Expert Picks - Mike Battaglia

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Please note that selections typically are available about 48 hours in advance of the race.

E.g., Saturday, February 28, 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.

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    1st Race: SMOKIN REWARD (#6) debuts for trainer Chris Richard, who is very good with his first-timers. This one is training sharply in Louisville and should be ready to win with Corey Lanerie up. ACQUAROSSA (#1) was second in her debut at Churchill and figures to be the one to beat. LEAP YEAR LADY (#4) is another first-time starter. She is trained by Ingrid Mason, who is having a good meet and and has to be respected.

    2nd Race: LEAD THE LINE (#2) comes off two even efforts on the grass and shouldn't mind the move to the dirt today. Trainer Brad Cox drops her in for a tag and she appears to be in a good spot to break her maiden. LIME MARTINI (#5) is trained by Michelle Lovell, who is a perfect 2 for 2 this meet. She also takes the class drop and is the one to beat. FIERY CAT (#3) is a contender.
    3rd Race: SHEIKANATOR (#3) has been off since May but drops in for a tag for his return. He has been training steadily for Ken McPeek and looks best despite the layoff. PURPLE SKY (#4) ran well in his first start back after a seven-month layoff and figures to be tough to beat. BUCK MAGIC (#1) has good speed and the inside post.
    4th Race: FLOR DE LA LUNA (#4) was a beaten favorite in her debut but was blocked behind horses in the stretch and lost her best chance to win. She has had several works since that start and trainer Bret Calhoun should have her ready to roll today. LIVE FOREVER (#5) debuts for trainer Mark Casse off a series of good works and has to be considered. PLEASANT TALES (#6) ran well in her only start and is a solid threat.
    5th Race: TAKE IT LIKE A MAN (#1) has been running well on the grass but definitely prefers the dirt and will appreciate the move back today. He drops a notch in class and looks like a solid bet to win this one for trainer Kellyn Gorder with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard. GREY BY YOU (#5) moves up in class off of the claim by trainer Chris Richard. He won that one and is the one to beat in here. WILD TARGET (#2) is a contender.
    6th Race: ZEE BROS (#9) has been flashing speed in graded stakes races and drops back in against allowance runners. He should be able to handle the move to the turf and will be tough at the 5½-furlong distance. TIGER BOURBON (#6) is proven on the grass and should get a good stalking trip under Julien Leparoux. CAMMACK (#2) will be running at the end
    7th Race: RUN ZIPPY RUN (#8) debuts for trainer Kellyn Gorder, who has solid numbers with first-timers. She has been training well for her first start and rates the edge from the outside post. ETHERIDGE (#7) has also been working well here at Keeneland and trainer James DeVito has a 31% win rate with his debuting runners. JUGNI (#1) is a contender.
    8th Race: ILIKECANDY (#2) has been off since February but is in the capable hands of trainer Graham Motion and has been working very well for her return. Look for a big effort with John Velazquez picking up the mount. INTEREST FREE (#4) ran well to finish second in the Open Mind at Churchill. She will be rallying from off the pace and her best makes her the one to beat. FLOWER SPELL (#3) is a solid threat.
    9th Race – Pin Oak Valley View (G3): DARING DANCER (#12) has won four of six on the grass, including a sharp score in the Appalachian here in April. She posted a bullet work here last Monday and rates the edge in a wide-open renewal of the race. A LITTLE BIT SASSY (#14) was narrowly beaten by the top pick in the Lake George (G2) and beat her last out at Belmont. She can’t be left out of the gimmicks. GOLDY ESPONY (#9) ran well in her only race in the U.S. and is a definite threat.
    10th Race: WITH EXCELLENCE (#5) hasn’t won a race this year but showed signs of waking up last out. She has the tactical speed to be in contention throughout and could spring the upset in here. DEFOE STREET (#4) easily defeated the top pick at Churchill and is definitely the one to beat. ANNAFROMINDIANA (#3) rates a chance.




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