• Week Of 12/8 - 12/14
  • SU8
  • MO9
  • TU10
  • WE11
  • TH12
  • FR13
  • SA14
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 14, 2013

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 1-3-5-10
H Horse Comment
1 SPINARAMA Moved to a new barn and seeing that improvement in his 2nd qualifier is an encouraging sign. Catches a field he can defeat.
2 LETTHEROCKBEGIN Has not shown much punch since coming back off the freshening, although his last start was better. Watch another.
3 STORMIN RUSTLER Steps up off a win and finds a good spot. Gets a new pilot tonight in Tetrick and draws better. Prominent early, often.
4 BITTERSWEET CHAMP Neither of his last couple of starts have been very good and you have to wonder if he has tailed off. Needs better.
5 I DO HANOVER That was a solid runner-up try last week and his arrow seems to be pointing up for this. One of several win candidates.
6 ALEX BULLVILLE When at his best, he would be extremely tough in this field. But off the layoff and sick scratch, he must need a start.
7 YES YOUR MATTJESTY Never was able to get involved from the far outside last week. Needs to stay closer early in the mile.
8 STALLONE BLUE CHIP The step-up proved to be a bit too tough last time. He can improve, but will need to in order to contend tonight.
9 TUNE ME OUT Ships in from Rosecroft which hasn’t been too successful of a move so far this year. Needs to step up his game.
10 TREND SPOTTER He fits with this field, but his lack of speed will be problematic. Takes back and makes one late move. Minor award.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 7-5-6-4
H Horse Comment
1 DOVUTO HANOVER Getting a real test for class off his most recent win. Not the biggest horse out there, but he can roll. Tough task here.
2 TRACK MASTER D Just couldn’t get within shouting distance against a similar group last time. Inside draw can keep him closer.
3 ROCKIN WIZARD Winner of last qualifier is a contender in The Cleveland Classic tonight. Moves to Morgan and appears ready to go.
4 MAGIC TRICKS He out-raced his odds last week finishing a strong 3rd behind 2 horses that would be favored here. Might go overlooked.
5 BIG GAME HUNTER Hoosier form still appears slightly suspect early in the meet. But, Miller barn can have one ready off the layoff.
6 VALIDUS DEO Raced well last week with the addition of Lasix and seems to be moving forward. Price is gone, but he is a contender.
7 EDDIE SWEAT As I said last week, this is a very fast and talented colt with a bright future. Off that win, he is the one they have to beat.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 6-2-5-7
H Horse Comment
1 URGENTLY Last couple of starts have been better, but they were from the rail on a half-mile track. Will need even more this time.
2 YA GOTTA GO That last field was a bit better than this. The runner-up raced in a C-1 last week. Miller has a recent win with him. Logical.
3 SHAKERATTLENROCK Seems to have tailed off in his last couple of starts. Record now stands and 0 for 17 on the year. Must step it up.
4 ELUSIVE REWARD Well-beaten at this level last time and he will need to turn things around quickly to contend in this spot. Longshot.
5 YOU BET YOUR GLASS Steps up off a win and ships in from Saratoga. Has performed well on the bigger tracks in his career. Has a shot.
6 LONG FIGHT HANOVER Di Nozzi blew up the tote board with this gelding earlier this year going right down the road. Do it again Bob!
7 ITTAKESTWOBABY Dropping out of some $20k claimers for this and despite his recent form being poor, he fits here. Longshot in exotics.
8 OHMYGOSH HANOVER Given his mark this year and the fact that he may have had pace last week, he’ll take play. No short price for me.
9 LLC DELIGHT Last race is a toss out. Efforts that the $15k claiming level aren’t bad. Has a shot to hit the ticket in a field that appears light.
10 SENOR GRANDE Never a good sign when a horse sits the pocket and offers no pace. Clearly, he will need to be much better here.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 6-2-3-8
H Horse Comment
1 CAPTAIN KUBOTA That last mile was a little sneaky and those efforts at The Meadows aren’t bad either. Might be overlooked in here.
2 NITRO’S WIGGLE Seems to pack some early punch and he can finish too. Callahan’s choice appears destined for the lead. One to catch.
3 JUST GOT PAID There is no nw2 at Philly, so this really isn’t a class drop. That said, that last mile is good enough in here. Logical player.
4 WHEELAWAY Good form at Scarborough and he raced well at Saratoga as well. Gelding has some punch and might be useful in exotics.
5 RECHARGE Really question the strength of that field at Yonkers. A 1:00 half and this gelding was able to mow them all down. Watching.
6 BERKSHIRE BEAR That was a good effort last week as he was closing willingly. However, Callahan does choose off. Still, a contender.
7 HOTUNDERTHECOLLAR Well-beaten against this class last time at 86-1. He will need to step up his game quite a bit tonight. Longshot.
8 PIERCE Takter thought enough of him to put him in The Breeders Crown Elim. Note, he was only 7-1 there, too. Good-looking qualifier.
9 ART HISTORY I would call that an even first start and he certainly has a right to improve. Might be good enough for a minor award here.
10 SHADOW MARGEAUX He was OK last time, but he doesn’t have much early speed, so he will have to pass many of these. Tricky call.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 3-4-6-9
H Horse Comment
1 PUT IT IN GEAR Recent form just has not been up to par and he would need to get back to his best form to contend in this field.
2 CRUIJFF Ships down from Canada off 2 dull tries. Moves to the Remmen barn and he would need to race back to prior form to compete.
3 APPLE A DAY His efforts against similar company at Philly would fit well in this spot. Last race was a brutal trip. He is a contender here.
4 K-LEES SHAKENBAKE Recent form has really come together and despite not being Tetrick’s choice, he has a legitimate chance.
5 ITSAHARDROCKLIFE Chased after American Paparazzi last time and couldn’t quite get to that foe. Thus, he would need to step it up.
6 BURKENTINE HANOVER I am skeptical of any beaten favorite in back to back starts, but he is still very tough in here. Short price looms.
7 NICK FOTIU He was 102-1 last time, but Dovuto Hanover would be 2-5 in this field. Still faces a tough group in here. Will need to be better.
8 EX DREAM Beaten a long way in that qualifier and off his recent form, he would be a very tough play at this point. A longshot.
9 AMERICAN PAPARAZZI Steps up off a win and his recent for is solid. Good to see him break through with that win. Contender right back.
10 AXIOM HANOVER Just don’t think he has the gate speed to overcome this draw. Likely going to be left with too much to do again.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 8-2-1-7
H Horse Comment
1 AROCKIN HANOVER Kicks off a ridiculously competitive field. Out-raced his odds last week. Very sharp horse with plenty of ability.
2 TOWNSLIGHT HANOVER Was a part of that wild finish last week. Draws inside here and can stay closer. Likely to take plenty of support.
3 YO CHEYENNE ROCKY I guess he would surprise me a little bit here based on his last mile. Still, a nice horse that makes money.
4 GREAT VINTAGE Surprising favorite last time. First over trip didn’t work out and now he loses Callahan. Better price coming for believers.
5 DIAL OR NO DIAL Ice-cold on the board last week despite being Miller’s choice. With a start under his belt, he can be better. Contender.
6 BOLDER Blew up the tote board last week t 92-1. Despite that win, he is probably the longshot of this group on the move up in class.
7 FAT MANS ALLEY Emerged with the win last time at 11-1. That price is effectively gone, but he is sharp and can certainly win again.
8 MEIRS HANOVER Overlooked last week at 5-1. Raced well and has the speed to overcome the post. He is 1 of 6 that I think can win this.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-8-10-9
H Horse Comment
1 EXPLODENT Steps into a very tough spot off a nice win. Will definitely offer a better price tonight, but gets a much tougher task as well.
2 MISSISSIPPI HIPPY Was just even last time, although he did take a shot to three-quarters. His mile on 11/30 makes him a contender here.
3 COLOSSAL Big effort last time and while this is just a slight move up in theory, on paper this field is very tough. Will need even more now.
4 SPENDER HANOVER Making a similar move up the class ladder as Explodent. I do feel Explodent’s race was better. Must step it up.
5 MEGA LIGHTNING He seems to have found a level that has proved too much recently. The problem is, this isn’t exactly easier. Longshot.
6 ROLL ON That was a “better than it looked” mile last time and if Gingras can work out a trip, he can be a factor. Expect speed again.
7 CASHENDASH HANOVER Benefited from the trip 2-back, but last time it was the trip that did him in. Will need to sit off a helmet tonight.
8 VALENTINO Benefited from a perfect trip last time, but this horse has an abundance of talent and class. Probably is the one to beat tonight.
9 ERLE DALE N Nothing easy about that last race or the trip he had. Note, he was right there against similar 2 starts back. Do not ignore.
10 HYPNOTIC BLUE CHIP Good to see him put forth a nice rally in the stretch. Tetrick’s choice of four just needs to work out a trip tonight.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 9-1-5-6
H Horse Comment
1 SALVESTER STALLION Is moving down in class and has been racing well against better recently. Faces a couple other class droppers.
2 WILLY MUCHA Interesting shipper as he shows races at Hoosier than can win this. Needs to be better than his last two obviously.
3 BOLERO ANDREW Last try was a step back, so that is a bit of a concern. If he can re-find the form from 2 starts back, he can contend.
4 FREDDY DAY HANOVER Moves inside from post 10 and will be closer by default. Still, he will need to offer more in the stretch.
5 CAM B ZIPPER God try last week behind a very classy horse who would be odds-on in here. That leaves him with the role as the chalk.
6 SIR MELO’S Z TAM That trip just wasn’t going to work last week. Granted, that was an ugly line, but he can bounce back with a trip.
7 GREAT SOUL Continues to bounce around from barn to barn and his form has tailed off. Off a month as well. Likely needs a start.
8 BLUERIDGE WESTERN Making his second race back off the layoff and moves down the class ladder. Likely to improve this time around.
9 SEEK THE DRAGON Another class dropper and it is worth noting that he beat this field when favored opening night. Logical win candidate.
10 DAMON BLUE CHIP He was just even last time and now moves further outside without much speed. I think he has too much to overcome.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 1-3-9-7
H Horse Comment
1 MINDSET Drops out of stakes action for this and looks awfully tough on paper. He has some class to him and is one of 2 key contenders.
2 BLUEBIRD IDEAL His speed doesn’t seem to be taking him as far in his last pair which is concer. Still have a lot of respect for this barn.
3 DULL ROAR He is the other horse that I think can win this. His 3rd to Doctor Butch on opening night makes him tough. Logical contender.
4 MANCHESTER Coming odd a scratch on the ship down from Canada. See how the other Canadian invader moving to this barn did earlier.
5 ASHLEY’S HUSBAND Seems to have an affinity for the Saratoga track. He got way over bet on opening night where he broke. Tim opts off.
6 LATE NIGHT JOKE Exiting claimers for this spot and this barn has been well-meant early on. Can work out a trip from here. Maybe a share.
7 CC HEET SEEKER Just missed a head to a nice horse in Dovuto Hanover who faced a tougher field earlier. If he won, move this guy up!
8 TWIN B FAMOUS Coming off a runner-up effort, but the margin of defeat says anyone could have been 2nd there. Will need more here.
9 TALKING BLUES Late developing three year old for Burke enters this off a nice qualifier. Fits well in this class and will offer square value.
10 ANDREW LUCK Exiting many of the same races at ‘Late Night, with fairly similar form. The problem is the post. Callahan must blast!
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 9-4-6-7
H Horse Comment
1 SIX GUN Just has not been sharp in his last pair of starts. Moves inside and Bongiorno is likely to save ground and hope for a share.
2 ON THE RADAR I am willing to forgive that last mile, as he had no chance given the trip. This field isn’t as tough and he will be closer.
3 SIR ZIGGY’S Z TAM He was one of only a handful of horses that were able to pace home sub-28 last week. May go overlooked tonight.
4 ISLAND LEXUS Exits that tough Silent Swing race, so that will attract attention. Note, Callahan did not opt here, but this guy has a shot.
5 FRESH DREAM Really didn’t have much chance last out at Philly and his prior form was solid. Still, needs to revert back to that form.
6 PEMBROKE DEWEY That was a good effort last time and he continues to race well. Right back at the same level. Legitimate contender.
7 SONIC DANCER I like that he moved way forward last time, but he was 1-2 off just an even try, so I question the strength of that field.
8 CEE PEE PANIC He has been racing well against the $20k claiming level and that makes him a viable contender here. Not without chance.
9 PRINCE SHARKA Showed good speed on both ends of the mile and is coming out of a fast mile. Too sharp to ignore right now. Player.
10 HANGON COWBOY Mad an ill-timed break last time out. His prior two starts were good, but he is just 1 for 31 this year. Looking elsewhere.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 4-1-2-5
H Horse Comment
1 SILENT SWING Just went right after that field last time and could not be caught. Double-millionaire is a contender on the step up in class.
2 ROAD UNTRAVELED He is very sharp right now and is coming out of a good mile. Expect Callahan to be aggressive once again. Player.
3 ROCKNROLL JEWEL Just had no chance from post 10 last time, but he was passing horses late. Stays close early, hopes for a share late.
4 VERDAD Recent form has not been very good, but he has had some tough draws at Yonkers. Think he is in line for a better trip from here.
5 MORTAL ZIN Faced better last time and this is a class drop that should certainly move him forward. He is one of many win contenders.
6 PANESTHETIC That was a move in the right direction last time, but he was the beaten favorite. He needs to take another step forward.
7 AVENUE HANOVER Brutal trip last time and he was worth a look this week. But Callahan does choose off so I might wait a week now.
8 VILLAGE BEAT He was beaten at 1-2 from the rail while sitting the pocket with no pop in the stretch. That does not bode well here.
9 CURATOR Nice effort at Northfield last time, but this is a whole new ballgame. Gets a major test for class against this group. Watch one.
10 COBALT MAN Loomed up boldly at long odds last time, but offered just even pace in the stretch. Gets Miller tonight. Will need more also.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 1-2-8-3
H Horse Comment
1 REMISSIONOFSINS He was better last time on the class drop and this field is comparable. Can stay closer and earn at least a part of this.
2 MC RUSTY Exits the same race as his foe to the inside and was a little bit better, but not much. Between the two, look for the value.
3 JO WILLY Making his second start off the layoff while dropping in class a bit. He has a right to improve. Might use on bottom of tickets.
4 WHIRL MONROE Pierce got aggressive last week and this gelding had little left in the stretch. Drops down and can offer more with a trip.
5 DOUBLETROUBLE While he broke through with a win last week, it was against softer and the final quarter didn’t thrill me. Not for me.
6 BOBJACKS ANGLE A Got to the right level on the class drop last time. He was an overwhelming favorite in there. This field is tougher.
7 AIRBURST HANOVER He was 7-1 last week when he made a break. Now Gingras chooses off and the price is likely to be better.
8 NATIVE’S REVENGE That last field was just tougher than this. He was only 8-1 in there, too. Likely to take play, but I might look for value.
9 ANDWIN HANOVER Really comes with a mixed bag of efforts and the fact that his win was from the rail at Fhld at 7-5 concerns me.
10 ARMBRO BILLOW That qualifier wasn’t bad and this gelding has won here before. Gingras going here means he may be aggressive.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 2-7-8-6
H Horse Comment
1 SKY TANTRUM While he has a right to improve in his 2nd start back, I think a win appears to be a reach. Watching one more time.
2 MATTADOR D Throw out that last race and his form looks awfully good. Barn change here as well. This guy might be live tonight. Using.
3 BOILER BOB THE QB Turned the tables on ‘Gorgeous in a big way last week. Perfect level for him and he is a win contender right back.
4 WAYWARD SON Steps up off a defeat at Philly. Recent form has been better and he might be good enough to earn a minor share of this.
5 GRATIAS DEO The move into the claimer here is interesting as he is just a three year old. If he takes some play, I might include him.
6 CLUBBER LANG Moves right into a claimer off a win. He was 35-1 against this same group 2 starts back though. So this will be tougher.
7 BLACK HAT Brave try last time against the top 2. Perhaps he can muster up a little more of a threat with a smoother trip. Interesting.
8 WINDSONG GORGEOUS Really just got beat last time. Now he and Boiler Bob swap posts again. Figures to be at least a top-3 threat.
9 LOCKLOADNEXPLODE His efforts at this level at Pocono put him right in the mix, but last time he just wasn’t much of a factor. Improves.
10 ART FOR LIVING Just don’t see him getting involved from this far outside post as he will have too much to overcome from here. Longshot.