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 3, 2015

    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.

    Saturday, October 3, 2015

    1st Race: EMMAJESTIC (#6) just missed last out and a repeat of that performance would make her a winner with Brian Hernandez back aboard for trainer Michelle Lovell. FREETHINKER (#7) has only raced on dirt once and that was in her debut back in 2013. Her breeding suggests that she won’t have any trouble with the move and she is the one to beat. RHIANA'S CANDY (#1) has tactical speed and the inside post.

    2nd Race: CONDOMINIUM (#3) faded badly after setting a very fast pace in the Iroquois (G3). He will appreciate the cut back in distance today and should be tough to catch from his inside post. ALL OUT OF ACES (#6) debuts for trainer Larry Jones, who usually has his horses ready. DAN THE GO TO MAN (#8) ran well in his only start and can be expected to improve.

    3rd Race: COASTLINE (#8) prefers more distance but figures to be running late in a race loaded with early speed. He gets the nod in a well-matched sprint. EXODUS (#4) has been idle since January but is training sharply for Larry Jones and looks dangerous despite the layoff. W. B. SMUDGE (#1) is a solid runner who has to be considered.

    4th Race: SKY MY SKY (#7) showed improvement in her second career start and is bred to like the added distance. She appears to be in a good spot to get her maiden win for trainer Mark Casse and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan. ANNIE'S CURLS (#3) hooked Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) favorite Songbird in her debut but ran poorly next out when blinkers were added. Trainer Mike Stidham takes the blinkers back off today and she figures to be the one to beat. WOLF GOURMET (#4) was well backed in her debut at Churchill and should improve.

    5th Race – Woodford (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select: UNDRAFTED (#5) has only won twice in his last 12 races but one of those was a Grade 1 at Royal Ascot. He was no match for Tourist at Kentucky Downs but that one is capable of winning the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) later today. He will be running at the end and clean trip would make him a winner in here. b is riding a four-race win streak. He has already beaten several of the runners in today's race and has to be respected. SOMETHING EXTRA (#6) loves this turf course and Mike Smith picks up the mount.

    6th Race – Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) -- Champion JUDY THE BEAUTY (#3) has been lightly raced since winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) last year. She was beaten in both of her starts but has been firing bullets in the morning and trainer Wesley Ward figures to have her ready to win today and then go for the repeat score in the Breeders Cup. LEIGH COURT (#5) won this race in impressive fashion last year. She was no match for the top pick in the Breedes’ Cup but looks like the main competition today. SWEET WHISKEY (#4) rates a chance.

    7th Race – First Lady (G1) – TEPIN (#11) is in top form right now. She won three in a row before two narrow losses at Saratoga and she appears to have enough tactical speed for Julien Leparoux to get a good position despite the outside post. Give her the edge in the First Lady. MY MISS SOPHIA (#4) has been right behind the top pick in her last two and her best makes her dangerous. EASTER (#5) and OUTSTANDING (#7) ship in from Ireland for Aidan O'Brien and both have solid credentials.

    8th Race – Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) -- RATED R SUPERSTAR (#1) broke a bit flat footed in the Iroquois (G3) and was taken back off a fast pace. He made a big move in the turn and held on well to finish second. He should be in much better position in the early going today and he can spring the mild upset with Calvin Borel back aboard for trainer Kenny McPeek. SHEIKH OF SHEIKHS (#8) has been training sharply at Keeneland and shipped to Saratoga to score an impressive maiden win in his debut. He will move forward off that one and his speed makes him dangerous. UNCLE VINNY (#12) has the outside post but has to be respected.

    9th Race – Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) -- DUTCH CONNECTION (#5) leads a talented contingent of European invaders contesting the race. He has been in the money in 8 of his 9 races and his only off-the-board performance was against the highly touted Gleneagles in the Qipco Two Thousand Guineas (G1). He just missed in his first race against older horses last out and get the slight edge in here. TOURIST (#12) is 1 of 2 in here for trainer Bill Mott. He came off a long layoff to easily beat Undrafted at Kentucky Downs and he looks like he could be ready for a career-best performance today. SEEK AGAIN (#13) is the other Mott runner. He is winless this year but rarely runs a bad race and can't be left out of the gimmicks.

    10th Race – ANYTHINGYOUCANDO (#2) drops in for a tag for the first time and has been training well at Churchill. He rates the edge with Corey Lanerie picking up the mount for trainer Paul McGee. SECRET STASH (#7) just missed last out and is definitely the one to beat. FORESTONE (#9) is a contender. 




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