• Week Of 12/23 - 12/29
  • SU23
  • MO24
  • TU25
  • WE26
  • TH27
  • FR28
  • SA29
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, December 28, 2012

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-5-6
H Horse Comment
1 CELEBRITY HERCULES Showed good late burst in his win at Georgian. That field was an Optional $15k claimer. This appears tougher.
2 MACHO LINDY Did his best trotting in mid to late October, but has since tailed off. Just 1 for 12 on the year. Looking elsewhere.
3 BERKSHIRE Winner from last is in A-2 Trot (Race 6). This field is comparable to the last he faced. Gelding is not without a chance.
4 DASH FOR THE CASH Exits same event as Berkshire and caught a rough trip. Barn change and driver change. Intriguing at a price.
5 R SAM Worked his way up the ladder at Philly and it got to be too much. Worth noting the wide draws in last two. Gelding likes this oval.
6 ARMOR HANOVER Sharpest horse in the race. First time Lasix/Hopples. Winner from last has been 1st or 2nd in 7 consecutive starts.
7 GREY ICE Winner of that QUA is a $15k claimer. Broke in his next start at Philadelphia. He loves the Tioga oval. Question him at M1.
8 OVER AND OUT Has been all over the class ladder this year, with some success. Last was an optional $25k claimer. Some things to like.
9 STARGLOW HALL Three year old filly is in a tricky spot here. She won a leg of the NYSS this year. Winner of last is a nice trotter. Tricky.
10 NORDIC VENTURE Exits same race as ‘Dash and ‘Sam. Has the speed to overcome the wide draw. Question his staying power.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 1-9-8-6
H Horse Comment
1 AINT GOT A HOME Tough first over trip last time. Winner of last was a repeat victor. Filly needs a trip to win, but she can get it in this spot.
2 ARTIE’S LAST PARTY Upset the apple cart at 28-1, followed up with a sick scratch. This is a tough test for class for this filly.
3 BITTERSWEET BEST Exits a below average qualifier and this filly lost ground in the stretch. Another getting a test for class in this spot.
4 ARTIE’S GIFT Filly hasn’t won since August in nw2 company at Scioto. Recent form has been lacking. Turnaround required here.
5 FULL EXPLOSION Had an up and down year in the Maine Breeders Stakes. Wins at Freehold were easy. This will be tougher. Tricky call.
6 SO WANTED Recent form bodes well for this lass here. Concerned by the 2 for 26 lifetime record. Might be used best underneath.
7 ODDS ON GUINEVERE Defeated ‘Explosion in a qualifier, but this filly’s 2 efforts at Yonkers do not bode well for either filly. Playing against.
8 FAST AND FIESTY Appears to be a deserving favorite in this group. Brings plenty of speed to the race too. Soundly defeated ‘Home in last.
9 SHES LOVIN IT Two tries off the layoff have been good. 15 runner-up finishes compared to 6 wins. I’ll play her accordingly in here.
10 CAROLSTERN Field she beat at Freehold just does not stack up well against these. Likely coming from last. Don’t see it working out.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 9-7-4-2
H Horse Comment
1 POWER SURGE Wasn’t much of a factor in that qualifier. Form goes in and out but I don’t think his best is good enough to win this.
2 FRESCO BLUE He was earning minor checks in $15k claimers earlier at Pocono. This is a bit tougher. Can see him sliding in for a share.
3 DOLLARS BROMAC N Off for 5 weeks including a sick scratch. That’s not what I am looking for. Must step things up in this spot.
4 FLOWMASTER Appears the one to beat on paper. Faces older here, but his last win was sharp. Was entered for $50k three starts back.
5 NORTHERN RIVER Improved in his 2nd start off the layoff, which is an encouraging sign. Did his best racing at levels lower than this.
6 THREE NEW DAWNS Draw a line through his last, being from post 8 at Yonkers. Effort two starts back was solid. Appears a contender.
7 TIGER WILLIAMS Qualifier was decent enough and if you throw out the effort from 12-11, then you can make a case here. A possibility.
8 PEMBROKE ALEX BUSH Certainly a pace factor in this spot, but I question his stamina with the long Meadowlands stretch. Tough read.
9 WISHER Burke and Gingras were unstoppable together early last winter. Has the speed to overcome post 9. This is the right spot. Using.
10 FINANCE THE MASTER Post 8 at Yonkers is an automatic toss-out. Effort from November 30th wasn’t bad. Can see including in gimmicks.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-4-9
H Horse Comment
1 SOAPY SAP Meadowlands mainstay kicks off another season. Changes barns here and she has been pretty good of late. Things to like.
2 CHOCOLATTA DE VIE Filly is sharp, but this is a tough spot. Just 3 and tackling older horses. Only 1 for 21 too this year. Mixed feelings.
3 B L CLASS ACT Gelding is in his best form of the season. Runner-up from his last was 4th in nw12000 at Yonkers next out. Possibility.
4 SARKOZY Winner of last was 3rd in a nw25000 in his next start. This gelding is sharp and he has success over the big tracks in Canada.
5 LORD DARBY Cannot knock his current form as he has been razor sharp. Wonder how he will handle the long M1 stretch. Tough call.
6 ARUBA VACATION Does the bulk of his damage each year at Tioga. Last effort was decent. Winner of last won a nw25000 next out.
7 SPICE IT UP LINDY Has been picking up checks of late and now goes to the Meittinis barn. Breakthrough effort required in this spot.
8 STAND GUARD His form has gone the wrong way since the claim. That’s a concern. Has plenty of back class. Looking for improvement.
9 MISS LEE Exits the same race as ‘De Vie and they were awfully close on the wire. Key race? Mare is not without a chance in this field.
10 PROUD MOMENT He does his best work at The Meadowlands each year. Nice qualifier, but wonder with post 10 if we should wait a week.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 7-1-5-8
H Horse Comment
1 OLE MISS This mare looks like a handful in here. Her recent form is not her best, but she was facing some tough mares recently. Favorite.
2 DREAM’S BAR Last win was visually impressive, dominating first over. This group will be tougher, however. One of many contenders.
3 ONE NIGHT Left with way too much to do last time. This field is stronger than an $18k claimer at Philly. She’ll need to step it up here.
4 REAL RAVISHING Won her way into tougher company in Philly, and it proved to be too tough. Three year old will have her hands full.
5 MISS SAND CREEK Talk about all over the class ladder. Last could prove to be a confidence builder. Proven on a big track, too. Maybe.
6 NIGHTLY TERROR This is a step up from that nw4 company at Yonkers. Off a sick scratch and a step up the ladder could prove tricky.
7 ANGELWITHNATTITUDE Exits a key race as the winner and runner-up both came back to win. This mare looks setup for a big effort.
8 WILDFIRE OSBORNE Goes without saying this is the sharpest horse in the race. Figures to be in the race from the start. Contender.
9 NITE GAMES Just one start in the last month, so she figures to be tighter for this. She can land a share of this with the right setup.
10 CLEAR VIEW HANOVER Filly went off form before getting a break. Runner-up in that qualifier is eligible for nw2 company. Watching one.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-5-8
H Horse Comment
1 ALL MUNKY BUSINESS See how ‘Chocolatta and Miss Lee did in the 4th. Can’t argue with current form. Winner from 12/6 is a beast.
2 THE BUDSTER Gelding continues to pound out $100k seasons. Tracked ‘Ellen last week, with no success. Must find way to turn tables.
3 A LISTER The Saratoga shippers did not perform well early in the meet last year. Mile track may play to this trotter’s racing style. Maybe.
4 MAGNUM KOSMOS He puts up some nice miles when he remains trotting. Pace factor for sure, not sure he can hold them off in the lane.
5 ELLEN’S ISLE Exits a strong field in Philly, and going first over just didn’t work. Perfect post for this mare. She will be a handful in this spot.
6 SEA RAVEN Miller should be able to work this mare into the cover flow. Defeated by a very sharp favorite last time. Fits well in this group.
7 IN YOUR ROOM See how Berkshire did in the 1st. Drop and pop last time, but this field looks like a stronger group. May need even more.
8 STIR ME UP Winner from last is in the 8th. Post 8 at Philly is tough and he had too much to do from there. He is another candidate in here.
9 PICTURES OF MILLIE Exits the same good group as ‘Ellen. Previous form was pretty solid. Will have a long way to rally, but has a chance.
10 KING’S CAVALIER No match for both ‘Ellen and ‘Budster last time. Now has the widest draw without much speed. Looks like the longshot.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-4-9-8
H Horse Comment
1 ALL ABOUT KISSES Really had no chance in her most recent start. Previous tries at Saratoga were good, but this field came up tough.
2 WARRAWEE KOINE Probably shouldn’t have been beat last time, but still raced good. Proven on a big track in Canada. A contender.
3 GROUNDED Exits the same race as ‘MJ, but just had way too much ground to make up. Appears to be sharp right now. Has a chance.
4 RUB THING Big win last time. Third place finisher from last was 3rd vs. nw25000 next time out. Another in good form right now. Contender.
5 CHIEF KAREN Exiting some tough races at Yonkers and lands an ideal post here. Defeated a nice mare last time. Another contender.
6 ENDURING DELIGHT Winner and 3rd place finishers from last were 4th and 5th in a $75k Open at Philly. Needs perfect setup in tough field.
7 PACIFIC DATE Left with too far to come last time. Been facing mostly younger fillies lately at Dover. Still, she is very sharp right now.
8 ARCTIC FIRE N Just wasn’t going anywhere from post 8 at Yonkers last time. Exits the same race as ‘Kisses. Part of a complex puzzle.
9 MJ’S BID If you like Grounded, it’s hard not to like this filly. Exits the fastest last-out mile and is clearly sharp. Contention runs very deep.
10 JOLTING KATE Many will simply toss her out because this race is impossible and she has the 10 hole. But she’ll make the lead in here!
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 6-7-4-1
H Horse Comment
1 DON’T KNOW CHIP Looked awfully good considering that qualifier was off a four month layoff. Loves this track and he looks ready to go.
2 BAMBINO HALL Has just one start in six weeks and has been off for three weeks as well. His best is good enough. May need a start.
3 ICE MACHINE He raced well here at the beginning of the meet last winter. It has been a long season for him too. Still winning races.
4 THE CHANCELLOR Always felt he did his best work right here. Field he beat last was a touch softer than this. Might need even more.
5 WIND SURFER Trotter has some real class to him, but recent form has been suspect. See how Burke trainees have been doing so far.
6 HARBOR POINT Have a feeling this horse could be the next big thing. Scharf private purchase looked great at Philly. The one to beat.
7 THE EVICTOR He can be a handful, when he trots. Winner of last is a sharp trotter, was 4th in an Open next out. Not without a chance.
8 PHOTO KING See how Ellen’s Isle did in the 6th. Another with just 1 start in the last 4 weeks. Packs enough speed to make him dangerous.
9 ALL ABOUT JUSTICE Gelding can jump up and win when he finds himself in the right spot. This field came up very tough. Longshot.
10 LIKEABATOUTAHELL Approaching his 10YO season and he has certainly had some big moments here. I will watch his first start back.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-3-10
H Horse Comment
1 CAROLSIDEAL Exits the same race as ‘Ryder and they finished within a ½ length of each other. She looks like a contender in this spot.
2 MOJARRA HANOVER Half the field is exiting nw18000 races. This mare seems to tow along and try to earn a share typically.
3 MYSTICAL MJ Her recent past performances look very similar to many of these. Which one will jump up and break through? Tough race.
4 RUNAWAY TRAY She has slid down the class ladder in each of her last two starts, but it has not helped. Looks like a longshot.
5 SLEAZY DOES IT Appears to be the longshot of this field. Three year olds recent form has not been sharp. Needs a turnaround.
6 FLASHY Similar to Pacific Date, who raced in the 7th, see how she did. With exception of 11-28, this lass has been racing well. Contender.
7 GO ON BB Hard to gauge how those Balmoral type Open Mares compare to this group. I think this field might be a bit tougher. Watch one.
8 SYNERGY SEELSTER Recent form has gone the wrong way lately. Her best is good enough, but I need to see an improvement first.
9 RYDER BLUE CHIP Three year old has been pretty good this year, but steps into this tough event against older. An outside chance.
10 CUZ SHE CAN Here is another mare that has gone some big miles here. Lack of speed makes this draw a challenge. Maybe a share.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 4-11-9-1
H Horse Comment
1 BRANDON’S COLT Last effort was an improvement. Gets an important good draw in a large field. Looks like a contender in this spot.
2 ATTACK MODES BILLY Form has been even lately and sports just a 1 for 25 mark this year. Will need to step it up to win this.
3 WITTY’S BEACHBOY Those races at Colonial were against much softer company. That track plays very fast too. Looks like a longshot.
4 BRONSON BLUE CHIP Found the move up to the $15k claiming level to be too much. Previous form was pretty impressive. Has a shot.
5 HE’S A BEACHBOY Has not been very sharp of late and it appears that he will need a major turnaround to contend in this spot.
6 CELEBRITY SCANDAL Added Lasix and raced better. Now 2nd time on Lasix, he can improve further. An intriguing player in a tough field.
7 NEW YORK TERROR Monticello shippers did not have much success here last year. Feel like this one is up against it.
8 CHEYENNE OXE Shows a win against nw2500 at Freehold. This is a tougher spot. Not sold on his chances in this event. Longshot.
9 PALM’S BEACH Racing well in his last couple of starts, but with 2 trailers this wide draw is not going to be a benefit. Needs a trip.
10 SKIVVIES The ten hole in a 12 horse field without much early speed is not where you want to be. In line for a difficult trip from here.
11 INFORM Obviously his most recent form doesn’t jump off the page. But he has been facing better than most of these. Like post 11 here.
12 UPFRONT COSMO Last couple have been OK, but he will have to maneuver through traffic here. Might consider using him underneath.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 2-4-1-5
H Horse Comment
1 HERES MY TICKET Making her third start off the layoff and her last was a much improved effort. She seems to be trending the right way.
2 JOYFULJOY N See how Cuz She Can raced in the 9th, this mare comes out of that race. Toss out the race from post 8, she has a shot.
3 PERSUASIVE HANOVER Been showing some good speed on the half at Yonkers. Does she have the stamina for the long M1 stretch?
4 HOSTESS LISA Appears that the addition of Lasix has helped. This filly, formerly from the Midwest could be rounding back to form.
5 LOVE YOU BYE Finished behind a mare that is pretty sharp right now. Gets an ideal post and could be able to find his way into this.
6 PAY TRIBUTE Beaten off the layoff by a mare that had been no better than 5th in her last 3 starts. She could improve 2nd race off the bench.
7 TYKESA MOON Added Lasix but still wasn’t able to handle ‘Lisa. Plenty of back class here and has by far the most earnings this year.
8 ELLEOFNXAMPLE Coming off a four week layoff, but raced well last time. Miller will have to work out a trip. Adds value to the mix.
9 HANNAH ISABEL Exits the same race as #2, so see that note. She has slid down the class ladder quite a bit and is slowly improving.
10 CARAMEL CHINNO Not sure those optional $15k claimers stack up well against this field. Has speed, so might be a pace factor.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 8-6-7-1
H Horse Comment
1 WILDSVILLE Looks like one of the major contenders here, despite the 3 weeks off. Defeated a last out winner in his last start. Contender.
2 CAMBASSADOR Steps back up off the claim, but he just hasn’t been racing well at this level lately. Need to see a start here first.
3 BIG TEN CHAMP Another stepping up, this one off a win. Last couple of tries at this level have not been good. Watching this time.
4 STORMIN RUSTLER Finished 2nd at this level at Freehold, but historically the move here is a step up. Expecting that he needs more.
5 BULLVILLE PLAYER Exits a similar race to ‘Rustler, but his was a slower heat. Have similar feelings regarding his chances here.
6 DAVE PANLONE Just had far too much to do from a wide draw last time. This horse is sharp right now and looms a major player in here.
7 MANOFLEISURESUIT Exits the same race as ‘Dave and these two horses are pretty comparable. Shop for the best value. Contender.
8 LADY’S BAG MAN Winner from 3 starts back adds Lasix for the first time which could be the x-factor here. Worth a second look now.
9 NF INDEPENDENCE He is sliding down the class ladder, but his form has been rather dull and I would rather take a sharp horse here.
10 RADAR INSTALLED N Seems to be on the slow and steady improve, but this post could compromise his chances. Needs a trip.