• Week Of 12/22 - 12/28
  • SU22
  • MO23
  • TU24
  • WE25
  • TH26
  • FR27
  • SA28
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, December 28, 2013

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 5-7-2-3
H Horse Comment
1 MAJOR WAY Has been in for a higher tag at Saratoga. Off 3 weeks and in rather dull form. Will need to show staunch improvement.
2 BOILER BOB THE QB Just couldn’t pace with a class dropper in Mattador D when they got to racing last time. A contender right back.
3 PUTNAMS ATTACK A rather disappointing effort last time when favored. Now moves into this claimer, which I don’t think is any easier.
4 GRATIAS DEO Solid try last time, but that wasn’t a particularly fast mile. Loses Callahan as well now. Minor award appears his ceiling.
5 WESTERN TSUNAMI Faced a better group last time and wasn’t bad. Now gets another move down the ladder. Figures to be very tough.
6 LLC DELIGHT Technically, he hasn’t gone a mile in over a month. This is the right level, but he is 0 for 23 and likely needs a start now.
7 AVOGADRO HANOVER He has been facing tougher recently and he does own a fast mile here earlier this year. Not without a chance.
8 ART FOR LIVING Ships up from Rosecroft which is where he typically does his best work. Milby has won with him. Still a longshot.
9 YANOYANOMENOW Didn’t have much chance last time, but that doesn’t change the fact that he appears a notch below this group.
10 MC RUSTY He is a 7-time winner this year and has gone some fast miles. Post won help, but with a trip, he can cash a check in here.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 10-8-4-6
H Horse Comment
1 TELL STIENAM Just 2 lifetime starts and neither gave us much to work with. Want to see him a complete a mile before considering.
2 GRANDPA DON Connections stopped with him in June, but appears that he has matured quite a bit. Still just his first lifetime start.
3 STIMULUS PLAN Enters this off over a 3 month layoff. His efforts at this level prior to the layoff were not up to par. Watching this time.
4 LITTLEBITACLASS Won 5 of 6 at Flamboro and this looks like another smart buy for Burke. Off 4 weeks, but likely to take plenty of play.
5 IF IT RAINS Record now stands at 0 for 30 and his last effort was just marginal at best. Will need to step up his game quite a bit.
6 WHEELAWAY Sports fairly solid Scarborough form and he raced well at Saratoga last out. Seems to fit well in this spot. Likely contender.
7 SER JOHN Finished within a nose of Wheelaway last time out. He did pull off a 18-1 upset on opening night here. Not without a chance.
8 JUST GOT PAID Beaten by a Takter first time starter that appears to have talent. He was favored there. A logical contender right back.
9 RJ’S DAY Has not done much racing in either start since arriving here. Will remain a longshot until he puts forth a better effort.
10 BARBARIAN He was locked in 2-back and was perfectly positioned last week when the horse first over broke in his face. Interesting.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-4-8
H Horse Comment
1 COLE HEART Not a bad effort at all last time as he is exiting a very quick mile. Moves inside and I suspect Miller will be aggressive again.
2 THESEYESRCRYING On paper, this field is just tougher than what he faced last time. Was in better form earlier in the year. Tough spot.
3 EXPLODENT Took advantage of what was, on paper, a bit of a soft group last time out. This field is much tougher and he will need more.
4 NATHAN FEELSGOOD Very consistent and racing well at Yonkers. Likely to work out a decent trip from here. Cannot be ignored this time.
5 COBALT MAN Just had no shot last time. His previous effort was OK, but Bongiorno had him in a perfect spot, he was just even late.
6 ROCKNROLL JEWEL He is racing pretty well and has been overlooked at times at the betting windows. Certainly an exotics candidate.
7 DIGITAL Z TAM Record now stands at just 2 for his last 56. His form has been fair, but it is hard to consider him a win contender now.
8 SILENT SWING Was taken to the back when moved up in class last time. I expect Miller to be much more aggressive this time. Player.
9 ROLL ON Gets a needed drop in class now and is likely going to be dangerous off that move. But, this is a rather tough B-2 event.
10 BIG UNIT That last effort was not bad and this gelding has actually been pretty good lately. Campbell will need to blast from out here.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 2-6-8-3
H Horse Comment
1 IDEAL ROWAN Winner of that qualifier did not race well in a C-1 for 3YO’s next out. Still, this gelding can tow along and land a share.
2 APPLE A DAY Brutal trip last time. Prior efforts were strong, especially at this level at Philly. Appears to fit well with this group. Contender.
3 JLDON’TWASTEMYTIME Added Lasix last time, but offered an identical effort to his prior start. Still, likely to take plenty of tote action.
4 DRAGON LORE Believe there is a major difference between this group and the field he defeated at Freehold. Will need even more now.
5 SENOR GRANDE He was 83-1 last time when squandering a pocket trip. Only his 2nd start in the last 7 weeks. Still watching for now.
6 SIR MICHIGAN Z TAM Seems to have rounded back into form since coming back from that layoff. Will look for a helmet to follow. Player.
7 LARAMARS SOUL Moving down the class ladder to a level he was victorious in at Philly. Callahan goes elsewhere though. Tricky read.
8 RING LEDA He was OK last time out as that race was pretty top heavy. I think this field is a bit softer and he merits strong consideration.
9 WORLD CUP CULLEN Remember, Berry has to opt here as he co-owns this horse. Yet to show much late interest. Still a longshot.
10 AHEAD OF THE CROWD The field he beat at Monticello just doesn’t stack up again still. Is also off almost four weeks. Passing for now.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 4-9-8-3
H Horse Comment
1 NEWBEGINING Slight drop in terms of claiming price. Draws better and with a trip can easily hit the ticket. Should be a square price.
2 DAMON BLUE CHIP Perhaps the move back to the claiming ranks will wake him up a bit. Showed some good efforts at this level earlier.
3 MARINER SEELSTER Added Lasix last time but was still a non-factor at 38-1. He could improve with 2nd time Lasix. Bomb for exotics.
4 ROCKROLL SPECIAL Should be a wise guy play as a horse that left this horses former barn won on Saturday. Hoosier miles are good.
5 TOUGH LOVE I don’t take much away from that last mile, but his Freehold form does tell me that he is a cut below these. Longshpt.
6 SAND SAVAGE Interesting to see how much money he took last time off his previous efforts. Perhaps that last field was suspect. Tricky.
7 NORTHERN PRIZE Just 1 for 21 on the year and his recent form is just OK. Would need to take a step forward to contend here.
8 DIABLO SEELSTER Seems to have responded to the move to this level. Continues to move in the right direction. Looms a contender.
9 GOOSE CREEK Two bad posts followed by a tough trip. If he wasn’t soured by that, he has a shot to rally for a piece of this at a price.
10 MR TERRY FRA Just doesn’t seem very sharp right now. He really should have been better last time as well. Looking elsewhere.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 6-8-1-9
H Horse Comment
1 DOVUTO HANOVER Anyone that saw him race last week is going to bet him. Great recovery with a huge late rally. No value off that mile.
2 BIG GAME HUNTER Based on the mile put forth by Dovuto, this geldings late interest in that same race may go overlooked. Interesting.
3 MAY DAY Raced well earlier in the season, but his recent form just doesn’t stack up against these. Will need to improve his game.
4 GEORGE JETTISON Nice rally last time. This horse has success on the big track as well. Field is tough, but he is in excellent form.
5 PANPERO FIRPO Certainly didn’t race badly at this level when last seen here. Perhaps the confidence builder can help. Still a price.
6 COWBOY TERRIER I was impressed with him last week. Hung in there off a 4 week layoff in a very fast race. Has a right to improve more!
7 TRACK MASTER D Off his last pair of efforts at this level, it’s tough to consider him a contender. If anything, this looks even tougher.
8 SWEET TALKIN SATIN Made 2 moves and did all the work in that huge mile last week. Overreaction to Dovuto will help his price.
9 EDDIE SWEAT Flattered by Validus Deo who came out of that last mile and won. This is a serious horse with a big engine. Contender.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 7-4-6-9
H Horse Comment
1 LUCKY MAN Making his second race off the layoff after an inspiring effort. But, Andy opts off and this field is ridiculously good. Tough task.
2 BLATANTLY GOOD Was surprisingly dead on the board last week and raced OK. This field is even tougher, so he will have to step it up.
3 BETTORS GLASS Nothing wrong with his last effort. Will need to turn the tables on Hypnotic while stepping up against a better group.
4 ALEXIE MATTOSIE I think the move down is going to help. His last mile was gritty too. It’s logical to consider him a win contender here.
5 ERLE DALE N Was able to open up and hold on last time. Make no mistake, this field is much tougher. Will need an even better mile.
6 DIAL OR NODIAL Went from dead on the board to the wise-guy play. He needed room late in that mile and figures to be even better now.
7 HYPNOTIC BLUE CHIP It’s great to see this old pro back to this level and in another match-up with ‘Dial. Simply too sharp to ignore.
8 BAKIN ON THE BEACH He was surprisingly flat in the stretch last week. This field is even tougher so he really needs to improve.
9 SOUTHWESTERN DREAM Has not been particularly sharp since arriving here. That said, he can jump up with a big mile without notice.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 8-4-5-9
H Horse Comment
1 MUSCLE BEACHBOY Coming off three solid efforts at three different levels. This field is tough, but he is simply too sharp to ignore.
2 TROON On a 3-race win streak, but has been doing it against much softer competition. Still, his arrow is pointed in the right direction.
3 SAWBUCK HANOVER Exiting a pair of tough races and he has been pretty good lately. Faces a couple of very tough foes in this spot.
4 GALLANT SEELSTER Making his second race back off the layoff so he figures to be better here. Has gone some quick miles in 2013.
5 MINDSET Thoroughly dominated last time out. Gets a good challenge in here from ‘K Lees, but this is still the horse to beat. Short price.
6 ANDREW LUCK Saved ground and was able to earn a pretty good piece of the pie last time. This field is tougher. Needs a faster effort.
7 COMICBOOK HERO Exits an insanely fast mile last time, so don’t be too hard on him. This is a softer spot and he may go overlooked.
8 K-LEES SHAKENBAKE He exploded to the wire last time. That effort was visually impressive and he will provide a challenge to Mindset.
9 MAGIC TRICKS He out-raced his odds in The Reynolds. Has not started since then. Mindset came out of the Reynods well. Good sign.
10 TWIN B FAMOUS Was no match for Mindset last time and now draws the far outside without much speed. Very tough assignment.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 7-2-3-8
H Horse Comment
1 ONTHECLOCK HANOVER Has been keeping some very tough company at Yonkers. This doesn’t exactly get much easier. Fringe player.
2 ROAD UNTRAVELED He was awesome last week. Moving to a tougher spot, but he was simply too good last week to worry about that.
3 FOREST VIC A The grizzled veteran says good-bye. This is the last start of his great career. Be great to see him go out a winner!
4 IDEAL CHAMP He had to be better than that in his last start. His form has gone in the wrong direction and he needs to turn things around.
5 DREAMLANDS ART His last three starts have been an indication of his year and why he is 0 for 30. Logical exotics player, but not on top.
6 BOLDER Threw in a clunker following that 92-1 shocker. He now needs to reaffirm his status and show that win wasn’t an aberration.
7 RELENTLESS G He was flat-out flying at the end of that mile last week. I think this field is not as deep as that last group. Win contender.
8 VOICE OF TRUTH Making his second start back off the layoff, and has a right to improve. Has back class. Use the tote board to guide you.
9 CASHENDASH HANOVER He was better last week, but he is still going to need a bit more to succeed at this level. Might need softer.
10 STONEBRIDGE TONIC Just 1 for 33 in the midst of what has been a bit of a down year. Will need to use his speed to overcome the draw.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-7-4-8
H Horse Comment
1 KNOCKING AROUND Kicks off what I call an impossible race to handicap. Finally draws well. With a trip, he can be dangerous here.
2 BACK TO THE WEST The move from $15k to $50k is massive. But none of these are exiting a $50k claimer, so it’s not as steep. Tricky.
3 GARETH NOURRIR Didn’t fare well at the C-1 level and now moves to this level we haven’t seen yet this meet. Will be watching here.
4 A SWEET RIDE I think Callahan gives this horse a big call by opting here. He must have liked his last effort. Looks very dangerous.
5 DELCO ROCKNROLL Throw out that last start and it looks like Pierce landed a nice catch drive. Figures to work out a trip. My top pick.
6 LOTSA CHROME That last field was tough. Code Word did not fare well in his subsequent start though. With a trip, he can earn a part.
7 ABBEYLARA No chance kind of mile where he was finishing with a flourish. Clearly, he can get closer with any king of smoother trip.
8 UP UP AND OUT That last mile was just too fast for him. This race won’t go in 1:48.4 and he has a big chance to rebound in this spot.
9 TELL US MORE Added Lasix last time but was simply too far back. Faces a completely different type of field here. Watching for clues.
10 MORTAL ZIN That was a poor effort on the class drop. This field isn’t any easier and now he has the worst post. Passing this time.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 7-6-5-4
H Horse Comment
1 MACHS BEACH BOY He has more speed than his last few starts at Yonkers indicate. That said, this is a pretty select field. Needs best.
2 FAT MANS ALLEY Faces the toughest field he has seen in some time. Likely will need a lifetime best effort to win this. Tricky call here.
3 ROCK ON MOE Moe has been in very good form recently and respect his 13 wins. But, similar to ‘Fat Man, he will need a career best.
4 AROCKIN HANOVER That was some effort last week. Now he moves up against an even tougher group. He is too sharp to dismiss now.
5 VERSADO He had to need that last start and well know the class this guy brings with him. Expecting a better, more aggressive effort.
6 ABELARD HANOVER He is getting his stride back following the layoff and remember he had a great stretch earlier this year. Contender.
7 BETTOR’S EDGE He is a deserving favorite in here, but is by no means a lock in this spot. Need to determine if you want the short price.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 2-9-4-8
H Horse Comment
1 ONE BAD SHOT Another one of these Tanyeyhill to Irvine horses. Same connections scored similarly last weekend. Off 3 weeks. Tricky.
2 TALKING BLUES Have to figure that last mile makes him pretty tough in this field. See how Burke is doing up to here. Either way, chalk.
3 WISHFUL DESIRE Too many scratches and gaps in races for my liking. Need to see a consistent string of efforts before I can consider.
4 DULL ROAR Miller chooses off again despite racing respectively well against Mindset. I think he can be better in this spot. My selection.
5 MILITIA MAN He comes into this in better form than most, but he has been defeating softer competition. Need to see a start here first.
6 LATE NIGHT JOKE When he stays pacing, he usually gives a good showing, but there is risk here. Likely will toss into some exotics.
7 MANCHESTER Miller landing here perplexed me. This horse ships down in suspect form off a 5 week layoff. I will be watching this one.
8 CONTRABAND HANOVER Making his second start back off the layoff so figures to improve. Loses Miller, but I expect he’ll be better.
9 HUMILITY I think this is a key horse to play. Also making his second start back off the freshening. Expecting him to take a step forward.
10 TARPON HANOVER Here is your wild card. He is getting a needed class drop, but is he ready now? Could win or be nowhere. Tricky call.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 7-6-1-2
H Horse Comment
1 PEMBROKE NICK Last effort was better on the drop in class and this is somewhat of a lateral move. Could hit the ticket in this group.
2 I DO HANOVER If he is ready off the sick scratch, then he is a win contender. But that is a big IF. Use the tote board to guide you.
3 MAJOR TIPPER Went off a lukewarm favorite last time and had to need that start. Figures to be tighter and better this time around.
4 ACTION BRAD Off a qualifier that didn’t reveal a whole lot and a 6 month layoff. Just not a recipe for me to consider at this time.
5 TUNE ME OUT His last mile was better, but he is going to be a lot better to make this transition. Looks like another longshot in here.
6 SIR ZIGGY’S Z TAM I don’t think he does his best work on the lead so I figure he is going to change his tactics here. Looms a contender.
7 AVENUE HANOVER On the driver change/class drop combination, this horse will be a very popular play. Can see him right down the road.
8 STALLONE BLUE CHIP That was an even try on the move up the class ladder. Obviously, he will need to be better this time around.
9 MIGHTY YOUNG JOE It seems that whenever you count this horse out, he jumps up and beats you. Coming off a confidence builder.
10 THANKS FOR STOPPIN Recent form is pretty good. Post obviously won’t help if he doesn’t show any speed. Must be aggressive.