• Week Of 1/2 - 1/8
  • SU2
  • MO3
  • TU4
  • WE5
  • TH6
  • FR07
  • SA08
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 Friday, January 07, 2011

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 8-4-6-5
H Horse Comment
1 IMA SPUR Might just be awaiting a trip back to Yonkers next week where he does best. Didn't like leaving the gate here closing weekend. I'll pass.
2 R-VALERIE Has plenty of prior history here, but much of it at a lower level. Showed fine speed in that qualifier and would appreciate a trip here.
3 SPICY CAVIAR Not sure this is the right spot for this fella. In too tough?
4 HEIDI FALLS Delivering nothing but quality efforts over the past month or so. Even flashed better speed last time. Steps up, but while sharp. Danger.
5 JJ'S FANTASY COLT Shows just a touch of back talent, and with the switch to trotting hopples on tonight. That could help. Offers a price play.
6 NO DOZE Like most from this barn, the gelding offers speed and returns from Chester after solid tries. Can't really ignore, but no lock either. Tuf call.
7 MADIMPULSE HANOVER Mare seems to be improving, but she is coming out of some slowish races. She's got something to prove here M1.
8 AMERICAN ROYAL Gets a tepid call, in an absolutely wide open race. Comes out of key races behind Syenite, Hezahumer. AM did opt for #5.
9 SPIRIT RAYCER I really don't know where that last qualifier came from! It was a drastic improvement, but I'm still willing to watch one from post nine.
10 STORMONT STIRFRY Ships down, but steps WAY up here. Another with a lot to prove over this strip and a dreaded post for his debut. Your call.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 7-4-5-6
H Horse Comment
1 ODDS ON RIESLING Was pretty hot on the bit and a little steppy in that Balmoral win. Not sure she can get away with that here. We'll find out.
2 WHISTLE A TUNE Turned in a Berry Bomber upset closing night, given a perfect drive. If you didn't have at 23-1 that night, don't try now at 10-1.
3 LORRIE PLEASE Up from Chester with some fair recent form. On paper, she doesn't look like a match for the fave, unless she gets a perfect trip.
4 ADRIANA G Hinting at a bit more lately and that last try against Island Terror is better than it looks. She might offer the right value to use under.
5 SURE FUN TRYIN' 3-5 so far, so we can't argue with that! Had the nice prep down at Chester and gained even more confidence. Gives #7 a tussle.
6 SUMMER SHOW Here's another live longshot, if you wish! Barn has done very well here in winter's past. Appears to pack a nice late punch. Usable.
7 ONLY THE WORLD Couldn't possibly have been more impressive, both here or in Canada. IF she's in the White Ruffles next week, watch out again.
8 FORTUNES SMILE Adds Lasix, coming off a post 8 clunker. I will pass.
9 MOJARRA HANOVER Not the easiest mare to gauge, but she is capable of big miles on occasion. I can't eliminate, even from the bad post.
10 LAUGH AWAY Burned her share of cash over past month or so. Now, she will be subject to the post 10 blues! Would need a lot of luck out here.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 9-1-5-6
H Horse Comment
1 ROCKINROLLIN NOW Aggressively handled last time and boy did he stop! That's not good and barn drops him to lowest level in long time.
2 STORMIN RUSTLER Not sure this is the right spot just yet, but barn probably just wants to get him raced. I will watch very closely, for later.
3 HIGH POINT Looks like no real excuses over at Yonkers last time. Losses like that don't usually bode well for the switch to mile track. Not for me.
4 MORGUN'S ROMEO Doesn't look good on paper right now. Gotta pass.
5 LAKE SHARK Be careful here, because he's liable to be way overbet on the "suspect" price drop. Hit a wall last 50 yards at Chester. Not sure here...
6 TWENTY TILL I guess he found the class hike just too much last time? That, or he just bounced! Let's not forget it took LONG time to win a race.
7 CASINO KING Down from Maine to take a shot here and I will wish connections luck. This is no easy spot and he will need very best effort.
8 SEA DRAGON A bit of improvement last time, but that may have been due to the drop in class. He steps back up here and drew a bad post.
9 MILITARY STRATCOM I thought he was dead game in the Chester try and I like that new barn "protects" him with bump up in price. Dangerous.
10 BROADWAY JAKE You just never know what you're going to get from this headcase! Since it's post 10, I will let him beat me, if he can.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 2-5-9-10
H Horse Comment
1 NANETTE HALL Looks pretty tough to gauge right now, especially coming off that break. This looks like a spot where I will watch one here.
2 B J'S SKYE This mare is definitely on the improve now and she comes off a pretty gutsy try against a big fave. With that said, I like her this spot.
3 SCORPIONETTE Still not much on view here, so we must pass again.
4 KEEP ON FLIRTIN Had a couple of starts to get used to Club Med. Technically, this is a drop, but I'm not sure I'm ready to bet just yet.
5 JIMMY THE TERROR Not very consistent, so that is always a problem for me. Some efforts good, and some, not so much. You take chances here.
6 EASY DE VIE Off the double sick scratch, I don't think she's ready.
7 RED SLIPPERS Hasn't won a race yet and seems overmatched against a field like this. Not sure I can endorse her at any price.
8 BACK STABBERS Showed a fair amount of speed up at Saratoga. They are now closed, so connections are taking a shot here. It's not easy.
9 HOLLY'S HALO Finished well behind #2 in their last matchup. Pulled the big upset, given a perfect drive before that. Mare might need another.
10 UPLAND HANOVER Had she drawn inside, she would have been the favorite, but this post will test her. She's not the quickest of starters.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 8-2-3-5
H Horse Comment
1 NATIVE DOLL Finds herself in a very difficult spot here, even from the rail. She will tow along, but I would be surprised if she jumped up and won.
2 SOUTHWIND SWALLOW Couldn't get to a very sharp Laugh last time, and tried to grind. This is the track she prefers, in my opinion. Stalks here.
3 TELEMECANIQUE N Coming around nicely for Nifty and Dave Miller. She's a one-move pony, meaning she likes to rally. Gets trip behind #2?
4 CHEYENNE TRISH Finds her way back from Yonkers and she has won here before, but mostly in easier spots than this. Wasn't GB's choice.
5 LR DANCING DREAM Was used very hard last time at YR, so don't be too hard on her. Nobody would be shocked if she woke back up here.
6 MANO CORNUTO Happens to love the Med, and hasn't quite caught fire for her new connections. Eventually, it will come. Offers value if you like.
7 RAMONA DISOMMA Just give her a hot pace to run at, and she can sweep. Finished up that qualifier with her usual kick. Needs the hot pace.
8 HIGH SPEED LIFE Had two straight "tough" trips, meaning she got out too late. Packs a wicked turn of early zip, so expect her to blast at price.
9 UBETTERTHINK THINK Benefited from a great drive by Bartlett to win at YR. Everything set up nicely, and it might not here. Moves to tough post.
10 ARTIMITTATESLIFE Weakened in qualifier and gets slammed with pp10.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 9-5-4-1
H Horse Comment
1 BULLY MCCOOL N 11YO gets a big break at the draw here, away from the 8 at YR! Maybe he'll flash some of that old speed at a big price. Maybe.
2 SEQUOIAHS SPIRIT N Actually raced very well in Big M debut, with a touch of speed at both ends. That experience will serve him well. Guns?
3 MAKE IT BRIEF Yes, that's 2007 that last time he raced! He can't possibly be ready for this, right? I will go with that and watch.
4 BOO'S BOY Gets Tetrick and is sharp! That's a double set of qualifiers for a race like this. His speed will be heard from and I can't ignore it.
5 MYPANMAR Basically "toured" the track last time we saw him here, in useless effort. I expect a more "aggressive" attempt in this event tonight.
6 IRAK ATTACK N Was a monster here last year, but mostly against lesser foes. Wasn't Tetrick's choice here and I don't think I can endorse.
7 IMAGE OF DAWN Yes, he WON this race last year, but it seems like a long time ago. Dube replaces Pat and the 12YO might need a lucky trip.
8 PICK A TRAIL Not sure he's sharp now, so I'll take chance, leave out.
9 LIL DUDE STARRBUCK Fits the profile of a typical Pena/Brennan winner. Been conservatively handled of late and drops to the right spot.
10 TARVER HANOVER Had he drawn a better post, I might like more. He just stopped for no reason on closing night. Would need big improvement.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 8-7-6-10
H Horse Comment
1 MACHO LINDY Last Freehold try looks a little disappointing on paper, but he is back on big track now. Has the rail, but these just look too tough.
2 JOLIE'S PRAYER One of three Saratoga invaders for this and in reality, they may ALL be overmatched. A lot to prove over this surface. Let's see.
3 GUIDING LIGHT Didn't even come close to making the gate at YR. Was looking good prior to that, but I suggest caution, and value, before you bet.
4 BRAGGART Bounced between the top level Open and the lesser Open at Spa. I liked his qualifier, but he lands into very difficult spot tonight.
5 ROCK DJ Closed the Spa on a winning note. Nice! But, that was just about a month ago and he'd have to trot about four seconds faster here.
6 T JS MR LAVEC Those Yonkers Opens have been tough races lately. This fella packed great speed from bad posts there. He's gunning here!
7 DONTTELLMYWIFE Had a lot of things go his way last time, but I must note his prior winning success here. That separates him from #6. Use.
8 AISLING Gets a big chance at revenge on #10 tonight. Had NO chance in the Chester final and Dave Miller will have to get the jump on 10 somehow.
9 SALUTATION HANOVER Not in a good spot here, so I will just pass.
10 WINNING MISTER Well, he's been a monster at Chester, but that was there, and this is here! Still has something to prove and it IS POST 10.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 5-1-2-9
H Horse Comment
1 GERRIES MADISON The tough trip did her in last time, but her prior two wins were with absolute ease! Tonight's problem: Tim T opted off. Big call.
2 CHINA GAL Paid an underlay price when she dropped and popped closing weekend. Now, it's back up in class and in a lot tougher. Your call.
3 RIDGE JUMPER Dave Miller simply stole that last one, with careful rating and an aggressive steer. Now, he opts for #9. Tells us all we need to know.
4 SLOMOTION It's hard to get a real handle on her form right now, but I do see that win at Yonkers. I will watch closely for later when in easier spot.
5 SEMJAC LEGACY Couldn't possibly have raced any better at Woodbine. She was flat out unlucky to lose. Tim T gets the call. She is the one to fear.
6 NIGHTS KREEATION Still not ready, in my opinion. I will wait for it.
7 TOMORROWPAN Comes out of high profile race at Chester, but she visibly weakened in late stages. I know it's a drop, but I can't like a lot.
8 BRAGGIN HANOVER This is WAY too tough for her. Gotta pass tonight.
9 IDEAL NECTARINE Dave Miller had some tough choices in here, yet stuck with this veteran. She was SUPER to win last month, but vs. weaker.
10 LEANBACK COCO Hasn't been overly sharp in a while and I think she's in the wrong spot here. Pass, and wait for the right situation.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 7-5-2-3
H Horse Comment
1 MARGARITA MARY She was pretty good in that qualifier, but in recent years, most starters from this barn have needed a race off qua. I'll wait.
2 PAISLEY Gets big post relief here with a return to Club Med and it should benefit him. He liked this track last year and gets a drop too! Dangerous.
3 A FORTUNE'S LEGACY I guess she finally found the right field at Chester? That looks like a big assault and crush. Will need more here.
4 I LOOK SPECIAL Was competing against lesser than this in recent starts. Simply because it's Pena and Brennan, she may get overbet. Not for me.
5 SOAPY SAP Usually wins when you least expect it, and this would be the spot for that. Lots of excuses lately at Chester. This is her preferred track.
6 SIERRA'S DREAM I don't think he's ready for this year. Pass and wait.
7 DEFINITELY MAMIE Won the qualifier against #1 and also looked pretty good doing it. Can't ignore this team and she WILL be ready for this.
8 TILLY BOMB Trying to take a BIG hike here and we'll see if Tetrick can pull it off. I will caution that she had perfect trips in those two wins.
9 P L CONJURE This is a wild horse, folks, so make sure you handicap that! Raymer will be hard-pressed to try and control him early. Guns out.
10 MARIAN'S MAN Not in a good spot, moving from pole to post 10. Would need the race to fall apart late to have the upset chance.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 1-2-5-6
H Horse Comment
1 BET THE RANCH A nice partner to have here, but the "star" of this entry is Hottie. From the rail, they can work as team to give and go! It will work.
1A RED STAR HOTTIE We could be looking at Burke Brigade's next monster here. She won with plenty left last at Chester. She will like it here too!
2 LAUGHANDBEHAPPY Was empty on 12/15 and then a monster on 12/22. Sometimes, harness racing is like that! She likes the Big M too!
3 JASPERTHAT A Scratched out 10 wins last year, which is good, but I'm not sure how many came against fields like this! This looks very, very tough.
4 WESTERN GRADUATE Got slammed with FOUR straight 8-holes at YR. Is that fair? No. She can negotiate this oval too. Back to YR next week.
5 CUZ SHE CAN Capable at any time, but she usually needs the right kind of journey to do damage. This could work out, especially as Tetrick's pick.
6 FLIRTISCAPE 2010 wasn't as productive as 2009 for this mare, but she's still top-quality! Coming off nice, confidence builder. Versatility helps.
7 ULTIMATE BEST Worked her way right up the ladder down at Chester, but I do feel this is going to be too tough. She must prove me wrong.
8 ISLAND TERROR Zipped right through that easy series at Chester and now she lands in against the killer Invite. She wasn't Tetrick's pick, though.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-2-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 BEACH NUT BRAND For the past several years, he's made his bread and butter over the smaller tracks. I suspect he's back to Yonkers next wk.
2 ALL ABOUT JUSTICE Got stuck in a shuffle last start at Chester and finished with good late energy. I must note the switch to Tetrick. Must use.
3 S F ACEINTHEHOLE Can he beat these? Yes! He has won here before, but I do believe he's also at his best on the small track. No short price.
4 DARLABAR MAN Getting a little bit better of late at Freehold and he does have good experience here, but mostly at lower level. Tough spot.
5 ARMBRO ARISTOCRAT 11YO veteran was very ready for second start off layoff. I might even add a few points if No Doze won the first. Sharp?
6 WHYBABYWHY Loved her here on the 10th. She got caught late by #10. This race could set up a lot differently. It's between her and #2 tonight.
7 POINTE OF HONOUR If he makes it to the gate, he's always a solid closing threat. IF the pace were to be hot, that's to his benefit.
8 RUSS N US Seems overmatched with these, and stuck in bad post.
9 PROUD MOMENT Back to the bad post blues here as well. I will pass in this much tougher spot and wait for softer situation in coming weeks.
10 CAMERON CHIP She just doesn't have any early speed and it cost her the win back on 12/3. Got lucky after that and will need even more luck.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 4-3-6-9
H Horse Comment
1 STACKED DECK Looked sharp in that qualifier, but don't forget she is racing on only three days of rest! For that reason, she will sit for a trip here.
2 BELL ON WHEELS Seems to be improving over past few starts and that always makes a horse dangerous. I like the post, but would like to see one.
3 INDULGE ME Trying to drop and pop and it's been done before for by these connections. I suspect we might see a little more speed in here.
4 PRINCESS MCARDLE N Exploded by the field in her qualifier and that had me believing she is ready for this! Don't expect much of a price though.
5 PRAIRIE GANACHE She's had trouble adapting to mile track style so far. A lot of tough trips and bad posts haven't helped. Definitely a longshot.
6 PRETTY WICKED It appear she's come to hand recently down at Chester and for that reason, she might be worth using in here. Picks up YG tonight.
7 AUTUMN MAGIC Coming out of mostly tougher races and had Tetrick taken her, I probably would have liked more. Since he did not, I will pass.
8 GOLDEN FIZZ Debuts here for dangerous barn, but I'll wait a week.
9 A AND GS PRINCESS Mare with some back class exits strong qualifier. If she's over that sickness from November, she will be tough to catch.
10 READY TO RUMBA Can't say this is the right spot for this lass. She might need one more race before we see best. I will wait.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 6-7-3-4
H Horse Comment
1 IN KENNY'S HONOR I think the knee spreaders went back on for last try and you see he was overmatched. Let's watch for any improvement here.
2 PCSPECIAL Debuts here and it looks like he's in a little bit steep. I will watch one, to gauge where he belongs.
3 BASILIO BLUE CHIP Gets the call as fave, since he's been good in almost every recent start. Caught a break with a good post. Hard to ignore.
4 MOUNTAIN ROCKET Had his trip over the track and he was driven like he needed it. With that said, we might see more tonight. I say might.
5 MEMORY BOOK Actually kept up willingly in first try in year and a half on closing night. I think we can look for a little more from him here. Watch.
6 LEAVE IT TO SAM Here's the Pena/Brennan combo again, first time on Sam. Opted to qualify at Freehold, not here. Sometimes that hurts.
7 LUCKY JO We all know he's good enough to beat these and I'm glad to see that Simpson gets a return call for the perfect drive he put on last time.
8 PENN TURBO TED Working his way down the class ladder, but Pants was listed and didn't make the trip. That's not an encouraging sign.
9 MUST BE THE BUNNY Is he a 10..or a 15? That is the question. All recent races good, but this field looks tougher and he's stuck out post 9.
10 MIZUNO Looks like a longshot, showing only one win all of last year.