• Week Of 2/2 - 2/8
  • SU2
  • MO3
  • TU4
  • WE5
  • TH06
  • 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 Saturday, February 08, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 3-4-9-8
H Horse Comment
1 CRUISING YANKEE Recent form leaves a lot to be desired. Drops in class. This Marohn/Gill combination does very well at Monticello.
2 CLUBBER LANG Does show a win at this level, but has tailed off considerably since. His last race troubles me as that field was soft.
3 NEXT FLIGHT I think a B-2 at Freehold is the equivalent of a C-2 here, so this is a slight move down in class. Gets Callahan now. Can win.
4 MARINER SEELSTER Was competitive at the $20,000 level which would make him a prime contender here. Miller’s choice of three.
5 TOUGH LOVE The effort at the B-1 level at Freehold would make him competitive here, but his other form is subpar. Need to see one.
6 CCS LOVER N Was not able to win at the $10,000 level at The Meadows. That doesn’t bode well for this challenge. Longshot.
7 PREDATOR DVM Usually finished with interest, but he wasn’t Miller’s choice and this is a move up from a $12.5k claimer. Not sold.
8 ALLSTAR BLUES Those B-1 fields are probably a touch better than this group top to bottom. Andy landed here over 2 others. Player.
9 FRISKIES CHEAPSUIT Just had no shot last time at Freehold, so throw that race out. Obviously his effort on the 22nd makes him a player.
10 VLOS I think this draw is a killer for him. Never known for his speed I believe he is really compromised from here. Not sold on chances.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 4-1-2-3
H Horse Comment
1 DAMON BLUE CHIP Goes from being a great value play to a likely favorite here. Obviously has found a home at this level. Top contender.
2 STORMIN RUSTLER Really hasn’t done much wrong lately. Consistent check earner who wins as well. You can do worse than him here.
3 EXPLODENT I still think this was a good claim for $20k. He will get better and I like that he gets Callahan for the first time. Some upside.
4 AVOGADRO HANOVER He looks like a really nice claim for $15k. Gets Tetrick now and he might be sitting on a very big effort. I like him.
5 ANDY BARAN This barn has been rock solid and this is their first start with this gelding. Might need one race off the 6 week layoff.
6 DIABLO SEELSTER He had been pretty good, but I don’t like squandered pocket trips at Yonkers. I think you can find better value.
7 WINDSONG GORGEOUS Skipped the $15,000 level for this. It is an ambitious spot. While he is too sharp to ignore, this might be too much.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-7-2
H Horse Comment
1 SUBLIMINAL HANOVER He has been good the past 5 starts. Pace and trip compromised in 3 of those. If he stays closer, he contends.
2 VICTORYDAZE WILWIN He can win this by a pole, but the class drop concerns me. Dominated $20k claimers just 2 back. Mixed signals.
3 STAR CHASER He is coming off a race that saw him walk home. His prior effort was a win out of a perfect pocket trip. Value elsewhere.
4 FOOLISH GRIN Don’t know what to make of this 11YO. Shows some races at Freehold that can win this, but his form is rather sporadic.
5 ASTREOS FLASH Borke abandons the $20k level and I anticipate a response on the class drop. Still, hasn’t won in 2 years. Tough call.
6 MC RUSTY He is my top selection. His three week stretch here earlier in the winter was very good. That 12/28 effort wins this. Key horse.
7 MAJOR WAY What do we do here? Was that win an aberration or can he bounce back with the class drop? Value should be there again.
8 HACIENDA Shows a decent race at the $20k level, but just isn’t consistent enough for me to call him a contender. Bottom of exotics only.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-4-10
H Horse Comment
1 CALL ME BUD He will race here as he was scratched out of that Freehold race. The move to Callahan will peak some interest. Maybe.
2 NY ICE Just 1 for 32 the last 2 years and his efforts at this level just don’t stack up in this spot. Retains his longshot status.
3 ANDWIN HANOVER Added Lasix last time and raced better. Tetrick in the bike will draw some attention. Rates a look in a tough field.
4 PARADISE WILLIE I was really surprised Bongiorno chose off here, considering the barn. Gingras’ presence might make him an underlay.
5 BIG RED His effort on the 16th wasn’t bad, but what has happened to him the last 2 starts? I’ll be honest, I have no clue what to expect.
6 LETTHEROCKBEGIN Zeron choosing off for Big Red probably tells us a lot. But, he has a history here and he honestly wouldn’t shock me.
7 DOMITIAN HANOVER Has not cracked the win column in a long time and none of his recent efforts inspire much confidence.
8 C’EST LA VIE Has the look of a horse that can beat a field like this. Just 20 lifetime starts and a recent barn change gives him upside.
9 EX DREAM See how Dinner at the Met did on Thursday. He was thrown to the wolves last time. Still would surprise me. Looking elsewhere.
10 ARTS IDEAL HANOVER Bongiorno’s choice of three despite the wide draw. His lack of speed is a concern for me. Using on some tickets.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 5-9-2-3
H Horse Comment
1 NICK FOTIU The C-1 level at Freehold would be softer than a C-2 here, so this is a serious move up in class. Looks in too tough.
2 HUMILITY Never got involved from the wide post last time. He doesn’t win often enough, but can easily round out a trifecta or superfecta.
3 IMA GIGGITY FOOL I put him and Humility in the same boat. He will be competitive at this level, but doesn’t seem to do enough to win.
4 JLDON’TWASTEMYTIME Brutal trip last time, but his prior efforts were good. If he escapes at a price, I would identify him as a value play.
5 UF ROCKIN DRAGON Miller gives him a vote of confidence by choosing him over ‘Giggity. Moves up the ladder, but looks like a contender.
6 SMOKEALITTLESMOKE He was OK in his first start back and is likely to improve. I will use him in some exotics underneath at a price.
7 AXIOM HANOVER I wasn’t a fan of his win. Roughly gaited horse at times and I will be looking elsewhere for the winner in here.
8 BETTOR THAN YOU Faced some good horses at Yonkers, but without much of an impact. A better effort wouldn’t shock me. Minor award.
9 RIVER RUN FOR RYAN Gets the very tepid call as the favorite in a wide open race strictly off that last mile. Tetrick will be aggressive here.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 7-8-2-1
H Horse Comment
1 ALEXIE MATTOSIE This is the toughest field he has faced this year. Seems pretty sharp but this field is very salty. Fringe player this time.
2 ROAD UNTRAVELED Raced well last time against a good group. Callahan likes this horse, but it will take a monster effort to win this.
3 SHORTSTACKED Nice win last time, but he has always been just a touch below this level. Not sold he can jump up and win this now.
4 EMERITUS MAXIMUS Sales topper from the Jan. sale for the Cancelliere’s. Is he up to beating this level? Taking a wait and see approach.
5 EASY AGAIN I really liked this horse when he was younger. Connections will attract attention. He will need a big effort, but it can happen.
6 P H SUPERCAM If you aren’t a monster, you aren’t winning the Open at Yonkers from an outside draw. May be deceptively sharp.
7 DOVUTO HANOVER Looked rough in that last mile here. He was better last time and I expect a return to his better form in this spot.
8 HYPNOTIC BLUECHIP Despite his win on the 11th, I really don’t think he wants to cut the mile. Still, he is the horse to beat once again.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 5-6-2-3
H Horse Comment
1 ITS OUTTA HERE I think he is a cut below this level, but it won’t take much of an improvement for him to contend. Watching closely.
2 THAT’S JUSTICE Rallied well last time. Catches a wide open group and he might just go overlooked. I would include in your pick 4 tickets.
3 THUNDER SEELSTER Aggressively handled last time but came up short late. I think he does his best work off a helmet. Logical player.
4 FITZ’S Z TAM Concerned for how he finished his miles in the last pair of starts. I would tread lightly this time around. Other value here.
5 DON’T FOOL WITH ME Speaking of value, this horse finally gets a post and I love the move to the bigger track. Do not dismiss him now!
6 PEMBROKE DEWEY Catches a field he can handle here. His speed could be the deciding factor here. A key horse and a must include.
7 DUE WEST HANOVER Gingras is going to drive for Burke, so that doesn’t factor. He is sharp and is a logical contender on the move up.
8 DANIEL SEMALU Not bad in that last start. This is a better field than a $15k claimer, so he is going to have to improve, but he can win.
9 FAST BILL Making the same move up as Due West Hanover, but I don’t think he beat the same kind of field. This looks too tough to me.
10 ATLAS ALLIANCE N Those are two very nice rallies at Freehold. Far from an easy spot, but he does have a longer stretch to work with.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 5-6-2-9
H Horse Comment
1 LAST SHOT LEETON Upset a softer group at 25-1 when last seen here, but that effort at Dover is a concern. He would be a surprise.
2 SEEK THE DRAGON Moves back to the B-2 level in better form. That mile from November 30th can make him a factor here. Cannot ignore.
3 ARSENAL I have to think he is going to need a start. That said, he is a very nice horse and I will be watching him very closely in here.
4 UP UP AND OUT Caught a buzz-saw last time, but raced well on the move up. Would like him to get a driver that sticks. Using in exotics.
5 MORGAN SHARK He didn’t race badly at the B-1 level and his last mile was good. To me, he is a standout and I will single in the Pick 4.
6 FREDDY DAY HANOVER Just left with too much to do last time. He is moving up the ladder without beating the level below. Interesting.
7 MIGHTY YOUNG JOE He is in pretty good form right now. I think the C-1 is the ideal spot for him, but he is worth using in some gimmicks.
8 MOJO TERROR Coming off a lame scratch which is always a concern. Still, this is Callahan’s choice of three and I wouldn’t ignore this barn.
9 WILLY MUCHA Exits the same tough race as Up Up And Out. Bongiorno will need to use speed, but this horse may go overlooked in here.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 4-8-7-9
H Horse Comment
1 MEGA LIGHTNING Obviously appreciated the class drop and improved post last time. Same spot, but this is an insanely good C-1.
2 GRAB YOUR KEYS First of four dropping from the nw18000 at Yonkers. Classy gelding doesn’t win often lately but he fits in this field.
3 SPENDER HANOVER While he is facing softer than he saw when last here, like I said, this C-1 will play more like a B-2. Needs best.
4 SHOOBEE’S PLACE No idea what happened last time, but this horse has a class edge on many. Bought for $71k at the sale. I like him.
5 INSANE IN SPAIN Last two starts have not been as good as his December form. He is going to need to improve off that to contend here.
6 PANESTHETIC Disappointed last time. That said, he should be at home at this level. I expect him to be better this time around. Player.
7 STALLONE BLUE CHIP Remains very sharp and has been offering great value. Those prices have to be gone now. Sharpest horse here.
8 ABBEYLARA He was facing tougher company when last seen here. I wouldn’t blame anyone for expecting him to step his game up now.
9 I FOUGHT DALAW One of those horses that you always remember how good he can be. Just tough to predict at this point. Tricky call.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-5-10
H Horse Comment
1 FLIPPER J Was passed by the entire field in that qualifier. Off that alone, I would have a very hard time recommending him in here.
2 LOCKLOADNEXPLODE Fits at this level as he is a cut below the $15k claiming ranks. Still, he will need to improve off his last race here.
3 FOUR STARZ TRACE The nw12000 at Yonkers is better than this and he was very good in that spot. Off his last 2, he should be tough.
4 BLUE FIN I think his lone win at Freehold doesn’t stack up against the rest of this field. Would need to be even better this time around.
5 EAGLE JOLT He is also exiting the nw12000 at Yonkers, so on the move down, he is an automatic contender. Perfect post as well.
6 SPINARAMA Good effort on the class drop last time and now comes right back at this same level. Good post. Figures to be a player.
7 CC RACY Also dropping in class, but he has finished last in 3 of his last 4 starts. That is troublesome to me so I will look elsewhere.
8 PRINCE SHARKA His efforts at the C-1 level here tell me that he should do quite well on this drop in class. I would strongly advise using.
9 SIX GUN He was an odds-on favorite at this level 2 starts back. That said, this looks like a much tougher C-2. Will need more to win this.
10 ROCKNROLL JEWEL Could be the wild card in here. Drops in class and gets Callahan. Interesting angles in a wide open betting affair.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-3-5
H Horse Comment
1 BETTORS GLASS Obviously he tailed off. But remember, he was within ¾ of a length of Hypnotic Blue Chip not long ago. Can’t ignore.
2 COBALT MAN Racing very well and handled the move up in class as well last time. Certainly can’t be left off the tickets as well. Player.
3 DIAL OR NODIAL Looms the favorite in a very competitive field. Still hasn’t broken through since he came back. Skeptical at a short price.
4 CAM B ZIPPER It would appear he has gotten to a level that is a bit too tough. This field has a lot of class to it. Up against it in here.
5 BLATANTLY BEST Caught a buzz-saw last time who raced in the FFA earlier. Could be cycling forward. Interesting value play this time.
6 ABELARD HANOVER Sneakily, he has been better. I am expecting him to break through tonight and show his class. Top selection now.
7 P L FIGHTER Big effort off the layoff at 13-1. Now moves up into a tougher spot. I don’t see him offering the value I would be looking for.
8 BLATANTLY GOOD Bongiorno gets his shot to drive this millionaire who has loads of back class. Now 10YO thought and not as sharp.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 5-1-6-7
H Horse Comment
1 MINDSET Much better last time. This horse is very unpredictable. Now moves to the Burke barn out of the sale where he brought $87k.
2 TELL US MORE Has been doing good work to pick up checks at this level. Still, not sure I can expect him to jump up and win this now.
3 MAGIC TRICKS Has been off almost a month which is going to make things tough in this very select field. Nothing short of best does it.
4 SKY IS THE LIMIT He was not a factor when he raced at this level in January. Will need to step up his game to be competitive here.
5 BERKSHIRE BEAR No shame in being beaten by a $210,000 sales purchase and last time. Off that last race, he figures to be good here.
6 BURKENTINE HANOVER Another horse that rarely doesn’t race well. He is versatile and has to be considered a contender once again.
7 MUSCLE BEACHBOY The Open at Yonkers was just too much. This is the right spot for him. One of the key contenders in a good field.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-10-1-3
H Horse Comment
1 FEARLESS CHIP He is a wild card in here. Indiana invader shows a nice qualifier and moves to a new barn. I would toss him in some plays.
2 PARAPROSDOKIAN Just doesn’t show the kind of form at this level that would warrant consideration at this time. Longshot.
3 STIMULUS PLAN Wasn’t bad last time and on the move down in class he could be better. I expect him to earn a minor award in here.
4 NOBLE LOGANS LOU Yet to hit the board in his 11 race career and he is exiting similar races. That is not a good angle for this.
5 CAPITAL ACCOUNT On paper, he is 10 lengths the best and quite frankly, I would be shocked if he lost this race. Short price, best horse.
6 GHOST HOUSE Tough trip last time, but I don’t think with a better trip he was ever a threat to Capital Account. Underneath only.
7 ANOTHER DIAMOND Seems to have tailed off. Maybe if Miller blasts and can stay with the chalk early, he can earn a share. Maybe.
8 BIG TURN Just 1 for 15 in his career and that win came against maidens at Maywood. He will need to step things up considerably here.
9 TELL STIENAM If he can stay closer than last time, I imagine he can pass a few of this and find himself onto the ticket. Underneath.
10 SER JOHN Has won here before, so compared to this field, I will put him in the number 2 spot. Still, don’t think he is a threat to the chalk.