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.

Friday, April 29, 2016


    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 29, 2016

    1st Race: LITTLE CHERIE (#1) drops in for a tag and posted a recent bullet work. She should win this one as a short-priced favorite. SPONTANEITY (#3) comes off a game maiden win and figures second best. REALITY IS GREAT (#5) has the speed to be a contender.


    2nd Race: LADY ANN (#1) couldn't hold on last out after making a big move in the turn going long. She cuts back to 7 furlongs today and gets the nod against a fairly weak bunch. GINGER STONE (#3) was no match for a runaway winner last out but ran second after a poor start. She is the one to beat. WILL GRACIE SHINE (#4) is good right now but prefers Polytrack.


    3rd Race: DEEP IN A DREAM (#3) has been off since January but drops to a career-low claiming tag for his return. He has been training steadily and looks like a good bet to win this one with Paco Lopez picking up the mount for trainer Wesley Ward. TRIPLE CREEK (#1) exits two stakes races at Turfway and also takes the class drop for Ramseys/Maker. Look for a much improved performance in here. A BAND APART (#6) rates a chance.


    4th Race: BILLY’S KITTEN (#1A) and UNCLE GUY (#1) run coupled for the Ramseys. Billy’s Kitten seems better suited to the mile and a half distance and appears to be in a good spot to get his maiden score with Javier Castellano up. DECISIVE TRIUMPH (#3) is another one who is bred to handle the marathon distance. Trainer Graham Motion is having a good meet and this one looks dangerous. LEONARDO DA VINCI (#5) is running well and can't be overlooked.


    5th Race: MANIACAL (#4) has been away from the races for over a year but has been training sharply for his return. Trainer Wesley Ward has excellent numbers with horses returning from long layoffs and this one should be ready to win with John Velazquez named to ride. FACTION CAT (#5) was never a factor in his last race after breaking slowly. A better start makes him dangerous. STAR QUALITY (#2) has only had one race and should improve.


    6th Race: AMAZING BETS (#6) has been running fairly well on the grass but both of her career wins have come on the dirt. She ran well over the Keeneland strip last year and rates the slight edge in a wide-open race. FLATTER ME ZANA (#1) should get a good trip from the inside post with Corey Lanerie aboard and her best makes her dangerous. STINA (#7) is a 3-year- old taking on older runners but she moves up in class after a sharp win and has to be considered.


    7th Race: GIMLET (#7) drops back into an allowance race after two straight stakes tries. He will like the move back to the turf and appears capable of handling the added distance. Look for him to be rallying from off what figures to be a solid pace and give him the edge with John Velazquez riding for trainer Todd Pletcher. DISSIDENT (#5) is also trained by Pletcher and should also like the return to the turf. He broke his maiden over this course and is a definite threat. REMEMBERING MICKEY (#10) is improving and outworked stablemate Dynas Recoleta, who won impressively here on Sunday.


    8th Race: CLASSY GREY LASSIE (#3) was hammered at the windows in her debut and justified that backing with a 10-length win. Not usually crazy about maidens who win state-bred races but she did have a near-bullet work on April 10 at Churchill and looks best today. STRIKE BACK FAST (#1) has just one win in 16 starts but Corey Lanerie picks up the mount and she will be running late. SPANK (#2) also comes off an impressive maiden score for trainer Al Stall and has to be respected.


    9th Race – Bewitch (G3): BUTTON DOWN (#6) was no match for champion Tepin in her 5-year-old debut but had to need that start. She had an excellent 4-year-old campaign and she has run well at the mile and a half distance. Give her the slight edge in what appears to be a wide-open renewal of the Bewitch. GENEROSIDADE (#11) is a 7-year-old veteran with plenty of experience in marathon events. She was the upset winner of a Grade 2 at Santa Anita last month and she looks dangerous in this spot. SONGOFICEANDFIRE (#5) could add value to the gimmicks.


    10th Race: BOOGIEWOOGIEDANCIN (#7) rates the edge in the finale. SHOPPINGWITHBILL (#5) has been running on Polytrack and may like the move to dirt. SAULT STARR (#4) fits in here.

Friday, April 29, 2016



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