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., Saturday, October 25, 2014

    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 5, 2014

    1st Race: TOTAL TALENT (#3) has been off since November with just two published works but trainer Wesley Ward usually has his runners ready for Keeneland. She drops in class and should be tough to beat at this level. BEFUDDLER (#4) will be running late and will benefit from what figures to be a fast pace. GALLOPING DOMINO (#5) comes off a game win and is always dangerous.

    2nd Race: DRAGONBERRY (#11) comes in off a pair of runner-up efforts at Saratoga and appears to be in a good spot to get her maiden win for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Joel Rosario. SKY MIRAGE (#3) showed promise in her debut when she closed late to finish third. She should move forward off that experience. SMART ASHLEY (#1) was no match for the top pick last out but can't be left out of the gimmicks.

    3rd Race: GOLDEN MOON (#4) drops in for a tag for the first time and has the speed to make the lead. He is capable of a front-running win with Shaun Bridgmohan picking up the mount for trainer Mark Casse. CORRUPTION (#5) closed well to finish second in his debut and is definitely the one to beat. A TOUCH OF POETRY (#1) fits in here.

    4the Race: SINORICE (#2) was eased in his last race but walked off of the track on his own and has trained well since that start. A return to his best form would make him a winner for trainer Nick Zito and jockey Alan Garcia. CHONGO (#5) comes off a decent effort at Churchill and looks like the one to beat. OLYMPIC THUNDER (#4) drops in for a tag for the first time and will be tough if he can handle the move to the dirt.

    5th Race: DADDY APPROVES (#2) has been running poorly at Presque Isle but apparently didn't like the synthetic surface. She drops in class and will love the move back to dirt. Give her the edge. VICTORIA BLU (#10) woke up in her first race after being claimed by trainer Lon Wiggins and has to be considered. MAKENZIES MAGIC (#1) has been winning on the bottom and rates a chance.

    6th Race: BIG RED SEVEN (#5) has shown improvement with every start and posted a bullet work after her maiden score at Churchill. She has the speed to be in contention throughout and rates a slight edge in a wide-open turf race. EMMAJESTIC (#10) beat the top pick at Ellis and will be running at the end. LATE SPRING (#3) and AUNT SHERRI (#6) are both dangerous.

    7th Race: DESERT VALLEY (#5) comes off  decent effort sprinting at Churchill and should like today's added distance. She figures to be rallying from just off of the pace and is capable of springing the mild upset. LOOM (#3) ran an even fourth in the Pocahontas (G2) and looks like the one to beat off that performance. HOPEFAITHJOY (#9) is a solid threat.

    8th Race – Dixiana Bourbon (G3): DANNY BOY (#4) was impressive breaking his maiden on the grass and ran well to finish fourth in the Iroquois (G3) last out. He will like the move back to the turf and rates the edge for trainer Dale Romans with Corey Lanerie picking up the mount. CAN'T HAPPEN HERE (#3) looked very sharp in his debut win on the Saratoga lawn. He figures to be in good position throughout and will be tough to beat. CRONINTHEBARBARIAN (#8) has won back-to-back races for trainer Garry Simms and is a solid threat in a well matched renewal of the Bourbon.

    9th Race – Juddmonte Spinster (G1): CLOSE HATCHES (#2) is at the top of her division and comes into the race off three straight Grade 1 wins. She has been firing bullets in the morning at Belmont and trainer Bill Mott figures to have her ready for another big performance today. She is a standout and figures to win easily at short odds. DON'T TELL SOPHIA (#5) is having a terrific year but figures second best. SHURUQ (#4) is an unknown on the dirt but posted a solid work here last week.

    10th Race: ARCANE (#8) is a lightly raced 4-year-old from the barn of Graham Motion. She comes off a good performance at Kentucky Downs and could be ready for her best race today. Give her the edge with Joe Rocco Jr. up. STROLL TO VICTORY (#4) needed his last race after a five-month layoff and will be tough to beat. WOODFIELD SPRINGS (#7) is a solid threat.

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