• Week Of 5/19 - 5/25
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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 Friday, May 24, 2013

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 10-8-2-5
H Horse Comment
1 MASSMANIAN DEVIL Winless streak stands at 12 to start her career. Has been off 3 weeks and Miller opted elsewhere. Leaning against.
2 DOC BOYCE Exits a try at the NJSS level without much success. Still, she was OK in a condition event prior to that. Fits in this field now.
3 PERFECT ALLIANCE That was not a bad qualifier and the filly that beat her as ability. Bencal won with a filly like this last week at 13-1.
4 TO THE GOOD LIFE Despite her win in that Qualifier, I thought she looked a bit rough on the turns. I will tread lightly at a short price.
5 VARIETY GIRL She is improving with each and every start. Granted, this field is tougher than what she has faced, I expect better again.
6 AMOR DEO She is 0 for 8, but made some money on the NYSS circuit last year. That said, Tetrick opted elsewhere. Watching this one.
7 SHE’S NUTZ Andy caught me off guard choosing off this filly. It’s Toscano and her qualifier wasn’t too shabby. I guess I will wait a start.
8 SUZELLE HANOVER This filly is the most likely winner of the race, and her odds will reflect that. Driver change will attract attention, too.
9 LOUISE KEMP That was an even try last time, but was obvious improvement from her previous start. Might add value to the exotics.
10 RARING TO GO S I LOVED how she was finishing in that qualifier. Barn cannot miss right now and I will play despite the wide post.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 5-1-3-2
H Horse Comment
1 CORKY On paper, this is the first of two that can win this race. Surprised he has been beaten in his first pair. Note, Miller is back on board.
2 KING MUSCLES Did all he could to finish 5th last time. Catches a shorter field and is likely to battle it out for a place on the board here.
3 TIMO DEO Should be third-choice in the wagering as he finished well last time. Move to Callahan might draw some “wise-guy” attention.
4 AMALFI COAST Never made the gate last time and was still 33-1 in that spot. Hard to envision an upset here. Retains longshot status.
5 SMILIN ELI Hard to not be impressed with a 26.4 final quarter from a 3YO trotter making his first start. Colt clearly has a world of ability.
6 SUPER CLASSIC Has now made mistakes in 2 of 3 starts this year and that is a concern. Coming from last won’t work in this field.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 3-2-5-1
H Horse Comment
1 MISS STEELE Was never in the race last time from post 10. Clearly, this is a different ballgame. Expecting a much better effort this time.
1A VINTAGE OAKS Flashed good late-trot in her first start back. That effort surprised me, yet Callahan goes elsewhere. Still, use the entry.
2 TIME TO KILL Never saw the pylons last time and that mile is better than it looks on paper. Should be in line for a smoother journey. Use.
3 SILVER CREDIT Yes, she had a nightmare trip and likely will be over-bet because of it. I think 9/2 or 5/1 is fair value, if you can get it.
4 WORLD TOUR Never got into the race last time and I am guessing this filly is better than that. Still, looks like a longshot in this spot.
5 SOUTHWIND COCOA This filly might be one of the more talented 3YO fillies out there. She just needs to put the mental game together!
6 LADY DYNAMITE That last start did not inspire me much. She had an opportunity to roll off decent cover but did not make up much ground.
7 VIDA DE VIE Showed speed, but quickly faltered. She already has 5 starts under her belt this year, so I’m not betting on improvement.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 6-9-10-4
H Horse Comment
1 JUS ONE KISS Now 0 for 13 and although her recent starts have been better, she didn’t factor against nw1 when last seen here.
2 REAL COMFORT Yes, she is dropping out of PASS, but her effort 2 back was against similar and she didn’t make an impact 60-1.
3 MIASMA HANOVER I liked this filly’s first start and made note that I thought it was something she could build on. I will be using at a price.
4 SWEET LADY JANE Finished 2nd behind a nice filly in that PASS division. Now drops into a condition event. She should be a handful.
5 A AND G’S DESIGN I was surprised to see Callahan ops here over a filly she has won here with. Not sure that to make of it.
6 LIZ’S LIL K K I think this mare is sitting on a big race. She has been facing better and is steadily improving once again. My top choice.
7 CRAZY EIGHTS Sharp wins in her 2 starts prior to her most recent try against better. Gets a new pilot tonight. Mixed feelings here.
8 SPARK OUT Neither qualifier at Harrington does much to spark confidence in this spot. Coming off a long layoff, too. Passing this time.
9 LIGHT OF DAY She is exiting a pretty good mile against older fillies and mares. This spot should be even better for her. Looms the chalk.
10 WHERETHEGIRLSARE Interfered with last time and still rallied well to be 3rd. I like how this filly is improving. Looms a logical contender.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 7-2-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 MERGATROID On paper, this field is softer, but those lines at Plainridge are still tough to compare to here. I need to see improvement.
2 HE’S GOT MUSCLE Not only did he win his QUA, but the horse that beat him on 5/11 won a NJSS division last week. Very tough player.
3 VAYA CON DIOS Out-raced his odds while only getting beat a couple of lengths in the Simpson. This should be much more to his liking.
4 JOEYSCASH Making his second race back off the layoff, and he needs to improve off that first start. Remains a longshot, for now.
5 HERE’S JOHNNY Cajole Hanover looks like a nice trotter, so that last effort was pretty solid. Repeat of that makes him very tough in here.
6 THE FRANCHISE Stopped last week and gets a new driver in the process. Questioning if he is fast enough to go with these right now.
7 TORNADO Got a start under his belt and now receives some class relief. This colt has been in 1:55.4 and has talent. Logical contender.
8 THE FRESH PRINCE Well-beaten by a repeat winner last time. I didn’t see enough improvement to merit consideration in this group.
9 CORLEONE HALL Now 0 for 10 and coming off a break. Doesn’t have much early speed and likely will be left with too much to do.
10 GRONKOWSKI Another that the draw will affect, as he doesn’t have any early zip either. Needs to step it up considerably. Longshot.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-10-7
H Horse Comment
1 PEGASUS BLUE CHIP Was finishing with some interest last time and if Burke can keep him flat, he might go overlooked in this group.
2 ORANGE BIGI Did not make much of an impact against a similar group last time. The move inside will keep her closer. Watching again.
3 FASHION BLIZZARD Winner came back to be a good 2nd in NJSS company. Looms a logical favorite, but this is not an easy race.
4 SPECTATOR K Made a break last time, but I am still not convinced this B-2 handicap is the best spot for him. Faces a tough group here.
5 CAMERON CHIP The trend seems to be that she only gets better with Miller in the bike, so believers should get a price. I’m not using here.
6 IDOL KEMP I suppose his last race was a bit better, but I am just not seeing enough to merit consideration in this spot. Playing against.
7 SUPERSTAR HANOVER She took a TON of play last time and was only even. Faces similar group and has a right to improve. A player.
8 WALLTOCOUSINS Put forth a great effort and got beat by a horse that when he trots, is very good. Problem is, he is facing him again!
9 B L CLASS ACT Exiting the fastest mile in the field, but I see a considerable difference between this field and that C-2. Against the repeat.
10 ANOTHER AMARETTO Two ways to look at this. Either last week was your chance to get him at 5-1 or he will go on a bit of a streak.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 2-1-6-8
H Horse Comment
1 MAJOR LOOK She is knocking at the door and she seems to be much happier at The Meadowlands. A logical contender in a tough race.
2 MARTY PARTY I can make an argument for this mare here. Parked to the ¼ last time. Still came home in 27.3. Moves inside. I like her.
3 JK FINE ART Really conflicted with her. She might have needed that last start. This race is wide open, someone has to be a price.
4 LADY’S ART Beaten favorite from last week loses Miller, so we know she won’t be 2/1 in here. I guess she will offer a price as well.
5 JET WASH It appears that she has tailed off and Pierce has opted to go elsewhere as well. I will be playing against in this group.
6 ABROKENART HANOVER She had to go a tough first over and I think we will see speed here. Note the driver change. Logical contender.
7 DREAM’S BAR She keeps going off absurd prices and keeps winning. That said, this race is much tougher. Feel the win streak ends now.
8 LOVE YOU ALWAYS Upset winner from one week ago might still offer some value. Callahan knows how to put his horses in good spots.
9 BULLET POINT Those are back to back sharp efforts at longs odds. Miller goes elsewhere, so the price might be inviting. Can’t dismiss.
10 RAMALAMA She was 3/5 in a start she had to need last time at Philly. Miller chooses off and she has speed. Another piece to the puzzle.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 3-1-4-10
H Horse Comment
1 SPECIAL COMMAND Trotter has been facing better recently and his effort two starts back would stack up well against these. Interesting.
2 PAPER BACKED LINDY Loses Tetrick and is coming off a break. That’s is not a winning combination for me. I will pass on this longshot.
3 SCHALOM G See how B L Class Act did against better earlier in the card. That was a sharp effort. Moves inside. Logical favorite here.
4 SOUTHWIND CORNELL We have seen trotters like this come out swinging in their first start for Miller. Watch the tote board for clues.
5 BUZZ BOMB Coming off a break and a sick scratch. Hasn’t had a real race since 4/22. I think he needs a start at this point. Tab for later.
6 BIG SKY ANGELINA Just did not factor in that C-Note Final. Gets a better draw and might earn a share with the right kind of trip.
7 MARCUS BI Gets his 6th different driver in as many starts and I think he needs the right field to give his best. This is a tougher spot for him.
8 T JS MR LAVEC Dropped down to the bottom level at Tioga and finished an OK 2nd. This is a much tougher spot, so I will pass for now.
9 PERMANENT JOY Tetrick opted off and he typically has done his best work when that pilot takes the call. I will not be using this time.
10 DOUBLE UP HANOVER Decent race last time. He might have too far to catch Schalom G, but I would use him underneath in exotics.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 7-6-9-4
H Horse Comment
1 SHAKER REI Steps into a tougher spot and with Campbell not around tonight, Gazzerro will handle himself. Looks up against it here.
2 CHEYENNE PATTI Not sure what to make of her in this spot. Her best is certainly good enough, just hard to predict which mare shows up.
3 DE VINS GIRL She is coming out a better race behind a repeat winner. Moves inside and she was actually finishing OK last time. Maybe.
4 NUTMEGS YANKEE She was favored against a similar group when last seen here and is coming out of a quick mile at Tioga. Possible.
5 BRITE JET Coming off a sick scratch and an even try against better. She has raced well at this level before but she may need a start.
6 LIGHTNING PAIGE Hard to dismiss her. She gets Tetrick this time and is coming off a sharp winner. Tougher field, but still a contender.
7 QUEEN OF ROYALTY That was a good mile last time. Note that she had been facing better and this driver change will attract support.
8 MISS SAND CREEK Did not contend in a pretty good Open at Tioga. She had faced better than this here before. Might escape at a price.
9 SOMSTREETSOMEWHERE Ran into the talented Nikki Beach last time. Of course she can win this, but is facing older. Might be over-bet.
10 CAROLSIDEAL Coming off a four month layoff and although her qualifier was decent, I have to think she needs a start first. Tab for later.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 3-9-5-2
H Horse Comment
1 BALTIMOR AS Stepping into a tough spot off a series of good tries. Saratoga is a quick ½ mile track, so he will need to step it up.
2 O DANA O Mare has won here before when finding the right spot. This C-2 is tougher than the one she defeated earlier. Fringe player.
3 AEQUITAS Looms a pretty short priced favorite off that last mile from post 10. Moves inside, gets Tetrick. Plenty of things to like here.
4 CULTURED PEARL Made a break last time, but her prior efforts were sharp. Still how does an $8k claimer stack up here? Tough task.
5 FOUNTAINBLEAU VOLO Yes, he is 0 for 13, but this looks like the perfect spot for him to do some damage. I will be using quite a bit.
6 BIG SKY THUNDER Hard for me to endorse a 10YO that is 0 for his last 40 and is coming off a series of defeats at the bottom level at Fhld.
7 RINGSIDE WINNER Earned a victory last time, but there is a big difference between the bottom level at Fhld and here. Needs much more.
8 REGION HALL Has been facing a bit better than the last two at Freehold, but his form is also going in the wrong direction. Tab for later.
9 MISS CONNOR Good 2nd last time out in a pretty good mile. Looks like the logical threat to Aequitas despite the wide draw. Short price.
10 ROME Coming off a sick scratch and a 4 week layoff. Drew post 10 as well. I have to believe that this gelding will need a start.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 4-6-7-5
H Horse Comment
1 LEXIS AMIGO Faces a tougher group this time around. Winner of last came back to win at Mohawk against Open Mares on Monday.
2 FROM ABOVE Got back to his winning ways last time, but like Lexis, faces a tougher task in here. Needs his best and loses Callahan.
3 SWAN IN A MILLION 5YO has been lightly raced throughout his career. He has talent and qualified well behind The Hambo winner.
4 HARBOR POINT Just never got into the race in The Maturity and appeared loaded in the stretch. Short field will make him quite dangerous.
5 TALL COTTON He is dropping out of the Cutler Elimination for this, but Miller opts to the other Burke trainee. Tricky read at this point.
6 QUICK DEAL Exits the same race as ‘Lexis but was much closer. Expect him to go right to the lead. Will be a handful, but price is short.
7 HOT SHOT BLUE CHIP On talent, he is the best in this field. But it is his first start in 6 months and I always ask, will he trot? Tough call.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 9-7-5-6
H Horse Comment
1 PROCLAIMING APRIL Good qualifier last time. She was moving well to the wire with the likely favorite in here. Might offer some value.
2 RINGSIDE NGUYEN Has picked up a couple of checks at Freehold, but clearly this is a much tougher assignment. A longshot here.
3 PEAKS AND VALLEYS That wasn’t a bad first start back. Gets some post improvement and can be used on the bottom of exotics.
4 SIMONE HALL Got parked out last time and it just didn’t work. Loses Lachance but the price will be better. Must come home faster.
5 FICO Always a good sign when a horse wins its first start of the year. Connections have high hopes for this horse. Do not sell too short.
6 MODEST PRINCE Pulled off a shocking upset over what many believe to be a legitimate Hambo horse. Hard to argue with that in here.
7 HANDOVER BELLE This filly looked like she was going by To Dream On at Lexington when she broke. There is a ton of ability here.
8 GOTTHEMUSICINYOU Picked up a check last time off a 5 week freshening. That was just a 1:58 mile. This is going to be much tougher.
9 LAUDERDALE Defeated the Peter Haughton winner in that QUA and was given a week off after that. Remember, this barn is on fire!
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 7-9-5-4
H Horse Comment
1 BUBBY JO She has gone in the wrong direction since the Night Style and despite being Miller’s choice, I have a hard time recommending.
2 RACHEL CUHENO This race is closer to those $15k claimers at Freehold than that last field she faced. So, she is going to need more.
3 RAIDERS FAVORITE Seems to do her best when in against the bottom level at Freehold. That isn’t the case here so I am siding against.
4 ELEGANT DESIRE Last pair of starts have not been bad and she should be able to work out a trip from here. An exotics candidate.
5 SUPERSTAR DREAM She certainly brings speed to this even and her recent efforts are good. Hard to dismiss her in this field. Player.
6 GRAY OLIVES She has won here before and picks up the services of Ron Pierce. She is stepping up quite a bit, but she’s in the mix.
7 CHARLOTTES MAGGIE Catches an ideal field and is coming out of a much tougher spot. Tetrick puts her on the lead and doesn’t stop!
8 FULL EXPLOSION Earned a win against far lesser last time out and now steps up and will have to go much faster. Not for me this time.
9 CAROLSTERN She can go with these when she is on top of her game and perhaps this is a pot that she can wake up in. I am using.
10 NUTMEGS CIDER Not a bad effort last time and she seems to be heading in the right direction. In this field, I will toss her on my tickets.