Tipsheet: 2024 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes

February 29th, 2024

An overflow field of 14 sophomores will run 1 1/16 miles on the Turfway Park all-weather oval in Saturday’s $150,000 John Battaglia Memorial S. The 2024 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series contest will give the top-five finishers qualifying points towards Churchill Downs on May 4 on a 20-10-6-4-2 structure. 

John Battaglia Memorial Stakes Picks

  • #7 Blue Eyed George
  • #6 Epic Ride
  • #1 Gettysburg Address
  • #4 Bolt at Midnight

John Battaglia Memorial Stakes Wagers

  • $20 win and place #7 Blue Eyed George
  • $10 exacta box 6-7
  • $1 trifecta 7 with 1,4,6 with all

John Battaglia Memorial Stakes Contenders

#1 GETTYSBURG ADDRESS (6-1): First of the Brad Cox trio has been fourth in three straight while facing solid competition and will try the synthetic for the initial time. The Constitution colt obviously has some talent to him, and the three-year-old could be dangerous with improvement on the surface change from the rail. Gerardo Corrales has the call. 

#2 ODE TO BALIUS (30-1): American Freedom colt graduated on the dirt in a second career try at Ellis Park in August and makes his first appearance since that effort. This Concepcion Torres trainee will need a major step forward off the shelf to upset this field, and I would prefer to watch one before backing the bay. Sonny Leon has the ride. 

#3 MR. FAVERSHAM (30-1): Stephen Lyster claim graduated most recently in a second straight solid try on the oval and is ambitiously placed in this one in his first for new connections. The late runner will need a pace meltdown to be a factor in the stretch at a big number under Orlando Mojica. 

#4 BOLT AT MIDNIGHT (4-1): Dangerous contender looked good in a recent maiden win on the strip when coming home with excellent energy for conditioner Mick Ruis. The Bolt d’Oro homebred has improved his Brisnet Speed figure with each career outing to date, and another step in the right direction will give him a chance on the class rise with Martin Garcia up. 

#5 FIDGET (15-1): Brad Cox charge was empty late in the Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn Park in his stakes bow, but the son of More Than Ready had good form prior to that one and can’t be ignored for a standout barn. The $85,000 yearling purchase will flash early interest with Fernando de la Cruz taking the reins.  

#6 EPIC RIDE (5-2): John Ennis pupil is a headbob from being unbeaten from a trio of lifetime runs and might be the one to beat in the big cast. This $160,000 son of Blame waltzed home a sharp winner of the Leonatus S. on the course in his latest performance, and the bay will be ready to roll following a bullet half-mile drill in his latest morning move. Adam Beschizza has the call. 

#7 BLUE EYED GEORGE (6-1): Top pick from the Mike McCarthy shedrow finished a clear runner-up off the shelf in the recent Leonatus S. and will move forward in his second run off the layoff. The $200,000 son of Flameaway has displayed a nice turn of foot in three of his four career tries and will be the one to hold off late beneath Luan Machado. 

#8 BREAK OUT (12-1): Exotics contender broke his maiden on the Gulfstream Park lawn most recently and has intrigue with the move to the synthetic on this occasion. The Saffie Joseph pupil has good ability and the son of Good Samaritan has some versatility in his running style, as well. The Kentucky-bred will have Tyler Conner in the irons. 

#9 MISSION READY (15-1): Eddie Fernandez trainee showed marked improvement with blinkers added last time out when posting a smart allowance tally on the oval. The Catholic Boy gelding will need another step up to challenge this field in the lane, but he could be a top-four presence at a healthy number with Gavin Ashton in the controls.

#10 GOOD BALI (20-1): Leonatus S. third has been steadily improving as of late and rates a chance as an exotics piece in the field with continued ascension. The Kentucky-bred from the Rusty Arnold shedrow did show more early interest in his latest endeavor, but he will revert to making one run in the lane on Saturday with Colby Hernandez in the stirrups. 

#11 MUGATU (20-1): Jeff Engler trainee has checked in third in a pair of allowance tests leading up to this event, and the chestnut son of Blofeld would be a major surprise in this field. Joe Talamo retains the ride. 

#12 ENCINO (9-2): Nyquist colt from the barn of Brad Cox was game in graduating in his second lifetime showing most recently, but the colt draws widest of all and he will need improvement to be in the mix against this group inside the final furlong. Axel Concepcion will pilot the Godolphin homebred. 

#13 KARLWITHANARL (20-1): Klimt colt is first on the also-eligible list and is 2-for-2 since having blinkers added for conditioner Robert Medina. The bay has been facing softer leading up to his stakes bow, but he is moving in the right direction and is worth considering for the lower rungs of the vertical exotics. 

#14 KATHEEB (10-1): Shadwell homebred, who is second on the also-eligible list, aired on debut on this surface prior to finishing unplaced in a subsequent turf endeavor for trainer Brendan Walsh. The More Than Ready chestnut endured a tough voyage at Gulfstream Park last time out, and he can be a contender with something resembling his first run if he draws into the race.