Expert Picks - Mike Battaglia

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    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.

    Thursday, October 8, 2015

    1st Race: BLUTADDA (#2) has been solid running at or about this same level. He figures to be in front and is capable of the wire-to-wire score. KICKING KITTY (#9) is a 4-year-old who has never raced on the dirt but drops in class and Corey Lanerie picks up the mount. HOT WACS (#3) just missed against the top pick at Ellis and is a contender.

    2nd Race: HIDDEN CANDY (#5) is back in for a tag after an even effort in a tough race at Churchill. He has run well here at Keeneland in the past and his best makes him a winner today. CIRCLE UNBROKEN (#1) makes his fourth start back after a year on the sidelines. He will like the cutback in distance and can't be left out of the gimmicks. DOC ALMON (#6) has been in the money in 8 of his 10 races this year and can't be overlooked.

    3rd Race: UNO MAS MODELO (#3) was a clear winner in his debut at Arlington posted a good work over the Keeneland dirt on Sunday. Look for him to make it two in a row for trainer Brian Williamson with Robby Albarado picking up the mount. HONOUR CAMP (#4) was no match for the top pick in his debut but showed big improvement winning easily next out and is the one to beat. D. SHIFFLETT (#5) fits with these.

    4th Race: FABULOUS UNION (#7) is a lightly raced 5-year-old who came back to the races after a layoff of nearly two years and ran two big races. He was narrowly beaten last out but the fact that trainer Dale Bennett moves him up in class is a very good sign. Give him the edge with Florent Geroux up. DELIVERANCE DAY (#6) drops back in for a tag after hooking some tough company. He will be rallying from just off of the pace and his best makes him dangerous. LUCKY STRANGER (#4) exits two stakes races and is in much easier today.

    5th Race: OVERTLY (#4) just missed last out against Claire View who was scheduled to run back yesterday in the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3). She has shown improvement with every start and appears to be in a good spot to get her maiden score. CALAMITY JANE (#8) is from the hot barn of trainer Mark Casse. She was narrowly beaten in her debut at Woodbine and can be expected to improve off that effort. BARBADOS KITTEN (#3) is a solid threat for trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Julien Leparoux.

    6th Race: WABEL (#6) came back after a seven-month layoff to win impressively at Churchill. Trainer Brad Cox claimed him from that one and a bullet work at Churchill on Sunday is a good indication that he is ready to win again. MESOMA (#4) broke the six-furlong track record at Ellis last summer. He hasn't raced since November but is training well and anything close to his best would make him tough to beat. ETRUSCAN (#2) rates a chance.

    7th Race: POW WOW PAL (#7) was a close-up fourth behind a comeback winner at Saratoga last out. He has the speed to be on or near the lead throughout and gets the slight edge with Rafael Hernandez back aboard for trainer Wesley Ward. LORD COMMANDER (#3) has been off since March but is training sharply for trainer Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez rides. AURORA'S KID (#4) woke up when moved to the dirt and has to be considered.

    8th Race: ANY GIVEN ROYAL (#10) is a veteran runner who is proven on the turf. He hasn't raced since winning at Woodbine in July but rates a slight edge in what appears to be a wide-open allowance test. ROYAL SON (#4) has only tried the grass on one occasion but that was an even effort in the American Turf (G2) at Arlington. He is training well for his comeback and looks dangerous in this spot. ONE STEP SALSA (#1) is undefeated in three career starts and is a solid contender for trainer Mike Maker and jockey Robby Albarado.

    9th Race: SHOCK ‘EM ALL (#9) has been running on the grass but has decent dirt form and can win this one with his best performance. HALL O’ GLORY (#5) might like the move back to dirt and he could add value to the gimmicks. WAR RANGER (#2) was claimed last out by trainer Mike Maker, who does well with his first claims. 




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