Expert Picks - Mike Battaglia

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E.g., November 28

    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 16, 2015

    1st Race: HANDIWORK (#6) was no match for a runaway winner last out but ran well to finish second. He will benefit from the start over the Keeneland surface and rates a slight edge. THE RIGHT THING (#2B) drops in class after a solid performance at Churchill and is the one to beat. MIDNIGHT LOVIN (#4) has only raced once and can show improvement.

    2nd Race: KARLYRAE'SWARRIOR (#4) drops back in for a tag after hooking better at Churchill. His best would make him a winner in this one. FENERBAHCE (#2) comes off a game win and will be running at the end with Corey Lanerie back aboard. FORGE AHEAD FRANKI (#7) fits at this level.

    3rd Race: SCATTER GUN (#5) came back after a 13-month layoff and won impressively at Kentucky Downs. She has never raced on dirt but posted a bullet work over this track earlier this month and looks like a good bet to make it two in a row. MISS COBBLESTONE (#4) was never in contention as the favorite last Friday but trainer Kenny McPeek wheels her back on short rest and she is capable of much better today. LITTLE ARIEL (#3) is a contender.

    4th Race: JERSEY BLUE GIANT (#3) didn't beat much at Belterra last out but has won five of seven this year and appears to be in a good spot to pick up another score for trainer Joe Woodard with Chris Landeros picking up the mount. GROUND FORCE (#11) is a stakes winner of over $400,000. He has been a beaten favorite in his last three but anything close to his best makes him tough today. DYNASKRA (#1) rates a chance. 

    5th Race: STARSHIP ZEUS (#5) woke up last out and won impressively with a strong late kick. He faces much tougher in here but he is proven at the distance and should get a solid pace in front of him. Give him the slight edge. JROCK (#3) drops back in for a tag after a couple of decent efforts against better. He broke his maiden over this track in April and is training well for his return. If he can get the distance he will be hard to beat. DUVAL ST. (#6) rates a chance at decent odds.

    6th Race: CAVALLUCCI (#4) is a lightly raced 4-year-old from the barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, whose horses have run very well this meet. He showed considerable improvement when switched to the grass last out and if he continues to move forward he can with this one with Julien Leparoux picking up the mount. CZAR (#6) has been very consistent finishing in the money in 7 of his 9 races. He can't be left out of the gimmicks. OLD SPORT (#9) has only raced twice and is eligible to improve.

    7th Race: MOONLIGHT SKY (#6) closed strongly to get fourth in a blanket finish at Kentucky Downs. She has trained well since that start and shouldn't mind the move to the dirt. Give her the edge with Shaun Bridgmohan back aboard for trainer Mark Casse. SUGAR CONE (#9) exits a key race at Churchill where the first two runners came back to win. She is definitely the one to beat. BALI STRAIT (#3) ran well in her only race at Presque Isle and also should be able to handle the move to dirt.

    8th Race: ALL DAY ALICE (#5) has solid form and comes off a decent effort in the Dogwood (G3). She has the tactical speed to be in good position throughout and looks like a good bet to win this one with her best performance. PRIVATE ESTATE (#6) faded last out after chasing a fast pace. She has trained well since coming to Kentucky and will appreciate today's one-turn distance. STRIKE BACK FAST (#4) fits with these.

    9th Race: KATIE O. (#4) raced exclusively for a tag until moving to the barn of trainer Mike Maker. She won a rich allowance race at Kentucky Downs last out and can make it two in a row with Florent Geroux back aboard today. ASIA (#6) didn't have the smoothest of trips at Kentucky Downs but posted a solid work here last week and should be ready for a good performance. COCO'S WILDCAT (#9) is graded stakes-placed and has to be respected.

    10th Race: MEDIA TIME (#4) threw in a clunker last out at Hawthorne but drops in for a tag for the first time today. Look for a much improved effort and give him the edge in a well-matched race. REEDER (#5) has been a beaten favorite in his last two and looks like the one to beat in here. TSUMANI NIGHT (#9) is lightly raced and could improve. 




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