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 11, 2014

    1st Race: TIZ SARDONIC JOE (#4) flattened out after making a solid middle move last out at Gulfstream. He has trained well since returning to Kentucky and the drop in for a tag should make him a winner in the opener. SAN ANTONE (#1) also takes the class drop after hooking much better last out. He will appreciate the move back to the Polytrack and is definitely the one to beat. JOMELO (#2) rates a chance.

    2nd Race: BUSTLE (#9) takes the class drop and anything close to her best makes her a winner with Javier Castellano up for trainer Mike Maker. CHINCHERO (#1) has good early speed and owns a win over the Keeneland Polytrack. She is the one to catch. JANE'S HEIR (#2) fits with these.

    3rd Race: TIREE (#9) didn't show any early speed last out and was never in contention. He figures to break much better today and should be on or near the lead throughout. He will like the move back to the synthetic surface and looks like another winner for the Ramseys/Maker/Castellano trio. BARZINI (#3) is also trained by Maker. He moves up in class after a win and will be running late. CHALICE (#6) is a contender.

    4th Race: KATHREENAS MOON (#11) broke poorly in her debut and ran well to finish second. She has trained well since that start and should move forward in her second career start. SABBATICAL (#10) is a well-bred runner from the Shug McGaughey barn. She makes her first start since October but gets Lasix for the first time and has to be respected. LIPSTICK JUNKY (#2) has the speed to be a contender.

    5th Race: RIPOSTE (#11) couldn't make up ground behind extremely slow early fractions at Tampa Bay Downs but should get a legitimate pace today. She looks like a winner with John Velazquez picking up the mount for trainer Bill Mott. PRAIA (#10) has been off since October but is training well and is a perfect 2-for-2 on the Keeneland lawn. She is definitely the one to beat. MALIBU YANKEE (#2) rates a chance.

    6th Race: COLONEL JOAN (#11) is a maiden who ran third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). She has been off since that effort but it would be tough to go against her today with Julien Leparoux picking up the mount for Eoin Harty. SPRING BLOSSOM (#6) is a high-priced Keeneland sales grad from the Pletcher barn. She was unable to make up ground on the speed-favoring Gulfstream surface but could wake up on the move to Polytrack. MA BILLET DOUX (#2) is a contender.

    7th Race: SAYLER'S CREEK (#8) moves up in class after back to back wins in claiming company. She likes the Keeneland Polytrack and looks best despite the class hike. GREENGRASSOFYOMING (#5) is also coming off of a win and has run well here in the past. He will be tough in a well-matched race. UPKEEP (#3) had a recent bullet work at Churchill and Julien Leparoux is aboard.

    8th Race: STREETHOMEALABAMA (#4) ran well on the Keeneland Polytrack last meet and comes off a solid effort at Oaklawn in her 3-year-old debut. She should move forward off that one and rates the slight edge over Granny Mc’s Kitten in a close call. GRANNY'S MC’S KITTEN (#6) has been idle since the Breeders Cup but is in the capable hands of trainer Chad Brown and will be tough if she likes the Polytrack. SPANGLED BANNER (#7) could run well at decent odds.

    9th Race – Maker’s 46 Mile (G1): The amazing two-time Horse of the Year WISE DAN (#3) looks to add to his $6.2 million bankroll when he goes postward as the heavy favorite in the Maker’’s 46 Mile. Works by the now-7-year-old suggest his age hasn't caught up to him and he is expected to win his 20th career race for trainer Charlie LoPresti with John Velazquez aboard. ZA APPROVAL (#1) gave the champ a scare in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) and looks second best again. LOCHTE (#6) has blossomed into a top turf runner and is a contender.

    10th Race: OFFLEE SINISTER (#9) comes off of a career best performance at Turfway and can win at this level with Jeremy Rose riding. TIZ TEBOW TIME (#2) has been off for almost a year but trainer Ken McPeek’s horses are running well. WELL VERSED (#7) debuts for trainer Wayne Catalano and has to be respected.

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