Mike Battaglia's Picks
THURSDAY, JANUARY 17: (Preview)
ROGUE TOO and CROSSING ALASKA form a very strong entry for James Chapman and Rowling Oaks Farm. ROGUE TOO appears to be the better of the two but either one is capable of winning tonight. FLION LYNN LION comes off a game maiden win but would have to improve to beat the top two.
MY DARK SECRET has been running against better and drops in against bottom claimers tonight. She has the speed to be in contention throughout and gets the nod with DeLeon back aboard for Jamie Grubbs. CHOPPYCHOPPYCHOPPY just missed at this level last out and looks like the main competition. DULCE DE LECHE rates a chance.
HE IS RUTHLESS has been running well at Hawthorne after coming back off a long layoff. He has the speed to make the lead and is capable of the wire-to-wire score for Larry Smith and Luan Machado. INDY RHYTHM will be running at the end and rates a chance at decent odds. DOUBLE DERINGER fits in here.
BREAK THE DEAL is a consistent runner who was claimed last out by high percentage trainer Larry Smith. He has a solid record over this track and looks like a good bet to win this one with Ouzts aboard. ROYAL GHOST rates a chance.
PISTOL BOX comes off a pair of runner-up efforts at this level and appears to be in a good spot to pick up the win for Tom Van Berg with Lezcano back aboard. ALL HANDS ON DECK has chased the top pick in both of those races and looks second best. ZAPPER gets blinkers for the first time and could improve.
MISS PINKERTON showed huge improvement last out, finishing second after setting a fast pace. A repeat of that one would make her tough to catch tonight. BEE BALM was heavily favored against the top pick last out but stopped after pressing that pace. She is capable of better and has to be respected. MY MIDNIGHT AFFAIR is training well for her Kentucky debut.
SISTAS READY ran well to finish second in her first race back after a six-month layoff. She figures to move forward off that effort and Charlie LoPresti should have her ready to win with Machado back up. TWIN CHANNEL was an easy winner last out after getting away with some soft fractions. She figures to have some company on the front end tonight but is the one to catch. GALILEO'S MELODY has been off since October but had a recent bullet work and is a contender.
MOMMA'S ANGEL showed huge improvement in her first try over the Turfway Poly. She drops a notch in class and a repeat of that one makes her a winner in here. ITS COLD IN DEHERE was no match for the top pick last out but that was her first race and she definitely figures to move forward. TSCHUDI'S GIRL didn't take to the slop at Fair Grounds and is in much easier tonight.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18: (Preview)
FOREVERINYOURFAVOR was a game maiden winner last out and a repeat of that one could be good enough to win again. LADY RUBI ran poorly as the favorite last out but is capable of rebounding tonight. ONLY PRAISE ME fits in here.
FEROCIOUS TIGER had a rough trip last out but rallied well to finish second. He appears to be in a good spot to pick up the win on the class drop. SKIFFS BREWMEISTER needed his last race after a four-month layoff. He loves this track and will be tough to beat. PRIMED FOR TALENT should get a good trip from the inside post.
MIDNIGHT SWAY comes off a long layoff but is training well for Wes Ward. She drops in for a tag and figures to be ready tonight. SAMURAI'S GARDEN is one of two in here debuting for high percentage trainer Tom Drury. Watch the board on this one. SURFER GIRL CENTS is by multiple stakes winner Goldencents and has to be respected.
MUSTANG CAT has been idle for over a year but has been training steadily for his return. He drops in class and hooks a fairly weak field tonight. TRAPPER PEAK also comes off a long layoff but posted a recent bullet work at The Training Center and has to be considered. AMANI'S KITTEN is a contender.
Race 5: THE FOREGO STAKES
GONEGHOST is an amazingly consistent six year old. He has raced only 17 times in his career but won 11 of those and comes in off an easy score at Hawthorne. Chris Emigh comes in to ride for Scott Becker and he looks best in a very good renewal of the Forego. LANIER has run two solid races since being claimed by Brett Santangelo back in November. He is in top form right now and looks like the one to beat. KITTEN'S CAT is a well traveled runner from the barn of Mike Maker. He has the tactical speed to be in contention throughout and his best would make him dangerous.
BUD'S BAYONET is back in against bottom claimers and he gets the nod with Johnny McKee picking up the mount. BOURNE IN NIXA will win with anything close to his best race but the big class drop in a reason for concern. HUGH B. has the speed to be a contender.
ODIE is another one trained by Wes Ward who comes in off a layoff. His works aren't fast but he has been training steadily for the past two months and looks best with Albin Jimenez named to ride. AGAINST THE LINE faded in the stretch after making a wide move on the turn last out. He could run well in here at decent odds. ELVIS THE CAT debuts for Tom Drury off a series of solid works.
TACO WAYNE'S SHOT has just three wins from 41 starts but she seems to like this track and was a winner last out. She is capable of making it two in a row. SHE'S GOT FRIENDS is a lightly raced four year old who has won two of her four races and looks like the one to beat in here. ARCH AWAY faded badly at Hawthorne but her speed makes her dangerous.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 19: (Preview)
TRAPPE VALLEY was third against a stronger field last out. Give him the edge with Mojica back aboard for Brett Santangelo. WILD ZAMBEZI has the speed to make the lead and will be tough to catch. SHARM figures to be running at the end and has to be respected.
GALES OF NOVEMBER looked good winning at this level last out. She figures to be rallying from just off the pace and can make it two in a row for Mojica and Santangelo. LOVE THE POWER moves up in class after a sharp score. She likes this track and is the one to catch. CURIOUS RUTH was no match for the top pick last out but makes her third start back after a layoff and is eligible to improve.
MUNCHIES closed well to finish second in her Turfway debut. She should move forward off that one and rates the slight edge in what looks like a very well matched race. I GOT IT ran evenly last out and definitely fits with this bunch. MISS FRANK E didn't win a race last year but showed some improvement last out and has the speed to be dangerous at a price.
FEARLESS KITTY drops to the bottom for the first time in his career and looks best at this level. TWENTY GAUGE is a seven year old who has just two wins in 38 starts but his best races are on this track and he beat the top pick two starts back. UNCLE BILLY comes in from Laurel after finishing last in his last three starts. He has raced against much better in the past so watch the board for clues on this one.
DREAM PARK has the speed to be on or near the lead throughout and gets the nod in a race where most of the likely contenders are coming in off layoffs. DAYIN DEAUVILLE has been off since July but she has run well here in the past and Aaron West has very good numbers with returning runners. ALLURING APPROVAL comes off a seven-month layoff but has posted two bullet works and has to be considered.
THOMAS SHELBY is a $525,000 Fasig-Tipton sales grad who was a game winner here back in November for Wes Ward. He has been training steadily since that score and appears to be in a good spot to make it two in a row tonight. SOULMATE is also trained by Ward. He broke his maiden for a tag but came back to just miss last out. If he continues to improve he will be dangerous. KENTUCKY ALLSTAR flashed speed against better at Gulfstream and has to be respected.
MAJESTIC KINDNESS definitely prefers more distance but was a sharp winner two starts back. She will be running late and can win this one with Johnny McKee aboard for Murat Sancal. SHARED SILENCE has been off since July but likes this track and drops back in for a tag. TEMPESTUOUS AMY fits with these.
I'M A LUCKY GUY is a lightly raced five year old from the barn of Tom Van Berg. He has run evenly against better and his best would make him a winner against this field. KITTEN FOR GRANNY figures to be the main competition. BROUILLARD woke up last out and is a threat.
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