Mike Battaglia's Picks
COMMENTS FOR THURSDAY
FAITH FACTOR comes off of back to back wins over this surface. She was claimed last out and moves up in class but can continue that streak with Jimenez picking up the mount for the new connections. LAPIS STORM has won three of her last four in front running fashion. She figures to have some company on the front end tonight but looks like the one to catch. SUPERSTAR DIVA will be running at the end.
DIRECT APPROACH was a very sharp winner in his first start over the Turfway surface. He is another one who moves up the claiming ladder and rates the slight edge in a well matched field. MALIGATOR also ran well in his first try here finishing second at this level. A similar performance makes him the one to beat. MIRACLE MOUNTAIN is a solid threat.
HEADLINE HUNTER debuts for Wes Ward who has excellent numbers with horses debuting for a claiming price. This one has been training steadily and should be ready to fire tonight. SHASTALOO has been a beaten favorite in all three of his races. Brad Cox drops him in for a tag and he figures best of the ones who have raced. SPY A STAR rates a shot.
RAYO DE LUZ comes off of a front running win last out and should be on or near the lead again tonight. He appears to be in a good spot to pick up another win for Jason Barkley and Chris Landeros. DRINK beat the top pick back in December and is a perfect 2 for 2 over this track. ICY STREET is a definite contender.
CAIPIRINHA ran a decent race in her debut despite some early trouble. She figures to improve off of that one and rates the slight edge in a wide open maiden race. JAZZY LADY comes off of two runner up efforts and beat the top pick last out. Look for another solid performance tonight. TELLER TO SING fits in here.
CAPTAIN MAD JACK looked good winning last out and should get another good trip behind what figures to be an honest pace. He can make it two in a row for Gerald Brooks with Santiago Gonzalez back aboard. BOA NOVA comes off of a game front running score but should have company on the front end tonight. LAND BATTLE has been off since September but is training well.
AWESOME WOK N ROLL came off of a three month layoff to win last out for HOF trainer Mark Casse. He faces a tougher field tonight but rates the edge with Jermaine Bridgmohan back up. MR. EVERYTHING also looked good winning his last race. He should like tonight's longer distance and figures to run well again. RAKEEZ will be running late.
CROCKETS BLUFF came off of an eight month layoff to win for Reeve McGaughey. He looks best in this bottom claimer ADHAR figures to be the main competition. THE HUMONGOUS ONE will be tough if he draws in
COMMENTS FOR FRIDAY
MACHO MADNESS has shown improvement in his two races over this track and gets the nod in the opener. BIGMANCAN has been off since November but has run against better and will be tough if he likes the Tapeta. CONTINENTAL CLASH has the speed to be dangerous.
MAXXIMUM ENERGY comes off of an upset win last out and rates the edge in a very wide open race. ALL HANDS ON DECK likes this track. ORCHESTRAL could wake up with Gonzalez picking up the mount'
SAG HARBOR ran a decent race here in December and has been training sharply for Steve Asmussen since that race. He has the speed to be in contention throughout and looks best in this one. THRILL RIDE figures to be tough if he takes to the track. MON'S EYE CANDY was a $350,000 yearling purchase who is working sharply for Dane Kobiske. He has to be considered but the fact that he debuts as a 4 year old is a reason for concern.
SUPREME VENTURE was a front running winner in his first race back after an 11 month layoff. He will have to come from a bit off of the pace tonight but can win this one with Bejarano picking up the mount. POLE SETTER will win with anything close to his best but the drop to the bottom makes him questionable. STEVIS MAN fits in here.
CODE DUELO is a half brother to four stakes winners by multiple Gr. 1 winner Honor Code. He is from the top barn of Brad Cox and has been training steadily since November. He should be ready. MIDWAY MISCHIEF ran well despite ducking in sharply in the stretch last out. If he gets in from the also eligible list he will be tough to beat. TURFY debuts for Wes Ward who is always dangerous.
LADY JENNEVIERE drops in class and has the speed to be on or near the lead throughout. She rates the slight edge in this one. ROLLOVER RISK moves up a notrch after a win and can run well again tonight. QUEEN OF VERONA is a solid threat.
LANIER is a nine year old veteran who is still running well. He comes off of a close up third last out and appears to be in a good spot to get his 14th career victory with Declan Cannon back aboard for Brett Santangelo. SUPER SOL exits the same race as the top pick and should get a good trip from the inside post. SANDINO RULER showed surprising speed the Prairie Bayou and should improve.
CLASSIFIED INFO drops a notch in class and Wilkes adds blinkers tonight. He looks best with Landeros back up. GRAND HIDEAWAY figures to be the one to beat. LODI takes the class drop.
COMMENTS FOR SATURDAY
SO CAUGHT UP IN U comes off of a decent effort at this level. BANTU takes the class drop broke poorly last out. SALTY RIM could improve at a price.
PERFECTLY MAJESTIC was over matched last out but won at this level two starts back. He appears to be in a good spot to return to his winning ways tonight. KIKINBOY is another one who was in too tough last out and should improve at this level. MR. CHOW is an 11 year old veteran who is always dangerous.
ARTIE'S LADY was a beaten favorite last out but cuts back in distance and posted a recent bullet work for Mike Maker. Give him the edge. TOWN AGENDA should get a good trip from his outside post and can run well here. SMOOTHIE takes a big class drop after being claimed last out which is never a good sign.
NIC AND ZOE dropped in for a tag last out at Arlington and came away with an easy win. She hasn't raced since then but had been training sharply for her return and Ward should have her ready to fire tonight. IRISH WILLOW drops back in for a tag for Dale Romans and she figures to be tough to beat. BOURBON N DITCCH is suspect at this distance but her speed makes her dangerous.
I'LL MAKE IT COACH finished a close up third behind an impressive next out winner in her Turfway debut. She figures to move forward off of that one and gets the nod in this one. BEE FAST was third against a better field last out and will be tough to beat at this level. CELISTIAL SPIN is a solid threat.
THE PREDICAMENT looked good winning last out and should be running late in a race loaded with early speed. Look for him to make it two in a row with Santiago Gonzalez back aboard for Tim Hamm. MEDICINE TAIL has chased the talented Pico D'Oro in his last two races and figures to be the one to catch. SAMURAI PRINCE beat the top pick back in December and has to be respected.
SOUTHERN MAMA turned in a very impressive performance in her debut drawing away to win in hand under Albin Jimenez. She faces tougher tonight but looks like she could be a good one for John Ennis. LILIS SONG ran gamely to finish second last out and looks like the one to beat with Rafael Hernandez picking up the mount for Mark Casse. STRONG ODOR has been improving and is a contender.
Several runners in here taking the class drop or coming off of layoffs. Giving the edge to AUNT IRENE who at least has a recent start over this track. LA NEGRA NOCHE and TUMBADORA both take the class drop and could beat this field easily with anything close to their best.
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