouble to break his maiden and trainer Graham Motion scratched him from an allowance race on Thursday to go in here.

    11th Race: ARAQEEL (#7) was impressive coming from far off the pace to win his debut despite a wide trip. He should love the added distance and is capable of the repeat score for trainer Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano. DANISH DYNAFORMER (#8) also comes off a nice maiden win and will be tough to beat. BALDONNEL (#5) is also trained by Chad Brown. He makes his U.S. debut and the European shippers have been doing very well this meet.




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