• Week Of 1/12 - 1/18
  • SU12
  • MO13
  • TU14
  • WE15
  • TH16
  • FR17
  • SA18
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 Thursday, January 16, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 8-9-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 HABANERO It’s been quite a while since he has won a race. Doesn’t encounter the toughest of fields. Can see him towing along for a part.
2 GRONKWOSKI His form just isn’t good right now. Has not been close in any of his recent races or qualifiers. Retains longshot status.
3 UPFRONTSTRIKESGOLD Heavily supported on the class drop when he broke. If he trots, he is just faster than these. Measure risk/reward.
4 WINEMASTER HANOVER Gets some needed class relief here, but is a very tough read off his last pair of starts. Likely watching this time.
5 R SAM Solid effort last time and this draw will keep him closer early in the mile. Miller goes elsewhere but with the right setup, he can win.
6 LEIGH ANN Made a break at this same level while 75-1 last time. Based on that, I need to see her stay flat this time around. Not yet.
7 MARCUS BI That last effort was better and perhaps a hint that he is rounding into form. This field came up on the lighter side. Has a shot.
8 SOAPY SAP Three of her last four starts have been solid and this is the kind of spot she normally steps up in and does well. My top pick.
9 PAISLEY Exiting a much better race than this on paper and his effort two starts back is good enough to win this. Appears a logical player.
10 HEYTHEREGEORGIEGIRL Has displayed good speed at times, but the stamina is lacking. This outside draw is not going to help either.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 4-1A-3-6
H Horse Comment
1 YOU ROCK MY WORLD Just got beat by a good filly last time. His stable mate makes this entry very formidable and the price will be short.
1A TIME TO QUIT He is probably the horse to beat in this series. He won with ease last time. Interesting, the entry has drawn posts 11 & 12.
2 CONNIE KEEPER Was well-beaten in that first start in the series while sent off at 110-1. That doesn’t bode well for her chances here.
3 RAY HALL That was a sharp win last time as he showed what he can do when he stays trotting. It is worth noting, Dave Miller chose off.
4 CAJOLE HANOVER Made up a great deal of ground following the miscue and Miller going here shows confidence. Can win, if he trots.
5 SARCASTIC MAN Was sent off at 105-1 last time and was not a factor. Record now stands at 0 for 18 and I think a win is out of reach.
6 SECRET INGREDIENT Not a bad effort at all last time behind Time To Quit. He must prove that was no fluke, but he is quite interesting.
7 J CS JAKE Good try last time, but he was not able to parlay a pocket trip into a victory. How does he turn that around now? Fringe player.
8 FITNESS CRAZE Did enough to pick up a check last time. But he was 105-1 in there for a reason. I think a minor award is his ceiling.
9 ETIENNE His last two starts don’t encourage much condfidence. Have to think this series is just proving too tough for him. Longshot.
10 CORLEONE HALL Just missed to a nice filly last time. Still, this gelding is now 0 for 26. That makes him hard to endorse on the win end.
11 CASSA’S IMAGE She was finishing with good trot last time. Unfortunately, she is rewarded with post 10 in a 12 horse field. Very tough task.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 3-2-4-9
H Horse Comment
1 TWINSCAPE Moves up the ladder off a win. This is a much tougher group than the bottom level at Rosecroft. Must prove it here first.
2 BLACK HAT Moves down a notch off a very good effort. Connections are dangling him out there. He will be a very short-priced favorite.
3 THRU N THRU Looks like the most logical contender who can threaten the chalk. Moves down the ladder off a dull try. Month layoff though.
4 DRAGON AHS Good effort last time at Freehold as he was finishing well. Gelding is sharp right now and he fits at this level. Including.
5 JOEY JOOKISS Last race is a toss-out, but he was 39-1 in that spot. Draws well and a live outer flow and get him passing horses late.
6 PIECE OF ART WORK I like that he was finishing in sub-28 in that qualifier. Still, he was 50-1 against softer at Monticello. Watching one.
7 ILL CALL U BACK I have no idea how those race at Scarborough stack up against these. Also, 5 years removed from lifetime mark.
8 QUITE WESTERN Has only won twice in the last 2 years, the good news, one of those was last week. This is still a step up here.
9 C MAJOR HANOVER Decent rally last time and in this particular group, that effort is encouraging. Expect him to pass many in the stretch.
10 CANACO RUN Not much of a factor of post 8 at Yonkers. Kind of unfair he gets hit with the outside draw again. Been a while since he won.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 9-1-7-6
H Horse Comment
1 STRIKING WAVE Aggressive drive last time, but came up a bit empty in the stretch. Should be tighter for this. Can definitely improve.
2 THE MANIPULATOR An even try with the addition of Lasix at 97-1 last week. Expect him to sit, save ground and try to land a share again.
3 TAMASIN HALL Now coming off back to back breaks and Mullin will not try to keep him flat himself. Need to see it before I can consider.
4 CLEMENTINE DREAM He avoids Donatella Hanover tonight, but I think his last effort was a bit disappointing. He must step it up now.
5 BAY ROCK Zeron chooses off, so Harder will drive himself. He was 63-1 last week when making a break. Looms a longshot again.
6 COCOTIER While he was better last week, that effort still didn’t thrill me. Likely to be one of the favorites, but I will go elsewhere for the win.
7 HOME TURF Smart money was on him last week and it paid dividends. Tonight, he has to beat Dough Dough. A top-2 contender again.
8 SIXTEEN MILES Was in striking range last week when he made a bad break. If he trots, he can be a factor. Note, Simons goes elsewhere.
9 DOUGH DOUGH Has done little wrong so far and there is no shame in getting beat by the series favorite. Looks like a good spot. Top pick.
10 KEYSTONE SADIE Did a good job to pick up a check last week, but things will only get tougher here. Likely coming from last. Tough task.
11 REPEAT YOUR ABC’S Saved ground, but didn’t offer much punch in the stretch. Likely in line for a similar trip. Need to see more now.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 8-7-3-1
H Horse Comment
1 BRYAN’S IDEAL Steps up off a win, but into a field that doesn’t appear too strong. Will not take much improvement to contend here.
2 PARDON MY FRENCH Tailed off at Rosecroft as the races got tougher. That doesn’t bode well here. Looks to be up against it now.
3 GODDESS’S ROSA Another good effort for one of, if not the, hottest barn at the track. Cannot be ignored and is a likely win contender.
4 TERROR TO CAM Might need a start off that last effort and she tired in the stretch. Not sure Marohn will be blasting her just yet.
5 LIZ’S LIL K K She regressed into her bad habit last time which is a concern. I am skeptical of her as she always comes with some risk.
6 OK AMELIA Coming off a sick scratch and a win against the bottom level at Rosecroft. That is not the recipe I look for. Looking elsewhere.
7 CHAROLETTES MAGGIE On the class drop alone, she is strictly the one to beat. Short price is coming, but she looks very tough here.
8 DRAGON PRINCESS This just looks like one of those races where she typically jumps up and wins. I think she is the best horse in the race.
9 MC GILLACUDY-HENRY Was sent off at 64-1 at this level last time and did not fare well. That doesn’t bode well in this spot. Longshot.
10 DAY TO PONDER Has been off nearly 2 months and neither qualifier indicated she is ready for her best. Will be watching for now.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-4-7
H Horse Comment
1 DELCO WILLOBEE I like how he finished in that qualifier, but he wasn’t able to cash against the $10k level at Philly. Watching one.
2 NF DRUM ROLL Just 1 for 21 last year and has not raced in 6 weeks. I will be taking a wait and see approach with this gelding.
3 WINDSONG GORGEOUS Despite the win, I didn’t love how he looked last week. I will try to beat him, but admit I am rolling the dice.
4 FOUR STARZ ALEX That 2 for 28 mark doesn’t thrill me, but his effort on 11/24 was OK. Still, I would like to him to race more consistently.
5 ALL POWERFUL Stepping up off a loss, again. It didn’t work last time at Freehold and I don’t envision it working out in this spot either.
6 MICHAEL’S MARVEL His form just isn’t there and at the age of 12, coming off a year that he made less than $10,000, I cannot consider.
7 BOILER BOB THE QB I think it is safe to say that he has tailed off. He does own a win over the chalk, but you can do better than him here.
8 MEETBEHINDTHEBARN If you try to beat the chalk, this is the most logical winner, in my opinion. Sharp and should be even tighter now.
9 ST LADS HE MAN Gets a touch of class relief here and that could help. Still, just 1 for 23 last year and I am looking elsewhere on top.
10 PRO MATTIC Coming off a winless season, stepping up off a loss and drawing post 10. That is not the package I am looking for here.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 9-7-2-4
H Horse Comment
1 SEEK THE DRAGON He took action last week and was driven aggressively. He can be better than that and I expect him to be tighter now.
2 SALEVSTER STALLION Solid try last time as he is coming out of a fast mile. Figures to take plenty of action off that effort. Logical player.
3 BLUERIDGE WESTERN Clearly, this is not the same Blueridge Western and coming off that last effort, I cannot recommend him now.
4 PRINCE SHARKA Didn’t show that same speed last time and did not factor. Gets some needed post relief and I expect much better now.
5 DREAMZZZZ R FOR U That last effort did not look encouraging and now he loses Gingras as well. Will need a bounce-back effort here.
6 THAT’S JUSTICE He was OK at this level when last seen here and if he can duplicate that, he can earn a minor award in this spot.
7 SHEER BRILLIANCE Getting some class relief and coming out of a much better field, too. On paper, he does look like the one t beat.
8 MIGHTY YOUNG JOE He is so hard to predict as we have seen him jump up and win in spots like this before. Use the tote board to guide!
9 FREDDY DAY HANOVER He was a little bit better last time and perhaps Freddy Day is ready to pop. I might take a swing with him tonight.
10 CAN HE GO Just 1 for 24 last year and 2 for 34 lifetime. Off a month and coming off a dull try and now saddled with post 10. Not for me.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 10-4-3-6
H Horse Comment
1 DAVE PANLONE Last three starts have been OK and he draws into a field with plenty of question marks. Appears to be at the right level.
2 TUNE ME OUT How this class drop will benefit him is a huge question to me because he was never close last time. Very tricky read.
3 REDNECK OUTLAW Coming off a 5 week layoff, but those qualifiers were actually OK. I might toss on the bottom of some exotic plays.
4 SIX GUN Gets the tepid call as the chalk on the drop in class. Remember, he was 3rd against B-2 pacers opening night. Things to like here.
5 PUT IT IN GEAR His form just hasn’t been there, but this field looks light on paper. Still, just his second start in 2 months. May need one.
6 THE BAD DEPUTY Another where the layoff is a factor. His qualifier was just OK, but he fits in this spot. Using a bit on my exotic tickets.
7 HIGHLAND TERRIFIC His qualifiers tell me that he will need a start. Just followed along in both. Will be watching closely for next time.
8 YANOYANOMENOW If he paces in 1:52.3, I think he wins here. But, was he just towing along in that spot? Very tricky call right now.
9 BANGING THE DRUM He did pace in 1:53 at Pocono, so its not like he can’t go fast enough. Still, off those Scarborough lines, watching 1.
10 CANE RIDGE I am going to take a flyer here. Gets the move to Gingras and I think he will be blasting tonight and proves tough to catch.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 9-1-3-2
H Horse Comment
1 DC NORTHERN That was a rather easy win at Monticello. A 2:00.4 trotting mile there on a good track with a -2 variant cannot be ignored!
2 PT’S BOOMERANG Decent effort last time, but was really never a threat to the winner. That 1 for 27 mark in 2013 is a concern here.
3 ROSE RUN LIMO He has some upside off that last start which he may have needed. Just needs to stay close and he has a shot in here.
4 MACK’S MOLLY HALL I need to see a start here. Qualifier was OK, but he will have to go much faster here. Looks like a longshot.
5 SUPER CHUCK Echo my thoughts on the mare to his inside. Quaifier wasn’t terrible, but I will take a wait and see approach before playing.
6 FORTISSIMO When he doesn’t break, he is right there. But that is always a risk with him. I think the price will be much better tonight.
7 MOST WANTED LINDY Exits the same race as 2 of the favorites and wasn’t bad there. I can see him taking another step forward now.
8 MCATTEE Has not been off for over a month and is coming off a pair of rather poor efforts. I need to see a start here as well. Longshot.
9 QUITE POSSIBLE Just missed last time and in this field, for this connections, this horse will draw plenty of attention. My top selection.
10 CATALYST He was sent off at 110-1 from a wide post when last seen here. I don’t think this will be much different. Retains longshot status.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 7-2-3-1
H Horse Comment
1 BELL’S PANACEA How does the C-1 at Freehold stack up against the C-2 here? I say pretty comparable. Expected him to be in the mix.
2 AIRBURST HANOVER That qualifier wasn’t bad and I like the improvement he showed. Would not be at all surprised by a big effort here.
3 BIG RED Exits the same race as the inside horse and beat him by a neck. Hard not to see these 2 going together, one way or the other.
4 LEAP OF FAITH Name defines what a bet on him would be in this spot. Has ability, but his qualifier tells me he will need a race. Not yet.
5 DRIVE ‘EM COWBOY With one or two exceptions, I am not thrilled with the Chicago form so far this meet. Watching and taking notes.
6 PALM’S BEACH Tough trip from post 10 last time. He has been off for 5 weeks which is a concern and he might need a start first.
7 TRUEYS LEGACY I think he will be favored here. On back class, I think he wins this race. His last qualifier says that he is ready. The play.
8 CHECKINTHEBOX Recent form at Saratoga doesn’t show much. Has been off a month as well. I think I need to see a start before playing.
9 DOMITIAN HANOVER Coming off a winless season without much form and a 5 week layoff. Echo the sentiments on the one to his inside.
10 TAYLORLANE CRUISER Likely coming from last in this field and I just don’t think that is going to work. Taking notes for later on.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-5-7-1
H Horse Comment
1 ROCK ME PLEASE Not a bad effort last time at Yonkers and this is probably the right spot for him. Saves ground and earns a share.
2 MOST FUN YET Moves inside so that is likely to help. Needs to stay closer early and offer more punch late. Can improve this time.
3 CLUBBER LANG He needs to prove that the win was not an aberration. This is a good spot to try that. Still, this best used underneath.
4 SUBLIMINAL HANOVER That last mile was deceptively good and Sobson gets along very well with this gelding. Do not overlook now.
5 HUNCHIE Not bad last time either and he has a right to be better in his second start at the track. Good draw. Figures to be a player.
6 STAR CHASER Looms a short priced favorite off his most recent win. Has speed and figures to be extremely tough to beat this time.
7 PENN TURBO TED Solid try last time, but he will need to make up some ground on the favorite here. Can easily see him in the mix again.
8 RYAN AGAIN Looks as though he has tailed off, although I am sure the posts have not helped him. Watching closely for the future.
9 MAJOR GRACE Last effort was better, but he still has some work to do. I am expecting similar. Take back, pass a few late. Exotics use.
10 ARTIST POINT Stepping up off a loss and draws post 10. That is a tough combination, but also a sign of confidence. Tricky read now.