The Meadowlands Racetrack is pleased to announce that the position of Director of Racing Operations will be filled by Darin Zoccali, effective November 30, 2012. Zoccali, 29, a native of Staten Island, New York is a graduate of St. John’s University. He later attended Pace Law School in White Plains, New York. He has been around horse racing, and particularly the Meadowlands his entire life, attending the races with his father from when he was a small child. After law school, Zoccali decided to pursue a career in his true passion, horse racing.
In 2006, Zoccali began filling in as a co-host on the Meadowlands in-house and nightly recap television show, while working as a news correspondent for the United States Trotting Association. The following year he realized a dream, gaining the opportunity to call races at both Tioga Downs and Ocean Downs. In the years that followed Zoccali became a regular contributor to “Down the Stretch” on SiriusXM radio while seeing his role at the Meadowlands continuing to grow in guest services, marketing and television. Later he would become the associate announcer at Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park) and one of the feature writers for Harness Racing Update. In January 2012 he took on the role of morning line odds maker and track handicapper at the Meadowlands.
In a twist of fate, Zoccali now finds himself working alongside one of the first people to give him an opportunity in the industry, Jason Settlemoir. “Having worked with Darin for the last six years at Tioga Downs, I’ve come to learn that his passion for the sport of harness racing is only surpassed by his work ethic,” said Settlemoir. “He brings many things to the table and at a young age has already contributed to the sport in many different ways. He excels in studying numbers and figures, breaking them down and forming ideas based on what he has learned. I am excited to set forth on this new journey with Darin filling this role. He brings energy and enthusiasm to a position that warrants a great deal of both. We are getting set to launch a new era at the Meadowlands with the opening of a brand new facility and I am very pleased to have Darin as a part of this team.”
Zoccali is overwhelmed by the opportunity. “I was ecstatic when I was asked to become the odds maker and track handicapper last year,” said Zoccali. “I told my wife, there is one person in the world that gets to do that and to think that’s me, I was speechless. But now this gives that concept a whole new meaning. I have learned many things since I started working in this business. One of those things was there is no better team than Jeff Gural and Jason Settlemoir. I’m just happy to be a part of this team, where I will continue to learn from them and will do everything I can to contribute to this racetrack that has meant so much to me, my entire life. This is not just a job and this is not just a racetrack to me. It continues to be a huge part of my life.”
In addition to his role as Director of Racing Operations, Zoccali will continue as the morning line odds maker and track handicapper. He will continue to appear on the Meadowlands television broadcasts and will remain the Meadowlands correspondent to TVG, appearing each race night on “Drive Time.”
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