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., 2014-04-23

    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 18, 2014

    1st Race: OCEAN BERTIE (#1A) ran poorly last out but may not have cared for the track at Delta Downs. She ran well in her only start over the Keeneland Polytrack and looks best in the opener. WHO'S MARY'S DADDY (#3) looked good winning last out on the Gulfstream turf and shouldn't mind the move to the Polytrack. She figures to be the one to beat. SCENARIO ANALYSIS (#4) is a solid contender.

    2nd Race: DECAMP (#5) was no match for a front running winner on Spiral (G3) day at Turfway but was 7 lengths clear of the third-place finisher in that one. The distance is a big question but he is bred to stretch out and should move forward off his debut. EVERYDAY (#3) figures to be tough but has been a beaten favorite in his last two. FIRST BEACH (#2) was disqualified from a maiden win at Turfway and can't be overlooked.

    3rd Race: CHART TOPPER (#1) has won two of three on the Gulfstream turf and has good speed from the inside post. He appears to be in a good spot to get another score for Brian Lynch with Julien Leparoux picking up the mount. ROPE A DOPE (#3) hasn't raced since January but is in the capable hands of trainer Wayne Catalano. He will be running late while the others punch it out on the front end. THUNDER STRIKE (#2) makes his U.S. debut for trainer Graham Motion and has to be respected.

    4th Race: REMEMBERMEALWAYS (#2) moves up in class after being claimed from a winning effort by owner Maggi Moss and trainer Tom Amoss. This isn't an extremely tough field and she is capable of making it two in a row today. JAMRAA (#6) comes in off a couple of dull efforts at Tampa Bay Downs but likes this surface and will be running at the end. FIGHTING XENA (#3) rates a chance.

    5th Race: WAR READY (#6) ran here on opening Saturday and lost all chance last out when he was sandwiched between horses shortly after the start. He ran evenly after that and should improve with a race over this surface. NO FREE LUNCH (#5) was second behind two impressive winners at Fair Grounds and is the one to beat. HIJO DEL CORREDOR (#4) just missed last out and has to be considered in a wide-open maiden claimer.

    6th Race: READY PLAYER ONE (#4) pressed a fast pace last out and held into the stretch before fading late. She has trained well since coming to Kentucky and she looks best of the ones who have started. SO FESTIVE (#10) and RUEFULLY (#5) are both training well for their debuts. Either one is capable of firing first time out.

    7th Race: MT TRONADOR (#3) has been idle since December but broke his maiden over the Keeneland turf and has trained sharply for his return. Trainer Ben Colebrook figures to have him ready and he rates the slight edge in a tough allowance race. REI (#4) has been running well can't be left out of the gimmicks. RED VINE (#8) has never run a bad race and is a definite threat.

    8th Race: MISS LUCKY SEVENS (#3) exits some quick sprints in California. She won over the Keeneland Polytrack last April and should be on or near the lead with John Velazquez picking up the mount. She could spring the upset in here. ROSEE IS COZEE (#6) is another longshot who likes the Polytrack and could add value to the gimmicks. SEANCHAI (#4) ran well last out and will be a factor if she handles the footing.

    9th Race – Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3): EMOLLIENT (#10) is a perfect 2 for 2 winning the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster and Central Bank Ashland over the Keeneland Polytrack. She was beaten favorite in her 4-year-old debut at Santa Anita but looks like a solid bet to rebound with a win for trainer Bill Mott with jockey Mike Smith coming in for the mount. SISTERLY LOVE (#7) was fourth behind the top pick in the Juddmonte Spinster and her speed makes her dangerous today. SOLID APPEAL (#9) rates a chance.

    10th Race: TRANSCEND (#1) has been hooking some tough company in Florida. She should get a good trip from the inside post and is capable of winning this one with Joe Rosario picking up the mount for trainer Brian Lynch. TWIGAZURI STRAIT (#6) exits the same race as the top pick. He hasn't won a race in quite a while but he can't be left out of the gimmicks. CASINO DAN (#11) rates a chance.

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