Mike Battaglia's Picks
THURSDAY, JANUARY 18 (Preview)
ROB AND JOHNS GIRL didn't show much in her first race back after a four-month layoff but drops to the bottom tonight. She likes this track and figures to improve enough to beat this field. TALIAFERRO COUNTY looked good winning two starts back and a repeat of that one makes her dangerous. WOOD NOT MIND fits in here.
SLOWHAND was a beaten favorite in his last race but ran gamely to finish second. He gets the nod with Garcia aboard for Wes Ward. CINCINNATI drops a notch in class after some decent efforts in Florida. If he takes to the Poly he will be tough to beat. NIGHT GALLERY finished right behind the top pick in his first race since July and is a definite threat.
LIL POM POM overcame a rough start to finish a close-up third in her Turfway debut. A better start may be all she needs to win this one with Lebron back aboard for Barbara Riley. TIZ BEAUTY exits the same race as the top pick and figures second best. DOODLES drops in class and has to be considered.
DISORDERLY CONDUCT drops back in against bottom claimers and looks like a solid bet to win this one at short odds. OWL CREEK has been dull recently but has run well over this track in the past and will be running late in a race that figures to have a fast pace. He could add value to the gimmicks. HELLO PEOPLE has been in the money in five of his six races over this track and has to be respected.
BREZNO has an excellent career record on the all-weather surfaces and comes off of back-to-back wins here at Turfway. Kim Hammond had him entered to run for $25,000 on last Friday's canceled card so the drop back in for $8,000 is a bit bothersome but it would be tough to go against him in here. MYKONOS was claimed for a winning effort at this level back in December and Lebron picks up the mount. He is the one to beat. ENLISTED MAN likes this track and is a contender.
NEVER GROW OLD was a beaten favorite last out but had a rough trip in that one. She was steadied in the first turn and bothered by a loose horse turning for home. Give her the edge with Franklin picking up the mount for Wes Ward. TRIVIAL exits the same race as the top pick. She lost in a head-bobbing finish in that one and has the tactical speed to be in contention throughout. She will be tough to catch. CHASING CARS was also in that race and is a contender.
TIZZA TEMPER didn't fire last out on the dirt but she has much better form on the grass and figures to like the move to the Poly tonight. Give her the slight edge in what looks like a very well matched allowance race. ETHYL ETHER ran well to finish third in her debut here last month. She posted a recent bullet work for Bill Connelly and looks dangerous with Ouzts back aboard. LEISURE ran well on the Poly at Woodbine and moves back to the barn of Ben Colebrook. She is a definite threat.
PREEMPTIVE STRIKE drops back a notch in class and appears to be in a good spot to get his second career win against this bunch. GIOVANTE also takes the class drop after an even effort against better. He will be running at the end and looks like the main competition. SANTA MONICA BEACH has been off since November but is training well for his return--if he draws in.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 19 (Preview)
COOPER'S KEEPER was second at this level last out and should get a good trip from just off of the pace tonight. Give her the slight edge in the opener. CELTIC GOLD exits the same race as the top pick. She lost all chance when she stumbled leaving the gate in that one but figures to go right to the front in here. She will be tough to catch. ROCKAROO beat the top two last out and is a definite contender again.
MISIA SEKIGUCHI is a consistent runner at this level and she can win this one with her best effort. PROM THEME has been dull recently but is capable of running at the end and could be dangerous. PAPER DOLLIE is on the also-eligibles but would be the top pick if she gets in.
FOREVER SURE is a 10-year-old veteran who drops in against bottom claimers. He should be able to handle this bunch with Lebron picking up the mount. MOVE THE CHAINS comes off of a solid effort against better. A repeat of that one makes him the one to beat. BACK TOGETHERAGAIN just missed last out in a game effort and was well clear of the third-place finisher in that one.
VALENTINE ROSIE was a beaten favorite last out after setting a pressured pace throughout. She should be able to lay right off of the leaders tonight and rates the slight edge over MAJESTIC MEGAN in a close call. MAJESTIC MEGAN closed well to beat the top pick last out. She figures to be running late again tonight and looks like the main competition. LADY CLEOPATRA moves up in class after a win and has to be respected.
RACE 5: THE FOREGO STAKES
WELLABLED had an excellent two-year-old campaign before being sidelined for a year. He came back to win impressively over this track in his second start after that layoff and appears to be back to his best form. He looks best for perennial Arlington leaders Larry Rivelli and Jose Valdivia. LANIER was no match for Royal Son last out but was eight lengths clear of the third-place finisher in that one. He cuts back to 6 1/2 furlongs and should be able to come from just off of what figures to be a fast pace. DAC prefers more distance but also chased Royal Son last out. He should be flying at the end and can't be left out of the gimmicks.
LULUSIMMARD dropped far back in the early going of her debut race but was running very well at the end of that one. She figures to move forward for Eric Reed and rates the edge with McKee picking up the mount. SEVENHEARTSWARRIOR was a beaten favorite last out at Hawthorne but moves back to the Poly and looks dangerous in this spot. PETTY GAMBIT beat the top pick last out and has the speed to be dangerous.
BRO STROLL should get a good trip from the inside post and rates the edge in this bottom claimer. SACRED PROMISE comes off of a runner-up effort against similar and is the one to beat. RIVER KID drops in class and is a contender.
SANIMO has been hooking better at Fair Grounds and Churchill. If he takes to the Poly he should be able to handle this field. GALLANT CAUSE has the speed to be on or near the lead and is the one to catch. CANNONSHOT fits with these.
TORAZO was a game winner last out and has posted two bullet works since that score. He appears to be in a good spot to make it two in a row for Joe Davis with Azael De Leon picking up the mount. SHARM will be running at the end in a race with a ton of early speed. He could figure in the gimmicks at nice odds. MOOOSE just missed against the top pick and is a contender in a tough allowance race.
LI'L J has the speed to make the lead from the inside post and is capable of the front-running score under Lebron. TOP GATO needed his race last out and should move forward. He is the one to beat. ON THE RIVER is a contender.
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