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 22, 2015

    1st Race: RED AND WHITE faded after setting the pace in his debut at Ellis. Trainer Wesley Ward drops him in for a tag for this one and he gets the edge running coupled with Maker's Lonely Mission in what looks like a fairly weak maiden claimer. SACKETT ran evenly last out and figures to be the one to beat. SCENIC ROUTE has only had one race and could improve.

    2nd Race: DEEP EXPLORER debuts for Ramsey/Ward off a series of solid works. Trainer Wesley Ward is always tough with his first-timers and this one gets the nod with Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard. LEROI'S THRILL may not have cared for the track in Indiana but a return to his previous form makes him the one to beat. OPEN BAR was purchased for $375,000 a year ago and debuts for a tag today.

    3rd Race: IRISH YOU WELL didn't fire in the Lukas Classic but posted a solid work since that start. Look for him to regain his best form with Paco Lopez regaining the mount for trainer Wayne Catalano. GORGEOUS BIRD comes off an easy win at Indiana Downs. He takes on older runners today but a repeat of that performance would make him the one to beat. STEPHANOATSEE has been off for a year but his back class makes him dangerous.

    4th Race: ETSU rallied to run fourth behind a slow pace at Kentucky Downs in her turf debut. She figures to move forward off that one and rates the slight edge in what looks like a well-matched maiden race. TIZ MADNESS ran well in two sprints. She has never been around two turns but is bred to handle the distance and has to be considered. CAPE CAROLINE fits with these.

    5th Race: WISE CROSSING moves up in class after a nice win on the turf. He won over the Keeneland dirt last October and should be running late in a race that figures to have a lively pace. Give him the edge in a wide-open race. LIMONTE drops to a career-low claiming level and will be tough to beat with Brian Hernandez back aboard for trainer Al Stall. BEMATA fits with these.

    6th Race: SOUND OF FREEDOM was third in his first race back after a six-month layoff. He should move forward off that one and rates the edge in another extremely well-matched race. REVOLVER has been running at Remington but ran well in his debut at Churchill last year. Trainer Steve Asmussen drops him in for a tag for the first time and he looks dangerous in this spot. CALIFORNIA COAST is a definite threat.

    7th Race: TIZ SO SWEET was no match for Catch My Drift last out but that one came back to finish third in the Grade 1 Beldame. She has won 3 of her 6 races and appears to be in a good spot to pick up another score this afternoon. JULIE'S JEWELRY has shown marked improvement in her last two and figures to be the main competition. ZEVEN ran poorly in the Dogwood (G3) but a return to her best makes her dangerous.

    8th Race: DATING LADY LUCK ran fifth against a full field in the Dueling Grounds Oaks and is back in against non-winners of two today. She is proven at the distance and looks like a winner with Miguel Mena picking up the mount for Al Stall Jr. GIANT DEDUCTION finished five lengths behind the top pick last out but is lightly raced and is eligible to move forward. VALSEUSE could add value to the gimmicks.

    9th Race: BARRISTER JIM takes the big class drop, which is concerning but he posted a recent bullet work and Ramsey is looking to win another leading owner title. COPUS should get a good trip from the inside post and figures to be the one to beat. GHOSTWALKING threw in a bad one last out but is capable of much better. 




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