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., 2014-07-30

    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, April 4, 2014

    1st Race: STRAIGHT TOWN (#7) drops in class and owns to wins over the Keeneland strip. Wesley Ward always has his runners ready for this meet and he rates the slight edge over Cantonic in the meet opener. CANTONIC (#1) is trained by Mike Maker, who is having another terrific year. He also takes the class drop and will be tough to handle. ENGLISH COUNCIL (#4) is a contender.

    2nd Race: RADIANT (#3) appears to be in a good spot to get her maiden win for trainer Mike Maker and jockey Joel Rosario, who had record-breaking meets here a year ago. FOLLOW THE KITTEN (#6) just missed last out and a repeat of that one makes her dangerous. ARTFUL LADY (#1) rates a chance.

    3rd Race: GET IN LINE (#3) is a dropper from the Ramsey/Maker barn. Anything close to his best makes him a winner at a short price today. DYNAMIC ROYAL (#8) is a 7-year-old with just three career wins but is the one to beat. THATBOATHASSAILED (#1) likes the Polytrack and has to be considered.

    4th Race: BIG N PERFECT (#3) ran well in his 4-year-old debut when stretched out to 1½ miles. He has trained well since that race and should be hard to beat with Joel Rosario back aboard for trainer Christophe Clement. WINGS OF FORTUNE (#5) has been a beaten favorite four times in a row but can't be left out of the gimmicks. KINGSTON JAMAICA (#6) is a contender.

    5th Race: IRISH SCORE (#7) has been idle since breaking her maiden in November but trainer Graham Motion does well bringing runners back off layoffs. She rates the edge in what looks like a well-matched sprint. MISS ARRANGEMENT (#1) didn't show much in her last race at Gulfstream but won over this track in October and is the one to beat. APPRECIATING (#6) is training well and has to be considered.

    6th Race: H TOWN BROWN (#7) has run well in all four of her races and is in a good spot to get her maiden win for trainer Wesley Ward with John Velazquez aboard. WATERY MOON (#6) is a high-priced Keeneland sales grad in the capable hands of trainer Graham Motion. He is a contender in his debut. METRO DREAMER (#3) has the speed to be dangerous.

    7th Race: DAME MARIE (#2) showed nothing when finishing last against a tough field in the Grade 3 The Very One at Gulfstream. That was her only race this year and she has trained sharply since that start. A return to her best form will make her hard to beat today. ABSOLUTE CRACKERS (#7) bested the top pick when they hooked up in January 2013 but has been off since June 2013 and may need a race. SISTERLY LOVE (#6) drops back into an allowance race for the first time since 2012. She has never tried the turf but if this one is moved to the Polytrack she would be the top pick.

    8th Race: ELUSIVE FATE (#2) faded after showing speed in her 4-year-old debut at Gulfstream. She figures to move forward off that one and gets the nod with jockey Javier Castellano picking up the mount for trainer Rusty Arnold. CHELSEA ROAD (#1) figures to show speed from the rail and it’s tough to ignore with Maker and Ramsey. BELLA CASTANI (#3) is a definite threat but may be a vulnerable favorite.

    9th Race – Transylvania (G3): GLOBAL VIEW (#9) was no match for the talented Bobby's Kitten at Tampa Bay Downs but was clearly second best in that one. He posted a recent bullet work and trainer Tom Proctor figures to have him ready today. He rates the edge in a well-matched renewal of the Transylvania. STORMING INTI (#10) has the speed to be on or near the lead and has won four of his six career races. He is definitely the one to catch. PLEUVEN (#8) will be running at the end and is a solid threat.

    10th Race: SCHOOL ON THE HILL (#9) drops in class after hooking much tougher at Gulfstream. He has trained well on the Keeneland Polytrack and appears to be in a good spot to pick up the win despite facing older runners for the first time. TO THE STARS (#2) had to drop to a career-low claiming tag to get his maiden win last out but has run well over the Keeneland Polytrack and could add value to the gimmicks. AUNT RUBY'S KITTEN (#5) has the speed to be dangerous.




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