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 23, 2014

    1st Race: TOUGH BUSINESS (#6) was a beaten favorite last out but the winner and the runner up in that one both came back to win impressively next out. She has had two solid works over the Keeneland dirt and looks best in here. HARMONY PLACE (#2) drops back in for a tag and won't mind the move back to the dirt. TIZ LATELY (#5) is a contender.

    2nd Race: RUSTICANA (#4) looked good winning a similar race over this track earlier in the meet and is in a good spot to make it two in a row for trainer Jeff Thornbury and jockey Julien Leparoux. JILLEAH (#7) was third behind the top pick last out and figures to be the main competition again. R U DREAMING (#6) has the speed to be a contender.

    3rd Race: LOOKING COOL (#4) drops to a career-low claiming level for Ramsey/Maker and anything close to his best makes him a winner with Rosie Napravnik picking up the mount. HAZARDS OF LOVE (#1) is a veteran runner from the Amoss barn who has been remarkably consistent throughout a 58-race career. He is the one to fear. ONE KING’S MAN (#6) is a contender.

    4th Race: GAP YEAR (#3) was a surprising favorite in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades considering she was a maiden breaking from the 12 post. She was never a factor in that one but should move forward off the experience and will be tough as she is back in against maidens today. ESKENFORMONEY (#7) broke in the air last out but rallied well to finish fourth behind a runaway winner and was beaten just 1½ lengths for second. She is the one to beat. WELL LIVED (#5) rates a chance.

    5th Race: MARCH TOO (#6) drops drastically in class, which is a bit puzzling, but his best would be good enough to win this one for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Paco Lopez. ALSHUJAA (#4) has been off for a year but is training steadily and is the lone 4-year-old in this field. WAR OF HONOR (#3) is a definite threat.

    6th Race: MAGIC OF REALITY (#10) makes her U.S. debut for trainer Graham Motion and posted a solid work here last week. Give her the slight edge in a well-matched allowance test. NOTTE D'ORO (#8) is a perfect 2 for 2 on the grass and looked sharp winning at Churchill in September. KITTY WINE (#11) is a definite threat with Julien Leparoux aboard for trainer Eddie Kenneally.

    7th Race: SOUTHERN BLESSING (#3) moves up in class after an impressive win against nonwinners of two earlier this meet. He figures to be running at the end in a race that should have a lively pace and is capable of the repeat score. BISQUE (#5) has been a beaten favorite in his last three but has to be considered. PICK THREE PUNCHIE (#8) will be tough if he handles the move to the dirt.

    8th Race: DIVA MEG (#11) drew off to win without much urging in her grass debut at Kentucky Downs. She should handle today's added distance and will be tough to catch with Julien Leparoux back aboard for trainer Eddie Kenneally. SHARE THE SUGAR (#12) also ran well last out at Kentucky Downs to finish second behind a repeat winner. She will be running at the end and can't be left out of the gimmicks. SPELLING AGAIN (#6) is one of two in here from the barn of trainer Graham Motion that are capable of solid efforts.

    9th Race: STURDY ALLAN (#11) lost his best chance when he broke very slowly in his debut at Churchill. He posted a bullet gate work after that start and the fourth-place finisher in that one came back to win impressively here last week. AMACE (#3) just missed in his only start at Gulfstream and looks like the one to beat. ROLL ON THE NAVAJO (#8) is training sharply for Tevis McCauley.




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