• 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 Saturday, January 18, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 2-10-8-1
H Horse Comment
1 JUST GOT PAID Was favored over Capital Account on 12/21. Had too much ground to make up last time. Prime contender this time.
2 IDEAL SHADOW Winner of that qualifier was 2nd in the Preferred at Yonkers last week. That speaks volumes of this colt’s effort. The pick.
3 GHOST HOUSE Coming out of a very soft race. Einner was an Erv Miller first timer that doesn’t look as good as Ideal Shadow. Not sold.
4 INNOCENT VICTIM Winner of that 12/27 mile at Maywood was 5th and 4th against similar at The Meadows. I will watch this first start here.
5 JUNIOR’S DELIGHT Exits the same qualifier as Innocent Victim, but was 14 lengths behind that foe. That makes this gelding a longshot.
6 LAMA BLUE CHIP This barn has started the meet on fire. Finished that qualifier behind 2 Alagna trainees. Has talent, but will watch one.
7 TELL STIENAM Finished only one length behind Just Got Paid on 12/28 while sent off at 91-1. Still think he looks a bit overmatched here.
8 SHADOW MARGEAUX Beat Pierce last time who is a talented horse that continues to find ways to lose. Still, is coming off a sharp win.
9 ASTON BLUE CHIP None of his qualifiers come particularly close to the top contenders in this field. He looks like the longshot of the field.
10 CAPITAL ACCOUNT Winner of that last mile came out of that race to win a nw3 by 8 lengths. Despite post 10, this is the horse to beat.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 2-5-4-6
H Horse Comment
1 FLEM N EM N Did not carry his solid form over to The Meadowlands last time. Has missed 4 weeks too. Longshot of this tough field.
2 DOVUTO HANOVER He is one of the sharpest horse of the meet and that was not an average B-1 he just won. Steps up, but major player!
3 ROAD UNTRAVELED Found the move to this level too much last time, although he was far from disgraced. Minor award still his ceiling.
4 BETTOR’S EDGE Defeated Hypnotic Blue Chip in his last start here, but he got beat at Yonkers at 2/5 last time. Still, cannot be ignored.
5 HYPNOTIC BLUE CHIP Showed a different dimension last week going right down the road. Faces a field similar in quality here. Logical.
6 AROCKIN HANOVER He was flat out flying at the end of that mile last week. Remains sharp, but he will have to pass the entire field.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 4-5-3-7
H Horse Comment
1 T M TOP GUN Is exiting a race won by a horse off a 7-month layoff and wasn’t very strong in depth. Still, he is likely to improve here.
2 FOUR STARZ TRACE Winner of last is in to go in Race 1 at Yonkers tonight (Sat.). See how he fared. Call him a fringe player for now.
3 HURRIKANE JON PAUL Runner-up from last raced in the 4th at Freehold today (Sat.). This is a tougher spot. Still, too sharp to ignore.
4 WESTERN TRADEMARK Was only 7-1 against a better field in that last race. Winner of that mile is sharp right now. Appears one to beat.
5 PEMBROKE NICK Runner-up from that last mile was a good 3rd in a C-1 last week. He fits on the drop in class and will hit the ticket.
6 LETTHEROCKBEGIN Exits the same race as T M Top Gun, but was not close. Hard to recommend given current form. Longshot.
7 DUE WEST HANOVER Now making his second start back off the 2 month freshening, but he is exiting a soft race. This is tougher. Tricky.
8 BOBJACKS ANGLE A Coming out of the same race as Due West Hanover, but only passed a few in the stretch. Not sold on chances.
9 ELUSIVE REWARD Another who is not in very good form lately. Would need to see some kind of improvement before considering.
10 MR THOMPSON Runner-up from last raced at Freehold today (Sat.). On paper is several seconds slower than Hurrikane Jon Paul.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 7-8-1-5
H Horse Comment
1 VICTORYDAZE WILWIN Beat half this field in his last start and did it impressively. Nothing to knock and a logical contender right back.
2 DAMON BLUE CHIP This is a tough call. Is his win against $20k claimers a sign of his ability at this level, or an aberration? Fringe player.
3 ASTREOS FLASH He clearly has tailed off in his last couple of starts. Looms a longshot and will need a form reversal to contend here.
4 EXPLODENT Responded well to the claim last time. Still has some ground to make up on ‘Victorydaze. Minor award appears his ceiling.
5 DIABLO SEELSTER Tough trip last time and that might cause him to go overlooked here. He might be the value play of this field. I like him.
6 ACTION BRAD Is coming out of a rather soft C-2 event. The winner of that race is a $15k claimer, so I think this is a much tougher task.
7 STORMIN RUSTLER If anyone watches his last race, they are going to love him tonight. He was full of pace and remains razor sharp!
8 MATTADOR D That B-2 is a better group and he was much better than Damon Blue Chip in there. Previous effort was excellent. Tough.
9 AMILLIONPENNIES Making his second start back off the freshening but I don’t see him passing this field from last. Not backing him.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 7-9-10-2
H Horse Comment
1 SAMANDAR Sent off at 35-1 last time and while that wasn’t a terrible effort, he still appears to be a longshot in this group. Tough task.
2 AVOGADRO HANOVER Exiting the same race as Thunder Seelster. Not sold that race was particularly strong. Still, one of many players.
3 MAJOR TIPPER Hasn’t raced in 4 weeks and is coming off a sick scratch. So there are some question marks here. Hasn’t won in a while.
4 RELENTLESS DREAMER He was 46-1 when last seen at this level. Stepping in off a confidence building win last time. Not without a shot.
5 LAST SHOT LEETON He won when last seen here and the winner of his last race at Dover was 3rd in a B-2 last week. Can make a case.
6 SIR ZIGGY’S Z TAM He has been doing a good job of picking up decent checks lately. With the right setup, he can certainly hit the ticket.
7 PEMBROKE DEWEY Shuffled back with even pace last time. Still, that field was better than this and he can rebound. Top selection now.
8 BOLERO ANDREW His form make him a hard play in a field this wide open. Couldn’t threaten Stallone Blue Chip last time. Longshot.
9 THUNDER SEELSTER Overbet on the barn change last time. That said, he figures to be better in his second start. Do not dismiss here.
10 STALLONE BLUE CHIP Continues to race very well and despite post 10 he is the final piece to a very tricky puzzle. Contention runs deep.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 7-1-4-6
H Horse Comment
1 HURRIKANE KINGCOLE Gingras appeared to be having a tough time settling him down from the start. Expecting better this time out.
2 ERLE DALE N The horse he beat last time was 8th in back to back starts at this level at The Meadowlands. That doesn’t bode well now.
3 BLATANTLY GOOD Overmatched in a very tough FFA Handicap. Moves back down to a level he can land a share. Should improve.
4 DIAL OR NODIAL Moving down the ladder after a series of decent tries against better. Should attract plenty of play now. Logical contender.
5 COBALT MAN He was really sharp beating a softer group last time. Colossal came out of that race to win last week. That’s a positive.
6 ALEXIE MATTOSIE Caught the same buzz-saw that Kingcole caught last time. This field isn’t exactly light, but he is one of the key players.
7 ABELARD HANOVER You can see he is getting better and better each week. Now the move down in class. Don’t let him beat you here!
8 SECOND WIND N Loses Pierce and I just think he is presently a notch below the best of these. Another tougher than usual B-1 event.
9 DREAMLANDS ART Stepping up off a win, but loses Gingras. May Day was 2nd out of that race last week in another B-2. Tough call.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-4-7
H Horse Comment
1 WILLY MUCHA Took play last week and raced well. I think that effort on the 4th was an anomaly. Bongiorno will put the pedal down here.
2 AVENUE HANOVER Loses Callahan which was the major attraction to him last week. This is a tougher assignment as well. Not this time.
3 MCCEDES The horse he beat on 12/17 was 7th in a B-1 here, so this B-2 is probably the right level. Faced better last time. Contender.
4 ALLSTAR LEGEND Remember when he blasted at 99-1 to the lead in the 2012 Meadowlands Pace? He is better than last 2 indicate.
5 REAL NICE I am a little skeptical of that field he just beat. Remember, he backed up through the field at the bottom level at Yonkers.
6 FRESH N FAST Has been off for 5 weeks. Winner from last was 2nd in Winners Over at Dover last week. Watching very closely for future.
7 BAKIN ON THE BEACH I just feel like he never wins here. That said, this is some major class relief. Still, not taking a short price here.
8 UP UP AND OUT Loses Gingras, but that was a convincing win last week. Prior efforts were against some big efforts. He has a chance.
9 DIGITAL Z TAM Took a lot of play last time but did not fire. Spender Hanover (post 10 here), did not fire in his following start from that race.
10 SPENDER HANOVER I think that race on January 4th was a bit of an overachievement for him at this level. This field is tough. Post hurts.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-2-9
H Horse Comment
1 MEGA LIGHTNING Tough call on the drop in class. Recent form has been suspect, but the class drop could wake him up. Tricky call.
2 SONIC DANCER The horse that beat him last week is really sharp and came out of that race to be a fast charging 2nd vs. $20k claimers.
3 MISSISSIPPI HIPPY He is finishing with interest, but he needs to find a way to stay closer. If Zeron can get him in the game earlier, lookout!
4 I DO HANOVER Seems to have found a home at this C-1 level, picking up solid checks, but not winning. I anticipate more of the same now.
5 MC RUSTY Dominated a rather weak group last time. This field is going to be much tougher. However, I caution, do not ignore this barn.
6 I WANNA GO FAST He has gone some big miles here in the past and perhaps his last win at Rosecroft signals he is getting back in shape.
7 MAJOR WAY Last 2 efforts are a little bit of Jekyll and Hyde. This field is somewhere between those 2 races. Tricky call this time.
8 FITZ’S Z TAM Cam B Zipper came out of that last race to be a very strong 2nd, beaten a nose in a B-2. That bodes well for Fitz. The play.
9 PANESTHETIC Gets another class drop. The first drop to the B-2 yielded slight improvement. This should move him forward. The chalk.
10 ROCKNROLL JEWEL He has been disappointing since that win and now he draws post 10 in a tough group. I will look elsewhere now.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-7-4
H Horse Comment
1 POWER OF TARA N This gelding may go overlooked here. There are some big names in this field that will drive his price up. I am playing.
2 VOICE OF TRUTH Just has not shown enough to merit consideration at this time. Need to see him go forward in the stretch.
3 SILENT SWING Slightly better last time. The problem is, this field is even tougher. I think he needs a C-1 to contend for win honors.
4 ROCKIN WIZARD Exiting a very fast mile, so that will attract play. But has also missed 4 weeks, which is a concern. Still, cannot dismiss.
5 SOUTHWESTERN DREAM Will he stay pacing? That is a question I cannot answer. My advice, watch him score down and make a call.
6 BETTORS GLASS Exiting 3 very good races. Either of his efforts behind Hypnotic Blue Chip can win this. Prime contender for win honors.
7 CAM B ZIPPER Another Lewis trainee that is just really sharp right now. I put this horse right with Power of Tara. Must use in the pick 4.
8 BLATANTLY BEST Beaten over 40 lengths in his last 3 starts. That makes him very tough to land on in this very tough field. Longshot.
9 EMERITUS MAXIMUS On name/class, he will get bet plenty. Qualifier was good. But he doesn’t have to win this race. Take a shot against.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-2-8-9
H Horse Comment
1 COURAGEOUS CAT He was really rolling last week in the stretch. If he gets a better trip and has the same pace, he can win this event.
2 ONE BAD SHOT He should not have been 42-1 last week, especially if you saw his 12/28 effort. He can be competitive once again.
3 GALLANT SEELSTER I loved him last week and he disappointed. I don’t think he does his best work on the lead. Change in tactics now.
4 TARPON HANOVER Lasix has not helped and he has been a real disappointment at the meet. I need to see him finish a mile better.
5 ANDREW LUCK Out of the NFL Playoffs, but certainly has a shot here. That last field was just too tough. He can compete with this group.
6 RIVER RUN FOR RYAN Horses with this form, from these types of races at Yonkers just are not faring well here. I will play against.
7 FOX VALLEY ACTION I think his rally last week looked better than it was. I guess I can understand tossing him on bottom of tri/super.
8 IMA GIGGITY FOOL That makes him 22 of 34 in the money in his career, so he is awfully consistent. He can win and cannot be dismissed.
9 HUMILITY He really should have won last time. That said, his arrow is still pointing upward. This is a spread race in the pick 4. Include him.
10 QUIK MAGIC He certainly isn’t coming here in bad form, but this is a Rosecroft shipper off for 4 weeks. In this field, I cannot include now.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 1-8-10-2
H Horse Comment
1 BERKSHIRE BEAR His price will be higher than it should be thanks to the presence of sale-bound Wake Up Peter. Take advantage!
2 BARBARIAN Went from awesome to empty. It’s hard to think he will turn the tables on The Bear, but he can be better than last week.
3 TRYS LITTLE PRINCE I am not sold that series at Woodbine was anything too great. Barn change will attract attention. One win last year.
4 SENOR GRANDE Can he race back to that mile on 12/28? That is what will be needed in this group. I think he is on the outside, looking in.
5 AHEAD OF THE CROWD Finishing 3rd at 30-1 behind Axiom Hanover just isn’t going to get it done here. This field looks too tough.
6 CRUIJFF Someone had to be 2nd last week. This horse is sales bound as well, but he has to make up a lot of ground on his key rivals.
7 BOOGIEWOOGIEBRIAN That last race was too bad to be true, I think. If you believe you will be rewarded as his price will be much better.
8 WAKE UP PETER Is he the best horse in the race? Yes. But he went 0 for 2013. Sometimes horses like this just don’t win in these spots.
9 EX DREAM Yes, he was much better last week, but go back and look at the field he was against. This race is miles tougher. Longshot.
10 SIR MICHIGAN Z TAM Lightly raced 4 year old has always hinted at real ability. But, he has no speed so he will have to pass them all.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 3-2-10-7
H Horse Comment
1 MANCHESTER This level is that much tougher than a C-1 for 4 year olds. He will need to step up his game in this spot. Tough assignment.
2 BURKENTINE HANOVER He has been good since arriving here, but not quite good enough to win. I think he is 2nd or 3rd best once again.
3 MUSCLE BEACHBOY He’s the best horse in the race and the price will reflect that. Will be prominent from start to finish once again.
4 AXIOM HANOVER That was an odd win. Anyone watching had to think he was done at the top of the stretch. Will need even more here.
5 MINDSET He just isn’t as good as we thought. As the races get tougher, his form has gone in the wrong direction. Not sold on chances.
6 TELL US MORE Not a bad effort last time, sitting in and towing along. That said, he is going to need even more to jump up and win this.
7 SAWBUCK HANOVER Raced very well in his most recent start. Not sure he will offer that 12-1 again, but he is an exotics factor again.
8 LATE NIGHT JOKE That’s 2 races in a row he displayed some “sneaky pace” late in the mile. I can see him landing on bottom of tickets.
9 SKY IS THE LIMIT Just didn’t see enough from him in his last start to consider in this very tough field. Still taking a wait and see approach.
10 MAGIC TRICKS He beat Muscle Beach Boy 2 starts back but was no match last time. Battles it out for 2nd/3rd with a couple others here.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 8-7-6-9
H Horse Comment
1 HACIENDA He has been rather unpredictable this meet. This is the right level, just not sure he is on top of his game right now. Tricky call.
2 ROCK THE WIND There are a couple of Canadian invaders moving to Burke tonight. See how they are faring and make a call here.
3 DRAGON RIDGE He might need the drop to the C-2 level. Good tightener last time, but I still think he is in a touch too tough right now.
4 LIBERTY CALL Toss out the last race and he fits. The problem is he has been off for a month. So I need to see a start before considering.
5 HRUBYS N LUCK I really didn’t take a whole lot of that last race. Top 2 are from there are in to go tonight. Maybe that will help us gauge.
6 THANKS FOR STOPPIN I am not thrilled about him on the win end, but if you are looking for a horse to key underneath, this is the horse.
7 YOU BET YOUR GLASS He didn’t beat much last time, but I can criticize a horse for winning like he should have. Sharp and capable.
8 DR C’S Z TAM This is the horse to look at. Making positive strides since his return. This is the kind of field he can pop in. Will take a shot.
9 ALEX BULLVILLE Better last time. See how the top 2 from that last mile did earlier tonight. He is a logical contender in a tough race.
10 GIDDY UP BLACKFLY I don’t think he has the speed needed to leave from here. Takes back, makes one move. Minor award the ceiling.