• Week Of 1/5 - 1/11
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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 09, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 1-9-4-3
H Horse Comment
1 WORTH THE MONEY AS On paper, he just looks much faster than this group. Move to claimers should help. Exits a key race. Chalk.
2 JAILHOUSE ROCKIE Winner of that last race was 4th against $15k claimers at Saratoga on 12/14. Needs to pick it up from here.
3 PEMBROOK STREET Off nearly a month since breaking as the 4/5 favorite. Exits a key race as it produced a next out winner. Playable.
4 PT’S BOOMERANG Only managed 1 win last year, but that last effort was better. Winner if that race was 6th in a C-1 last week. Maybe.
5 ROSE RUN LIMO Coming off a 1-win season and he was 96-1 when last seen in a C-1. Qualifier was OK. I will be watching for now.
6 MOST WANTED LINDY Shows some efforts at Vernon that could make him a player here. Must overcome the layoff and the miscue.
7 TRANSCENDENT Earnings of just $300 per start in his career. Moving up off a pair of dull efforts, too. Looks like a real longshot.
8 ACHTUNG BABY This just doesn’t look like the right spot for this mare. She fits much cheaper and is off 5 weeks. Big longshot.
9 BABY BLAZE Shuffled and rallied last time. Should be better in his second start off the scratch. Raced well against similar at Philly.
10 KEVSTER Not sure he was going anywhere with that trip last time. Can’t afford to get away last here, which appears likely. Tough task.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 1-4-2-7
H Horse Comment
1 WINDSONG GORGEOUS Looms an overwhelming favorite on the move down the class ladder. Will be a popular single in the pick 5.
2 WAYWATCHER If we throw out that last effort, he appears to fit well in this group. Horse he last beat, was runner-up next out in $10k.
3 TONIGHTS THE NIGHT Hasn’t raced in a month and his last 2 efforts don’t have much appeal. Qualifier was OK, but needs a turnaround.
4 STONEBRIDGE BONUS He was favored in a C-2 on opening night, but that race hasn’t come back strong. Recent form is mediocre.
5 RACING ROCKY Well-beaten at the bottom level at Saratoga last time out. That doesn’t bode well. Looms a longshot despite barn change.
6 DUTCH RICHMAN His effort two starts back looks good in this group. Concern is the races surrounding the win. That field he beat was soft.
7 JOEY JOOKISS If you throw out that miscue, this form looks pretty solid. Don’t think he will be close enough to ‘Gorgeous to win though.
8 SKY TANTRUM I could see him being a wise-guy play, but I would like to have seen a race in the past month. Watching this one.
9 LEMON DROP HALL Last few starts have been decent at Freehold. He does show a positive history here. I expect to see speed here.
10 L M XKR When last seen here he was 119-1 and did not factor. Squandered a pocket trip at Monticello last time. Looms a huge longshot.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 5-6-4-7
H Horse Comment
1 CASSA’S IMAGE Making her second start back off the layoff. She was beaten by several of these last out and must take a step forward.
2 BAY ROCK Gelding is a bit of a wild card in here. Barn change and has a couple of decent qualifiers under his belt. Must watch closely.
3 ETIENNE Made a break last time, but was also 67-1 in that spot. Field he beat 2 starts back has not come back strong at all. Longshot.
4 DEACONS VALLEY Tough to get a gauge on that Dover mile as 2nd and 3rd place finishers are yet to race back. Seems to fit in this series.
5 TIME TO QUIT Looms a short-priced favorite, but catches a couple of sharp horses in here. Still, just looks faster than the rest of these.
6 DOUGH DOUGH Nice rally last time, especially coming off the bench. Figures to work out a good trip from here. Exotics factor or more.
7 CAJOLE HANOVER Defeated Bay Rock in that qualifier, who came back to win his next qualifier. Interesting, if he can stay trotting.
8 SECRET INGREDIENT Took some support last time, but perhaps he needed the start. He will need to take a big step forward now.
9 BIG SEA LIGER Did a good job making up ground last time. His lack of speed will make this post tricky. Hopes to pass a few in the lane.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 3-4-6-9
H Horse Comment
1 MESSENGER’S LEGACY Runner-up from last has been a non-factor at Balmoral in nw4 company. Skeptical of what he beat at Rosecroft.
2 ELUSIVE REWARD He was a complete non-factor last time. Winner of that race was 2nd in a C-1 last week. Wouldn’t completely dismiss.
3 ITTAKESTWOBABY Hasn’t had a great post at Yonkers since October, and this field is softer than what he has been facing. Interesting.
4 YOU BET YOUR GLASS Stepping up off a win and in decent form. Runner-up from last came back to win a nw2500 at Stga next time out.
5 REALLY ROCKIN Was a non-factor at this level last time at 73-1. That said, I feel this group is not nearly as strong. Expecting better.
6 FAST BILL Winner of that last qualifier was beaten 4 lengths in a F&M B-2 last week. Note, this horse was pacing sub-1:52 not long ago.
7 IN KENNY’S HONOR He is probably a few starts away from being a factor at this level. Off almost 5 months and will race back into shape.
8 CASINO KING Similarly to Really Rockin, this looks like a softer group than last time. Lack of speed puts him at the mercy of pace and trip.
9 ARMBRO BILLOW Not a bad qualifier, although that was one month ago. Would like to have seen a race since then. Still has back-class.
10 JIN DANDY Has been off 5 weeks and didn’t do much racing last time. He’ll fit at this level soon, but I have to figure he needs a start.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 1-4-6-7
H Horse Comment
1 BUCKEYE IN CHARGE Figures to take play on the move inside. Remember, 2 starts back he was good at this level. Logical contender.
2 THE UNSUB Solid effort last time while out-racing his odds. Coming off a season with only 1 win and less than $10k earned. Longshot.
3 DANA’S SHARP SMART He has gone some big miles in his career. Qualifier was solid, but is coming off a 7 month layoff. Tough call.
4 RELENTLESS DREAMER Seems to be racing himself back into shape. That last mile was a big improvement. Looms a significant player.
5 ANDWIN HANOVER Shows one win against a very soft group, but that effort is surrounded by a series of poor tries. Watching this one.
6 TAYLORLANE CRUISER Last 2 efforts are toss outs from the widest of posts. Brings a mixed bag of efforts like many of these. Tricky.
7 YA GOTTA GO Got to a level that was too tough last time. The 5 week layoff is a concern. Winner of last was no good in his start here.
8 BOBJACKS ANGLE A Also entering this off a 5 week layoff. Was beaten over 6 lengths by ‘Dana in that qualifier. Watching this time.
9 DUE WEST HANOVER Has not won in some time and is 2 for 48 in his career. Qualifier was solid and note the barn change. Possible.
10 DOIN TIME TOGETHER Wasn’t beaten a long way last time and catches a softer group this time. Berry must make speed here.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 5-2-7-8
H Horse Comment
1 ALL TROT Really tailed off heading into the fall and just couldn’t stay trotting. Added the hobble last time and at least he stayed flat.
2 COCOTIER Burke entering him despite the recent disappointments are a sign of confidence. Look for equipment changes. Tricky read.
3 THE MANIPULATOR Not much to go on with his recent form. Hasn’t had much luck at the post position draws, but form isn’t there.
4 SIXTEEN MIKES First of three in here coming off a win, but that field doesn’t appear particularly strong. Looks like a fringe player.
5 HOME TURF Making his second start back off the layoff. Looks like connections have been targeting this series. Primed and ready now.
6 ALEAH HANOVER Has been a non-factor in his recent starts. Would need a form reversal to contend for a share of this. Longshot.
7 STRIKING WAVE Coming off three consecutive victories, so he needs to be considered. Could be peaking at the right time. Contender.
8 APPROPRIATE ATTIRE Sharp winner last time, but not likely to get away with an easy lead with soft fractions here. Using underneath.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 10-2-7-3
H Horse Comment
1 MEETBEHINDTHEBARN Stepping up off a win, but not against the strongest of fields. Feel he will need to step up his game in this spot.
2 HEDGES LANE Back to back wins, last time as an overwhelming favorite. Bulk of this field features $10k claimers. One to beat in here.
3 ROCKEY REGAL Has gone some good miles in the past, but recent form is rather underwhelming. Appears a minor award is his ceiling.
4 HIS EMINENCE Despite being a 9/5 favorite, he found the move up at Freehold to be way too much. That doesn’t bode well in this group.
5 REAL TENACITY If His Eminence is in tough, then obviously so is this gelding. Will need to step up his game to contend in this spot.
6 C MAJOR HANOVER Coming off a lame scratch and a one month layoff. That is a tough combination. Looking elsewhere for the winner.
7 ARTIST POINT Has been pretty sharp lately and this barn is performing quite well. Seems to be a logical contender. Likely to show speed.
8 WILLIE’S PLACE Stepping up the class ladder off a win against the bottom level at Saratoga. This is going to be a test for class.
9 INSTANT THRILL Slides down from a $15k claimer. Recent form has not been strong. Need to hope the move down perks him up.
10 MUST BE THE BUNNY Raced well when last seen, which was 5 weeks ago. Strong qualifier and has the speed to overcome the draw.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 3-1-4-6
H Horse Comment
1 BLACK HAT Raced well at this level last time. Seems to be cycling forward as well. Barn doing good work, too. Looms a short price.
2 ROCINATE Scarborough shippers have not had much success here in a limited sample. At least this horse is sharp. Watching closely.
3 GRAB A CAB He is exiting the same race on 12/6 as Major Way who won a $15k claimer here on Saturday. Interesting angle with him.
4 CANNAE SONNY Stepping up off a win and seems to be in good form. Toss out the 11/16 mile and he looks very live in this spot. Player.
5 MAJOR GRACE Has been well-beaten in all 3 starts at this level so far. Possibly needs to be put in for $12.5k. Retains longshot status.
6 STAR CHASER Burnt a lot of cash 2 starts back going down at 1/9. Last mile wasn’t too sharp either. Hopes to dial back to Pocono form.
7 PENN TURBO TED Moving up in class off a four week layoff and a dull effort. Have to figure he needs this start. Watching for later.
8 CLUBBER LANG Broke through at the bottom level last time. Moves back to the level he was 35/1 in 2 starts back. This will be tougher.
9 MUST FUN YET Has been picking up checks, but has not been able to solve Clooney Drummond in his last 4 starts. Exotics candidate.
10 SUBLIMINAL HANOVER Moving up the ladder off a loss and is saddled with post 10 as well. Seems up against it in this spot.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 5-9-3-6
H Horse Comment
1 ABUNDASASS This is tricky, because that 1:54 qualifier time could be misleading as he towed along. Might be overbet off that. Tough call.
2 BOLD FRESH Neither the 2nd or 3rd place finisher from that last mile have raced since. So this move up is tricky. I guess I will watch one.
3 ALTERNAT THURSDAYS Was way overmatched in that last mile. His efforts at this level show he is in the right spot. Qualifier was solid.
4 JS MISS LINDA Coming off a sick scratch and a 3 week layoff. I don’t love Monticello shippers, but respect this barn. Tricky call here.
5 SUPER DUKE Not a bad effort last time. Runner-up from that race is in for $25k at The Meadows Friday. May go overlooked this time.
6 FOUR STARZ CREDIT Seems to have found a home at this $15k level. Racing consistently well and is a contender until proven otherwise.
7 SCRATCH OFF Moved up the ladder last time and it was a bit too much. Yonkers form does stack up well here. Unsure of the bigger track.
8 QUITE POSSIBLE Has not responded to the claim yet, but that improvement can come at any time. If the price is right, take a shot.
9 CELTIC MERCHANT This is a substantial drop in class. Down to the lowest level he has seen in some time. Expect Miller to be aggressive.
10 KILTED PRIDE A winner at this level last time. Rewarded again with post 10. Loses Zeron, too. Must prove that last mile was not a fluke.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 7-2-4-10
H Horse Comment
1 CORAL SNAKE Coming off an improved effort, but was just 1 for 20 last year. Expect him to save ground and tow along for a share.
2 NATIVE’S REVENGE Enters this off a four week layoff and an average qualifier. That said, he has been facing better than this. Tough.
3 LETTHEROCKBEGIN Never a factor in that C-1, but he should have been better last time on the class drop. Off a month, too. Not for me.
4 COME ON RIDGE Out-raced his odds last time and perhaps he is cycling forward. See how Clubber Lang did in the 8th. Not without chance.
5 T M TOP GUN Not able to gauge much from those qualifier and he is coming off a four month layoff as well. Best served watching this one.
6 WHIRL MONROE Aggressively steered against better last time, but tired badly. Has a right to improve on the class drop. Maybe a share.
7 GRAMS LEGACY Most talented horse in the race also comes with a lot of mental baggage. Off his qualifier, I might roll the dice this time.
8 QUINNMAN Comes back off an 8 month layoff with just 1 qualifier. Have to think he needs a start, so I will take a wait and see approach.
9 ROO ROO RUSTY Echo the Clubber Lang comment from earlier. Note, he was 31-1 last time, so I question that field’s strength.
10 NEXT FLIGHT Getting some class relief which is bound to help. He did pace in 1:52.4 last time. Lachance must keep him close from here.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 2-6-5-4
H Horse Comment
1 CORLEONE HALL Was doing just enough to pick up checks at Yonkers. This gelding is 0 for 25, so I will be looking elsewhere.
2 DONATELLA HANOVER Three year old filly tackles older, but is exiting a very fast mile. She is clearly the one they must catch and beat.
3 FITNESS CRAZE Not a bad qualifier and he did good work to be a factor at Yonkers. Could see him in the exotics conversation with a trip.
4 CLEMENTINE DREAM That was exactly the kind of prep connections were hoping for. Won’t be 3/5 this time, but appears a risky play.
5 CONNIE KEEPER Making her second race back off the bench. Likely needed that last start and has a right to improve this time around.
6 YOU ROCK MY WORLD Most likely alternate option to the favorite. Raced well last time, but is still just 1 for 30 lfietime. Using accordingly.
7 SARCASTIC MAN Coming off a series of good tries. Changing barns again and is 0 for 17 in his career. Looking elsewhere for the winner.
8 ZOLI Exits the same race as ‘Rock and raced well in the process. Another with a modest 1 for 31 record. Also using him underneath.
9 HOLY CANNOLI Faced a better condition last time while adding Lasix. Still, didn’t see enough in there for me to consider this time.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 2-4-7-1
H Horse Comment
1 J CS JAKE Raced better last time, however, the 3rd place finisher from that mile came back to be 8th vs. nw2 next out. Mixed feelings here.
2 RAY HALL Will be a popular choice off that last recovery and effort. Draws better and perhaps we will see more speed tonight. Favorite.
3 LEGENDARY KEMP Has managed to stay trotting in his last pair since adding the hobbles. Solid connections, but need to see one first.
4 REPEAT YOUR ABC’S Third place finisher from that last mile came back to win a nw5500L5 next out in 1:58.1. Exotics consideration.
5 KEYSTONE SADIE Recent form just doesn’t inspire much confidence. Will need to see a start in this series before I can consider.
6 LAZURUS Took off the trotting hobbles in that last qualifier and he stayed trotting. The problem is, that was a 2:03 mile. Must go faster!
7 HOBSON’S CHOICE Geared down in that qualifier and won handily. Burke yet to have success with him and he is just 1 for 23 lifetime.
8 TAMASIN HALL Regressed into a break last time and lately she has been an all or nothing type. Best work appears to be on smaller ovals.
9 RAPHAELL Well-beaten against new2 company last out at 107-1. I expect better tonight, but he is still a longshot for the win in here.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-3-10-2
H Horse Comment
1 SPECIAL KIM Might be overbet on the post improvement as she didn’t have an awful trip last time. Form has been rather mediocre, too.
2 SUNSHINE PATRIOT An even try last time, although it was a step forward. Skeptical of that race, though as it was won by a Monti shipper.
3 ANGEL OF THE WESRT Exits a much better C-2 heat behind an overwhelming favorite. Wasn’t bad either. This spot is much softer.
4 SOUTHWIND MISSOURI Added Lasix last time to no avail. Has beaten far softer than this at Freehold and will need to step things up.
5 DREAM’S BAR She has a proven history here and off her last mile, she looks like a logical selection and favorite here. Strictly her to beat.
6 LAUGH AWAY She didn’t improve last time which is a concern and she will be rated a longshot until she turns her form around.
7 WE BE AMERICAN Tough trip last time, but also exits what I deemed to be a weaker division last time out. Can improve with a trip.
8 LOOK ANNIE HALL Needed to get to the bottom level at Freehold to get that elusive win. Not it’s back up the ladder to face tougher.
9 BROOKLYNS BEST There just isn’t much to get excited about here. Beaten nearly 30 lengths in a similar spot on 11/29. Not for me.
10 PERSUASIVE HANOVER She has won here before and she is exiting a better race than several of these. I can see her hitting the ticket.