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.

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    1st Race: TWITTERVERSE (#6) ran second in a race here on opening day. She has the speed to be in front this afternoon and looks like a winner with Corey Lanerie back aboard for Eddie Kenneally. HOME TOWN GAL (#3) drops in for a tag for the first time and is definitely the one to beat. JUSTICE JUDY (#2) is a contender.

    2nd Race: HEAVEN'S TOUCH (#5) has been away since April but is in the capable hands of trainer Wesley Ward and is training well for her return. Give her the edge despite the layoff. GUMDROP (#3) prefers the turf but has trained steadily over the Keeneland dirt and has to be considered. CORE DESTINATION (#4) is another one coming off the layoff with solid works.

    3rd Race: LONELILY (#3) has moved forward with every start and appears to be in a good spot to get her maiden win today. EMPRESS MAKER (#8) had a rough trip last out and still finished second. Trainer Graham Motion is hot right now and this one is a definite threat. ETNA'S ANGER (#9) ran well in her first turf try and should improve.

    4th Race: NIGHT MANEUVER (#3) is a consistent runner who was claimed last out by Ramseys/Maker. He runs back for the same price and his best would be good enough to win here. PLENTY ELUSIVE (#7) drops in for a tag for the first time and is the one to beat at this level. SEVE (#4) has been off since March but is training well for his return.

    5th Race: MESOMA (#4) set a track record when he broke his maiden at Ellis Park and the runner-up in that one came back to win easily here on opening day. The recent slow work is a concern but he gets the nod with Rosie Napravnik picking up the mount for trainer Garry Simms. TALE OF HONOR (#5) looked very sharp breaking his maiden at Churchill and figures to be tough in here. TEXAS TWO STEP (#1) has been off since April but is a contender.

    6th Race: ENGAGINGLEE (#9) has been second in three of her six races and has never really run a bad race for trainer Dale Romans. She figures to get a good trip under Corey Lanerie and rates the edge in an extremely well-matched maiden race. SHIFT COLORS (#10) has had gate problems in three of her four races and can run well here with a better break. SMART ASHLEY (#3) can't be left out of the gimmicks.

    7th Race: TWANG (#5) was no match for odds-on favorite Gamblers Ghost in his last race at Churchill but may have needed that one after a two-month layoff. Al Stall's horses are running very well this meet and this one rates the edge with Robby Albarado up. RIYADH (#6) broke his maiden in impressive fashion coming through on the rail despite being bumped and knocked sideways. He is the one to beat today. MARSH CREEK (#3) was claimed from his maiden win at Saratoga by trainer Brad Cox, who does well with his first claims.

    8th Race -- Rood & Riddle Dowager: CAT'S CLAW (#2) was a beaten favorite at Kentucky Downs last out but is a perfect 2 for 2 at today's distance of a mile and a half. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard adds lasix for the first time and she rates a slight edge in a wide-open renewal of the race. CAROLINE THOMAS (#13) finished a close-up third last out in the Glen Falls (G3) and a similar performance makes her dangerous. FIRST ROMANCE (#9) could run well at nice odds.

    9th Race: LASSOFTHEMOHICANS (#5) was second behind an impressive maiden winner at Churchill and has trained well since that effort. Look for her to get her maiden win with Corey Lanerie back aboard for trainer Brendan Walsh. OCEANWAVE (#4) also ran well at Churchill and is the one to beat. ZIG ZAG (#7) is training well.




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