• Week Of 1/5 - 1/11
  • SU5
  • MO6
  • TU7
  • WE8
  • TH09
  • FR10
  • SA11
Track Handicapper Darin Zocali's Bio
Darin Z  RACE REVIEWS by Darin Zoccali A thoroughbred and standardbred racing announcer and analyst, Darin works for several racetracks including the Meadowlands, Parx Racing at Philadelphia Park and Tioga Downs.  He is also a regular fill in on Sirius XM Radio's Down The Stretch broadcast.  He is a graduate of St John's University (class of 2005) and is one of the youngest announcers/broadcasters in the racing business.

Race Reviews For Saturday, January 11, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 9-4-6-1
H Horse Comment
1 ROCKNROLL JEWEL Gets the drop in class to the level of his win. This field is tougher than what he beat there, though. No short price.
2 ON THE RADAR Part of that blanket finish last week. That was a better effort, but still not sold that he is ready to jump up and win.
3 BOLERO ANDREW He continues to take play and he continues to tail off. I would need an awfully inviting price for me to consider here.
4 SPILL THE BEANS Qualifiers are certainly impressive on the move to the new barn. A former Cox trainee has had success here this meet.
5 STALLONE BLUE CHIP Much better last time as he took much better to this tougher class. If he takes another step forward, he has a shot.
6 MORTAL ZIN Drops down the class ladder now, so he needs to be considered on that alone. Looks like the kind of spot he can wake up.
7 I DO HANOVER Exits the same race as Stallone, where he raced well. Form has been consistent. Continue to include on your tickets.
8 GIDDY UP BLACKFLY I am not sold he is exiting the strongest of the C-1 events. That said, Miller does stick here. Tricky call at this point.
9 UP UP AND OUT Gets necessary class relief and that could make a world of difference. If you like Mortal Zin, you have to use him as well.
10 FRESH DREAM Took some play last time but did not factor at all. Loses Zeron and moves to the far outside. Looks like a longshot now.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 5-2-3-7
H Horse Comment
1 LIS RAIN Stepping up off a sharp win and Gale has scored with a NY invader already this meet. Call him a fringe player in this group.
2 DINNER AT THE MET Couldn’t have found a better spot for his career debut as this field came up light. I think he will be very tough here.
3 STIMULUS PLAN Likely needed that first start back off the layoff and caught a good horse in Barbarian. I expect improvement tonight.
4 NOBLE LOGANS LOU He has gone off massive odds in both starts, but his 12/21 effort hinted at ability. He can make noise in this field.
5 ROCK STAR Added Lasix last time, but didn’t factor. He did kick home in 27.2, so that is a good sign of improvement. Can make a case.
6 OFFICER Did not make much of an impact in either start so far. I would need to see some improvement, despite this softer group.
7 EX DREAM Passed a few in the stretch and made up some ground, so I guess that is something to note. 1:52.4 looks good in this field.
8 GOODATBEINGBAD Yet to hit the board in four lifetime starts and I just have not seen enough yet to merit my consideration.
9 RJ’S DAY He has gone off triple-digit odds in all 3 starts so far and hasn’t gotten closer than a dozen lengths behind. Cannot recommend.
10 GHOST HOUSE His Dover form looks awfully good in this spot. If he can carry that form north, he is a serious contender for the win.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 1-9-4-3
H Horse Comment
1 BARBARIAN Loved him last week and we stole that 8-1 price. Steps up, but I really like this horse. Think he has more still to offer. Pick.
2 IDEAL ROWAN Did not factor last time. Just 2 for 28 lifetime as well. I need to see him start to move things forward first. Still a longshot.
3 AMERICAN PAPARAZZI I don’t know how he lost last week, because Axiom Hanover looked done. That said, he is still extremely sharp.
4 SENOR GRANDE Out-raced his odds last time and narrowly missed at a huge price. Off that mile, he has to be considered a factor.
5 CRUIJFF He was a little better last week, although the leaders were really getting tired late in the mile. Must take another step forward.
6 RING LEDA Did not make an impact last time and now loses Callahan. Just 1 for 18 last year and is tough for me to recommend tonight.
7 AHEAD OF THE CROWD Better effort last time, but again, feel the leaders were coming back to the field late. Can get a piece with a trip.
8 WILL KANE Part of the pace that was falling apart late last time. Loses Pierce and perhaps there will be a change in tactics tonight.
9 BERKSHIRE BEAR This barn has been hot and this horse has been sharp. That is a good combination. A logical player that muse be used.
10 JLDON’TWASTEMYTIME He is racing well, although he probably should have had a bit more punch in the stretch. Still, can compete.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 7-4-5-9
H Horse Comment
1 TWIN B FAMOUS Has not been a factor at this level yet and despite the move inside, Campbell choosing Terror High tells me enough.
2 COURAGEOUS CAT Finished a much improved 3rd last time despite being sent off at 33-1. Looks like he is cycling forward. Exotics use.
3 FOX VALLEY ACTION Loomed up on the outside before tiring. Recent form is a tough pill to swallow. Plus, Callahan chooses off.
4 HUMILITY Much better last time, setting the tempo in a very quick mile. I think he is on par with ‘Giggity and may offer the better price.
5 IMA GIGGITY FOOL Couldn’t get to Manchester last time, but still off that mile he looks awfully good in this field. Expect him to be chalk.
6 CONTRABAND HANOVER Has not come back sharp off the qualifier. My guess is there is an improved effort coming. Could be tonight.
7 GALLANT SEELSTER Coming out of an extremely tough race, where he had virtually no shot. He made over $8k per start for a reason.
8 ONE BAD SHOT Was good 2 starts back, but was not a factor last time. He has considerable ground to make up on a couple of these.
9 TARPON HANOVER Added Lasix, but disappointed. Interesting, Surick makes the move to Gingras as Miller had been his go-to-guy.
10 TERROR HIGH He will likely be tighter for this, but it is unfortunate that he drew post 10 again. Campbell sticks for long term prospects.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 9-6-8-7
H Horse Comment
1 ASTREOS FLASH His runner-up finish in a rather slow C-2 just doesn’t seem to stack up against this group. Hasn’t won in some time.
2 MR TERRY FRA Had no chance from post 10 last time. He was 63-1 in that spot as well. Hard to recommend at this point in time.
3 SCREEN THE CALL Really came up empty in the stretch last time. He was favored in that spot too. Would need to pick things up now.
4 FOUR STARZ KYLE Hasn’t gotten close in a while now and I would need to see some signs of improvement before recommending.
5 EXPLODENT Comes right back off the claim, but he was rather disappointing last time. Will need to respond to the barn change well.
6 MAJOR WAY We have already seen a $15k claimer graduate to the $20k level and win right back this meet. He can do just the same.
7 VICTORYDZE WILWIN Not bad last time and he is still in pretty good form. Not sure if he can win, but I will be including on my tickets.
8 STORMIN RUSTLER Very sharp right now and I was really surprised he was able to repeat last time. Interesting move to this $20k claimer.
9 DIABLO SEELSTER Ran into a really sharp horse last time and was far from disgraced. Seems logical and I expect Miller to be aggressive.
10 ESPRIT DE KAYJAY Wild card as his best can win this. Post 10 won’t make things easy, but he certainly has the speed needed from here.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 6-4-3-7
H Horse Comment
1 BLATANTLY GOOD Kicks off a loaded field. He has been out-racing his odds and will likely offer a square price again. Cannot dismiss.
2 SECOND WIND N He has a right to be better in his second start off the freshening. But this field is really tough. Not just yet.
3 ROAD UNTRAVELED This horse is just extremely sharp right now. Is he up to this level? I’m honestly not sure. But can’t let him beat you!
4 DIAL OR NODIAL He was better last week as he is racing himself into shape. One of these nights, Miller is going to blast. Might be now.
5 ABELARD HANOVER Interesting to see the move to Zeron. Is that the trainer’s call, or Milby didn’t think the drive was worth the trip?
6 HYPNOTIC BLUE CHIP Just faced a scenario that even he couldn’t win from. Still, he came home in 26-seconds. Stays closer tonight.
7 ESCAPE THE NEWS 2013 Aquarius winner raced better last time, but he has been a bit hit or miss lately. Still, he has a ton of ability.
8 AROCKIN HANOVER He had a lot of ground to make up as well, but he was out-kicked in the stretch by Hypnotic. Comes from last.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 5-9-3-10
H Horse Comment
1 CAM B ZIPPER Stepping back up off the win. Make note that he was 67-1 last time at this level. Perhaps the confidence builder will help.
2 SILENT SWING Has not been handling the move to the B-2 level quite well from on or off the pace. I will wait for some class relief.
3 DAMON BLUE CHIP This field is tougher than what he beat last time, but if Burke/Gingras are having a good week, he will take play.
4 COLE HEAT Really disappointed at 3/5 last week at this same level. Barn off to a slow start. Believers will get a much better price.
5 BOLDER Remember, he beat better than this, granted he was 92-1. His last start wasn’t bad and he just might be better than these now.
6 POWER OF TARA N Brings some sharp form in from Dover. Horses like this have been hit or miss here for years. Callahan chooses off.
7 KEEP GOING He was pretty good last week and he might get overlooked in this spot. Has proven success here. Wouldn’t ignore him now.
8 MISSISSIPPI HIPPY If Callahan stuck here, this horse was going to take play off that stretch drive. Still, I think he is worth including here.
9 COLOSSAL His second-itis continues, although if you keyed around him with that gift of 8-1, congratulations and I say, do it again! Can win.
10 MATTADOR D This is a move up and he has already shown post 10 is no problem. This will be a major test for class. Very tough call.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 5-9-2-3
H Horse Comment
1 THANKS FOR STOPPIN That was an OK mile last time and it is possible on the move inside, he can stay close and tow along for a share.
2 DRAGON RIDGE An even mile last time at 50-1. Those odds are gone as he catches the softer of the C-1 divisions. Should be right there.
3 EAGLE JOLT If you like Dragon Ridge, you have to like this gelding as well. Expect speed and should be a factor from start to finish.
4 YES YOUR MATTJESTY Finished 8th last time at this level at 56-1. Beat a softer group at Monticello. This will be much tougher.
5 SPINARAMA The driver switch to Gingras is going to attract some attention and in a field with some question marks, that angle may work.
6 HRUBYS N LUCK That qualifier implies that he may need a start. His previous miles make him fast enough. I will be watching closely.
7 AVOGADRO HANOVER This is a double move up in my opinion off a claim that was also a defeat. I think this will be too tough right now.
8 THUNDER STEELER Beaten a neck last time at Balmoral. The move to the Alagna barn is going to attract plenty of attention. Looks good.
9 REAL NICE Not much of a factor last time but he did finish with some interest. Could be cycling forward to a better effort. Using a bit.
10 SCOFANMAN Getting a move down the class ladder, but he was 63-1 last time and did not factor. Still hard to endorse from post 10.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 1-4-10-3
H Horse Comment
1 WILLY MUCHA Went from awesome to empty, but that was a really brutal trip last time. Expecting a much better effort with this draw.
2 STONEBIDGE TONIC He has a lot of back class to him and is dropping down tonight. But, he was just 1 for 34 last year. Underneath.
3 JIMMY COWAN N Good looking qualifier and obviously Gingras will drive for Burke, so don’t mind him choosing off. Expect him to contend.
4 MAY DAY Good effort last time behind a Burke trainee on a night that barn was hot. Avoids that foe now and assumes the role of favorite.
5 VOICE OF TRUTH One of these nights, he is going to get to the right level and wakeup. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this is that spot.
6 PIERAZ Didn’t really get involved last time from a similar spot. Loses Campbell now and he will need to step up his game quite a bit.
7 APPLEY EVER AFTER He was pretty good last week, earning a piece at long odds. Expect him to still offer value for exotic players.
8 SKY DESPERADO Made 2 moves last time and didn’t have anything left. That was aggressive for a horse sent off 48-1. Interesting.
9 P L FIGHTER If Burke is going well this weekend, then he has a chance. But off his form, I think he may be overbet. Qualifier was good.
10 SPENDER HANOVER Rallied very well last time and I was looking forward to playing him. But, can he win from last? Underneath again.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 8-4-3-5
H Horse Comment
1 TELL US MORE Driver switch may attract some attention, but this is a very tough field and I think he can compete for a minor award.
2 AMERICHI Did he completely tail off? That last mile was too bad to be true. Moves back to Burke. Wouldn’t be surprised if he is better.
3 MANCHESTER Good win last time and now takes a move up the class ladder. Miller goes elsewhere. Good catch drive for Bongiorno.
4 MAGIC TRICKS That was a big effort last time and is certainly hard to ignore off a mile like that. Expect him to contend for win right back.
5 BURKENTINE HANOVER Added Lasix last time and I liked the way he was finishing. Draws well and I make him a serious contender.
6 ANDREW LUCK He really had too much to do last time, but was finishing well. He was 31-1 against similar 2 starts back though. Tricky.
7 MINDSET Which Mindset shows up tonight? This is a tough field and I am really not totally sold on this horse yet. I think others are better.
8 MUSCLE BEACHBOY Really like him in this spot. Miller takes him and he is just razor sharp right now. My pick to turn the tables on Magic.
9 LATE NIGHT JOKE He has to make up some ground on a few of these and likely will have to do it from well off the pace. Tough spot.
10 SKY IS THE LIMIT That field he beat just doesn’t seem to stack up against this group. I need to see a start before I can consider here.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-4-5-2
H Horse Comment
1 YO CHEYENNE ROCKY Talk about not your average B-1. He is dropping off a narrow sub-1:50 loss and this race looks tougher! Yikes!
2 GEORGE JETTISON Really have to like the effort he put forth last time. Any horse that can pace 1:48.4 in January must be considered.
3 ALEXIE MATTOSIE He regressed a bit and then scratched. Still, Miller opted here over Cowboy Terrier. This field is extremely tough.
4 DOVUTO HANOVER He was nothing short of awesome in each of his last two starts. He is the one to beat in a loaded field. The favorite.
5 COWBOY TERRIER Just nipped for the runner-up spot last time by George Jettison. Hard to like one, without using the other now.
6 HURRIKANE KINGCOLE We all know what he can do, and Gingras going here over Burke might just tell us something. I trust Yannick.
7 MORGAN SHARK He was OK last time, but as I just said, this is the first Burke trainee I remember Gingras picking off of this year.
8 BETTORS GLASS Just got tired last time. Now catches the widest post and loses Pierce. Still, he is a contender in here like many others.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 7-4-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 UNADORNED HANOVER Sat the pocket last time and offered little in the stretch. That doesn’t bode well for this. Looking elsewhere.
2 SER JON He is racing pretty well right now and that last mile was respectable. Not sure he can win, but I will certainly use him in exotics.
3 WHEELAWAY Good effort behind a nice horse last time. If Barbarian won earlier, I will be making an investment in this gelding! Player.
4 RECHARGE Just OK last time but he is lightly raced and is likely going to continue to get better. Has to be left in exotics consideration.
5 PIERCE Just got chased down last time. Off 2 months, he might have needed that start. Figures to be tighter and better tonight. Favorite.
6 UF ROCKIN DRAGON Not bad in his first start back off the bench and he has a right to move forward. Still, just 1 for 18 lifetime. Maybe.
7 GRANDPA DON I liked his effort, especially considering it was his first lifetime start. This colt is well-bred and has a high ceiling. My pick.
8 ITSAHARDROCKLIFE Moved back to the level he was 2nd at on 12/17 while sent off at 14-1. Likely to offer a square price once again.
9 ROCK FAME Not bad last time, but I don’t think this colt is blasting and will likely try to pass as many as he can in the stretch. Underneath.
10 STOP DREAMING Hard to endorse off that qualifier and just not sure he is fast enough for this group. Looks like the longshot of the field.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 9-1-8-2
H Horse Comment
1 MC RUSTY His last 2 starts have been better and he might have needed that last race off almost 4 weeks. Figures to take plenty of play.
2 VLOS Every once in a while, he jumps up with a big mile. I cannot predict it off his last pair of starts, but don’t be shocked if it happens.
3 ALLAMERICAN APACHE He is coming off a 3 month layoff. Freehold qualifier was good, but I think it is best to watch his first start back.
4 LLC DELIGHT He has to make up almost 6 lengths on McRusty, among others. Loses Campbell as well. Minor award appears his ceiling.
5 LONG FIGHT HANOVER Backed up through the field from the pocket last time. That doesn’t bode well for this. Still a longshot.
6 ACTION BRAD Just an even try last time as he is racing himself back into shape following a 6 month layoff. Not ready to commit yet.
7 FRISKIES CHEAPSUIT His lack of speed is always a problem, but lately he isn’t showing much late interest either. Not sold on his chances.
8 GRATIAS DEO Picked up a check last time and this is probably the right level for him. Not sold on the win, but can see him on the ticket.
9 WESTERN TSUNAMI Coming off back to back 1:52 miles, he looks like a solid favorite in this group. Expect speed and an aggressive steer.
10 NY ICE His Rosecroft form isn’t bad, but until a Maryland shipper wins here at first asking this meet, I will take a wait and see approach.