• Week Of 12/30 - 1/5
  • SU30
  • MO31
  • TU1
  • WE2
  • TH03
  • FR04
  • SA05
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 03, 2013

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 9-1-4-8
H Horse Comment
1 PICARD Prepping for the Super Bowl. Worth noting he is exiting some tougher races than most of these. Tows along and earns a share.
2 DUE CALZE Winless streak has reached 9 to start his career. Certainly has plenty of early speed, but this stretch will feel very long to him.
3 MAJESTIC SPLASH Recent form has not done much to inspire me here. Doesn’t show any miles finishing in under :30 either. Not for me.
4 GOOD SOUND ADVICE Connections lit the track on fire on Saturday. Been facing better than most of these, but the 1 for 29 scares me.
5 SPORT’S TOP GUN Has a tendency to make a break from time to time, but shows some decent races. Not sure he is fast enough though.
6 LA HOLLYWOOD His qualifier didn’t do much to inspire me and he is another with some bad habits. Must stay flat for Super Bowl series.
7 CAMP SPEEDY Really wanted to see more out of her in the stretch in that qualifier. Another that I need to see a start before considering.
8 WINDSUN GALLIANO Here is your wild card. If Team Miller has figured him out, he will be a force in here. See how he looks on the track.
9 NO LESS THAN MAGIC Finished within 5 lengths of Prestidigitator in the ONSS. That kind of effort wins this race, plain and simple.
10 L DEES BETSY Mare makes a lot of breaks, has no speed and is caught on the far outside. Looks like too much to overcome.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 1-4-2-3
H Horse Comment
1 WHAT’S THE STORY Added Lasix for that qualifier and put forth a fine effort. This gelding might just be the fastest in this group. My pick.
2 MISTER LOVE Only lifetime start came in Philly and it wasn’t much. Qualifier was a little bit better and he figures to improve off that.
3 CRITICAL ACCLAIM While his form is dull, he is exiting MUCH tougher races that the rest of these. A drop and pop wouldn’t surprise me.
4 PROTOCOL Gets the call as the favorite based on his first lifetime start. $40,000 Lexington yearling sports an awfully impressive pedigree.
5 JUST ENOUGH One thing is for sure, he has plenty of speed. But that 1 for 44 lifetime mark isn’t a ringing endorsement. Underneath.
6 CAPTAIN ART Like the final quarter from his qualifier, but wonder if he could have used another. Might need a start before endorsing.
7 HE ROCKS IT ALL His recent form isn’t great and he tends to make mistakes. That being said, if he races back to that win, he has a shot.
8 ARC DE TRIUMPH Compared to the rest of that field, that qualifier looks awfully good. Expect Schnittker to be aggressive from here.
9 SEEK THE DRAGON Qualifiers are certainly showing improvement, but I am just not sure he is ready for this just yet. Watching one.
10 KREEFULL NIGHT Last three starts at Rosecroft aren’t jumping off the page. He has also been off for a month. Looks like a longshot.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 6-8-2-3
H Horse Comment
1 SWIFT KID Not liking the way he continues to lose ground in the stretch at Freehold. That doesn’t bode well for the move to The Big M.
2 DOUBLE UP HANOVER If he shows up with one of his better efforts, he is simply the best horse in the race. Can you take a short price?
3 AX MAN Gelding’s last qualifier was a bit better. He has won here before and if he is ready off the layoff, he could be a contender.
4 T P LUCY The drop in class helped a ton at Freehold, but the move back up the ladder was too much. Might need an ideal setup here.
5 GRECALE AS 10YO is coming off a sick scratch, a 7 week layoff and an 0 for 17 season. That formula doesn’t entice my support now.
6 SOUTHWIND AUSTIN As a 2YO this gelding beat some serious horses when in the barn of Julie Miller. Can he find that back class?
7 LEAH’S EX That last line at Saratoga doesn’t inspire much confidence, but his win on 10/26 at Vernon, does. Off 6 weeks. Mixed feelings.
8 STRIKING FOREVER Mare has plenty of early speed and she looked ready in her qualifier. Looks like a major contender for win honors.
9 JUSTA JERSEY BOY Looks very similar on paper to ‘Lucy. Catches a tough draw and will have to find more early speed. Not for me.
10 NEW ZION Added Lasix in that qualifier and it certainly appeared to help. Still coming off an 0 for 16 season. Watch him on the track.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 5-4-2-8
H Horse Comment
1 LIZZIE’S DREAM Recent form leaves a lot to be desired. But, she has been facing better than this for the most part. Mixed feelings here.
2 SHE’S WICKED GOOD This mare has been slammed by outside posts at The Spa. She is worth a look at any kind of a price here.
3 JOYFUL YEARS Now 11 and still plugging away. Her recent form isn’t exciting, but if she works out a trip here, I can see her in the mix.
4 ARIANE HANOVER That qualifier was satisfactory. She has ability and her form from November makes her a contender in this spot.
5 SMOKE PAN MIRRORS She has gone some sharp miles here in the past. Her last start was a bit better from a tough draw. Things to like.
6 BUCK STOPS HERE Regressed into a mistake last time, but her prior form was sharp. Let’s see if she can get back on the right track.
7 SAD STORY Nothing sad about her last pair of starts. Now she tries the big track and steps up the ladder a bit. Need to see one first.
8 CHARTREUSE HANOVER Recent form has been fairly good and that gives her an edge on some of these. Inclined to use her a bit.
9 JK RU BETTOR YET She jumps up with a decent effort every so often, but it’s rather unpredictable. I’m taking a stand against here.
10 MY SPRING FLING Coming off an 0 for 20 season. She doesn’t have much early speed and catches the worst of the draw. Longshot.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 3-5-1-10
H Horse Comment
1 ARTICULATE Recent form has not been very sharp, although I am willing to draw a line through his last. Saves ground, hopes for a share.
2 FORENSIC Z TAM Gets the tepid call as the favorite in a wide open field based on his back class. That being said, I’ll take a shot against.
3 GAMBLER’S TALE Gelding has run into a few good ones in his last few starts. This spot should be softer. Worth considering for the win.
4 CYCLONE CULLY N Found a level he could win at against nw2500. Seven of these are above that condition though, so this looks tougher.
5 BUTN YOUR SHIRT ED Recent form looks good in this field, but Dube opting to ‘Cycolne is a concern. Still, he can work out a trip here.
6 BEECHWOOD TERROR Just 2 starts in the last year, but he is another with some back class. Off his last race, I need to see one here.
7 TSM GABBY WARBUCKS Got to a level that he appeared a bit overmatched last time. On paper, this spot looks similar. Hopes for a trip.
8 WICKED N RUDE Just doesn’t possess the kind of late kick or early speed required when leaving from this spot. Not sold on his chances.
9 PRO MATTIC If you like ‘Cyclone, this horse is not that far off from that foe and is likely to offer a better price. Winless last season, though.
10 TAYLORLANE CRUISER 10YO has been facing better. But he has no early speed and draws the far outside. Expecting him to pass some.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 1-4-5-9
H Horse Comment
1 ARTS CHIP N GAIL Threw in a total clunker last time. Her previous form was sharp. Toss out the last and she looks like a win candidate.
2 I LUV IT Beat nw9500 just 2 months ago. That’s a tougher condition than this. But the 2 losses at the $10k level concern me. Mixed feel.
3 COLLAGE Not a bad try last time at Yonkers and the improvement there is noted. Still, with a trip, she is more likely to earn a minor award.
4 YOU LITTLE RASCAL Got the job done at the $12,500 level last time. Draws well here and can easily see him working out a trip. Using.
5 SWEET TIME We saw a Saratoga winner on opening weekend and this mare has a nice 2012. She may go overlooked in this spot.
6 LEANBACK COCO It’s been a while, so welcome back Coco. On paper, she looks very similar to ‘Sweet. Has won here before too.
7 SAY ANYTHING Had to need that first start off the 6 week layoff. She won here last year, but I want to see a start here before I consider.
8 GOIN BROKE Added Lasix last time and it didn’t appear to improve her much. She has been facing better, but her recent form is dull.
9 SHAYNA BABY Beaten a long way in that qualifier. Her form prior was decent and she likes this track. She might need a start back though.
10 GORDYYY’S PET She has speed, so the draw doesn’t concern me much. But her final quarter last time does. Off a month too. Not sold.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 1-7-9-2
H Horse Comment
1 SHEER DESIRE Meadows invader has taken the last month off and his recent for is just fair at best. Still possesses plenty of back class.
2 WHITE RULER Recent form is OK, but this gelding is coming off an 0 for 17 season. Hard to recommend in the top spot. Underneath?
3 ZEN MAJOR Last three starts have not been good, so it appears he has tailed off. Will the 4 weeks off help him? I need to see it first.
4 FOUR STARZ TWINS We know he has speed, but he’s not finishing his miles. His last three starts, he hasn’t come home in under :30.
5 GO GET EM Another with plenty of early foot, but I question his stamina too. See how the track is playing. Stretch may look long to him.
6 TUNE ME OUT This may be the bottom level written for the classified system, but it is still a big step up from nw1051 at RcR. Not sold.
7 DIAMOND DAN N This race looks comparable on paper to the field he beat at Yonkers. If Dube can work out a trip, this 12YO has a shot.
8 THE MIDNIGHT OWL N Qualified behind a world-beater, so don’t be too hard to him for that. Miller did choose off, though. Mixed feelings.
9 DRAGON KING Coming off just a 1 for 31 season, but he is getting substantial class relief. Expecting him to show speed. Win candidate.
10 TWICKENHAM He is in a tough spot. He has speed, but when he uses it, he doesn’t finish well. So what does he do from this post?
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 6-2-7-8
H Horse Comment
1 EL BRAVO Has moved to the Silva barn, but he lost ground in the stretch of both qualifiers. I want to see a start first before I consider.
2 MICHAEL’S MARVEL Throw out the try from post 8 at Philly, that was a tough trip. Prior form is pretty good at this level. Worth including.
3 TOUCAM SAM Technically he has been facing a higher level, but his lone win last year came at Monti. This isn’t a softer spot for him.
4 INTEGRITY He certainly is consistent. Week in and week out he puts forth a similar effort. The downside, he usually earns a minor award.
5 MATTADOR D Beaten a long way by ‘CC in that qualifier. His form at Saratoga was good, but he needs to make up 22 lengths on that foe.
6 CCS LOVER N That qualifier was impressive both on paper and visually. Previous form was solid too, He looks like the one to beat here.
7 FOUR STARZZZ KING Showed a re-found dimension of speed last time and it worked. It worked last time, so why not try it again?
8 ROSES DREAM BOY Beaten nearly 10 lengths by ‘CC in that qualifier. Just 1 fot 27 last year. Still, this is the right level for him. Maybe.
9 BLADE RUNNER He paced in 1:51 here last year. His recent form has gone the wrong way though, and I need to see a turnaround first.
10 GO GO RAIDER Had he drawn well, I would have said he is probably best at the level below this. With post 10 and no speed, I can’t play.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 6-7-8-4
H Horse Comment
1 HEIDI FALLS Beaten a long way in that qualifier. Entering this off a four month layoff. I would think he has to need a start here.
2 TAKE HEART He has been facing some pretty tough company lately and he was a little bit better last time. I could see him improving here.
3 SAM’S HONEYBEE Recent form has been decent, but I am not sure that form will translate to this spot. Mixed feelings until I see a start.
4 BLOMKVIST Connections will draw attention and he has won here in 2012. Qualifier was decent and he should fit well in this spot.
5 SPECTATOR K Qualifier was just decent, but he does possess plenty of back class for this contest. Looks like a drop and pop candidate.
6 MYSTICAL CON Really had no shot last time from a tough spot. Previous form against similar wasn’t bad. I can see him improving here.
7 JEDRIK HANOVER Looks like the sharpest horse in the race on paper and this spot looks within his scope. He looks like a major player.
8 SWAGGER BEGONIA Last pair of starts were from very tough spots and his last race was in tough company. A rebound is possible here.
9 CHOCOHOLIC Mare has seen her form go in and out recently, but she fits at this level. I expect her to show speed from here. Possibility.
10 GET CHIPPED Nice win last time at Monti, and she has won here before. Hobbles have helped, she’ll need to go much faster here.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 2-1-4-6
H Horse Comment
1 MYSTICOLE MAGGIE Mare has rounded into form in her last 2 starts and she drew well in this large field. She’ll be a factor in here.
2 TANNED FOR LIFE Last pair of starts have not been as sharp, but now she goes back to the Brainard barn. She may be overlooked here.
3 CARRIE ANN She is dropping in class, but it’s hard for me to recommend playing her following that :33.3 final quarter. Watching for now.
4 RUNAWAY ROSE Dropped to this level last time, took a ton of tote action and won. Her form is sharp and she is likely to be a contender.
5 LATIN LYRIC Raced well against ‘Rose last time and she remains in good form. Expect her to work out a good trip from here. Player.
6 TERROR RISING This mare has been racing well at this level in Saratoga. Bongiorno scored with a similar looking horse last week too.
7 LADYBONES Exiting a fast qualifier. I do like that she past a few in the stretch. This field came up tough though. Not sold on her chances.
8 CHAROLLETTES MAGGIE Exits the same qualifier as Ladybones and finished just off that mare’s flank. I need to see one from her first.
9 ELODIE Last two starts have not been as good and she draws toward the outside in a very large field. She needs more early speed here.
10 SKYWAY SHANIA She has been facing softer than this lately, without much success. Factor in the wide post and she is up against it.
11 JACK’S MAGIC JEWEL The second tier is not going allow this mare to utilize her speed. She is stepping up and will need to find a trip.
12 PETEANTART Has not had much success off the claim yet for Burke. Connections likely to attract some play. I’m going to play against.