• Week Of 12/15 - 12/21
  • SU15
  • MO16
  • TU17
  • WE18
  • TH19
  • FR20
  • SA21
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 20, 2013

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 1-7-8-2
H Horse Comment
1 DEAD WRONG Brutal trip last at Yonkers. Left, parked and wrangled back while looking for a hole. Prior form was decent. Live contender.
2 UF TEBOW HANOVER Added Lasix for that qualifier. Runner-up in that event was 2nd in a C-2 last week. Bodes well for chances here.
3 FLASHBACK Tough first over in what was an improved effort last time. Seems to be turning the corner since the claim. Adds value.
4 STAND GUARD He was shuffled in last but he wasn’t making much headway when clear. Needed to see more punch from him late.
5 FAT BOY Went a game first over trip at Freehold and his last pair of starts have been solid. This is tougher spot, but he has a chance.
6 AMARCORD I would have needed to see this horse trotting more in the stretch. Was far back and offered little kick late in the mile.
7 JC MIK MAC JILLIO Chased after a loose leader last time but was outkicked by a horse up the passing lane. Last pair were decent.
8 GRECALE AS Trip players will love this horse off his last mile. Caught a bad shuffle, moved in and out while appearing loaded. Overbet.
9 RINGSIDE WINNER Added Lasix last time and was even off cover. Was also an even 5th at this level 2 starts back. Needs improvement.
10 IMA QUE T Was 97-1 last time and he actually worked out a good third over trip, but he didn’t offer much pop off cover. Looking elsewhere.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 1-5-6-7
H Horse Comment
1 COCOTIER Remember Time To Quit? Burke is on record saying this gelding “looks better.” Likely to take a ton of play as the favorite.
2 SUPER CLASSIC Actually raced in the Hambletonian eliminations for different connections. Added Lasix last time with little progress.
3 BIG SEA LIGER Exits the same race as Super Blassic and looks rather comparable. Note, he did come from post 8 in there. Longshot.
4 DIVINATION Sat the pocket last out without offering much kick in the stretch. This is a move down in class, but she needs to be better.
5 LITTLE BITTY LIES Was actually favored over the rapidly developing Sweet Justice last time. This is a softer spot. Expect bounce back.
6 HOME TURF Eventful qualifier. Sat 3rd while horse broke in his face. Into stretch, leader drifted and he rallied up the pylons. Has ability.
7 MARION MAYFLOWER Was blocked in traffic into the stretch last week when the red sea parted and he rallied to win. Another with talent.
8 HOLY CANNOLI Filly looks to be in very tough here. She is exiting some much softer races at Freehold and will need a career best now.
9 DOC BOYCE She certainly has speed, but hasn’t been as sharp since the barn change. Catches a tough group here. Pace factor now.
10 RAY HALL Stopped 2 starts back. Turned a perfect trip into a win last time. Moves way outside this time. Playing against the repeat.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 1-3-5-9
H Horse Comment
1 NEW YORK KITTY Tough first over trip on Monday and just got run over by a Burke trained 3-5 favorite. Fits well in this field. Contender.
2 CMR BRESHA That last race was an Optional $15k claimer where she out-raced her odds. Barn change now. Saves ground for a slice.
3 GRACE SEELSTER Was very wide into the first turn at Yonkers. Eventually found the pocket but was outkicked late. Can be better.
4 MAGNETIC DRAW Now has not raced in 39 days and is shipping down from much softer company. I advise watching a start first.
5 JB ROSE Turned a perfect trip into a narrow victory last time. She loses Gingras here and I believe this will be a tougher assignment.
6 NIFTY ACE Was 3rd throughout the majority of that mile, stayed in and was out-kicked to the finish. Needs to be better than that now.
7 FOR ALL WE KNOW She gapped the pocket on the last turn and appeared very tired when she broke. Takes play, but I will look elsewhere.
8 SWEET TIME She raced For All We Know to a nose two starts back. That adds to my lack of interest in the Burke mare. Not sold here.
9 WATTAQUEEN That mile at Freehold is starting to look like an aberration. In this field, I could see giving her one more chance in exotics.
10 BAZOOKA TERROR Towed along and was finishing OK last time. Hard to be thrilled with 29.4 final quarter. Likely left with too much to do.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 7-1-6-5
H Horse Comment
1 PILATUS Probably needed that last start where he made the lead a bit too early and got chased down. Can easily build off that effort here.
2 CHOCOHOLIC Will be popular with trip players as he was blocked the entire length of the stretch, However, Callahan goes elsewhere.
3 SOUTH JERSEY BUGSY Showed speed last time before coming to a walk in the stretch. Seems to lack the stamina needed on this track.
4 MARCUS BI Gets another move down the class ladder. Eventually he will wake up, but watching that last race, it’s hard to endorse him.
5 EPIC TALE The trip was brutal last week, as he was far back and stacked up. That said, he wasn’t exactly flying late. Class drop helps.
6 UPFRONTSTRIKESGOLD He exited the same race as Epic Tale and was slightly better. Benefits from same class drop. Both contend.
7 FOUR STARZ SPEED Couldn’t have done much better in his first start off a 13 month layoff. If he improves, he will be very tough this time.
8 HELIOS Had a productive winter here, but has not been the same horse since. Need to see him stay trotting in his first start off the bench.
9 ITZAZIAM I think that last mile was deceptive. He was 2nd over in a race that fell apart and was still out-kicked. Playing against this time.
10 FOUNTAINBLEAU VOLO I guess on the class drop you have to give him a look. But he just isn’t inspiring any confidence in me so far.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 7-2-10-8
H Horse Comment
1 BRUSSELS HANOVER Did not factor against this company last time. Made some money on the NYSS circuit, but needs more in here.
2 NARANCIA HANOVER Her lack of speed compromised her last week. She had a lively clip to close into, but was just too far back. Player.
3 INITTOWINAFORTUNE Led between calls and was parked to the 3/8th’s pole. Loses Miller and catches a tough field. A little skeptical.
4 BETIT TO GETIT Filly was very rank while racing inside. She has ability, but Zeron will have to settle her down. Equipment changes?
5 MY TALLIA IDEAL I am never thrilled when a horse gives up a 4 length lead in the stretch at Yonkers. This will be tougher. Not for me.
6 ODDS ON ALPHA Saved ground but didn’t offer much punch when she found room in the stretch. Hard to play off that last mile.
7 MATTIE TERROR GIRL Those are 2 good efforts so far here. Two-back she followed dull cover. Last out, good spend on both ends! Like!
8 AMERICAN IN PARIS Very tough first over trip against an overwhelming favorite. With a smoother trip, a better result is expected here.
9 DILIGENT PROSPECT Off her last two miles you would thing the longer stretch should help her. Marohn needs to keep her in range.
10 TASHIA Really had no trip to work with as it was almost as bad as Narancia. She was finishing well. Still, needs to show some speed now.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 5-10-3-7
H Horse Comment
1 AFFIRMED ACTION Was 2nd to the likely favorite here on 11/29. Last pair of starts are very concerning though. Must turn things around.
2 THE EVICTOR Just missed last time to the foe to his outside. He is very sharp and any kind of trip will bring him into play. Cannot dismiss.
3 APPOMATTOX Responded to the class drop with a strong rally last time. Versatile, but does his best work from off the pace. Contender.
4 TOBER Seems that start in a B-1 here is a bit of an aberration. Based on his current form, feel this level is just a little too tough right now.
5 BASTILLE Was last while fanning widest of all turning for home. This horse is sharp and may go overlooked here. Value play in tough race.
6 BLACKTUXWHITESOCKS Yet to find his best stride since returning from the layoff. First over trip didn’t work at Yonkers. Not sharp yet.
7 HESGOTLEGS Was boxed in and caught a shuffle. Had plenty of trot to offer when free. If you like Bastille, you have to like this guy too.
8 AMIGO RANGER Loomed up boldly but was outkicked by a pair of these late. If Burke is off to a hot start, this 4YO may be an underlay.
9 E W FISHER Zeron has a real tough call here on paper as this 6YO has talent. Sharp qualifier off a 4 month layoff. Field is very tough!
10 UPFRONT BILLY When at his best, this horse can trot with just about anyone. Miller will be aggressive here. Logical, but price will be short.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-8-4
H Horse Comment
1 PRINCESS CRUISER Last pair of races were against tough fields. Miller’s choice of 3 should bounce back on the class drop. Contender.
2 IT’S DE LOVELY Recent efforts are a mixed bag, but this mare seems to be lacking a knockout punch. Catches tough group here, too.
3 MOMMA ROCK Added Lasix last time, but you can’t really gauge that mile from post 8. Question the spacing of races off the claim.
4 ALL ABOUT KISSES Always liked this mare. She was buried in traffic and offered good to solid pace when free. Wouldn’t write her off.
5 CHEYEMNE MIRIAM Parlayed a perfect pocket trip into a victory. Now moves up and faces older. I wouldn’t want too short of a price.
6 BIG MCDEAL Mare has a TON of back class. Chased from the pocket, but was just even last time. Still, this is a big class drop. Lookout.
7 ART IDEAL Filly is sharp and obviously will take play for these connections. Still, this is a tough spot and I would tread lightly. Underlay.
8 BULLET POINT Miller opting off this mare is a big call for Princess Cruiser. Outer flow was slowing and she was forced 3-wide early! Player.
9 LOCAL ART Just 2 wins on the year and her recent form is below average. Catches a very tough group here and is a longshot this time.
10 SHOOTOUTTHELIGHTS This mare was the reason Bullet Point had to move early. Won’t be first over from here. Needs to get involved.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 6-2-9-3
H Horse Comment
1 HERE COMES NUMBER Moving up the ladder off a win. This field came up extremely tough and his game needs to be raised for this.
2 SWEET JUSTICE Interesting happenstance here. Miller co-owns Aisling, so he can’t drive this “now” horse. New pilot, might be same result.
3 IL MAGO Chased Sweet Justice in that track record performance. That was a big effort and he should be a contender right back here.
4 THE TRIPLE LINDY There was a big difference between the field he met last week vs. 12/6. Faces same tough foes tonight. Needs more.
5 BIG PAYOUT Consistently earning minor awards at Yonkers. Last mile he sat the pocket, but offered just even trot late. Must step it up.
6 LAUDERDALE Moved to the Burke barn and made an untimely break. Plenty of class and ability. He will challenge Justice this time around.
7 HOWE’S MAGIC Has put together quite an impressive streak. That said, this field is on a whole different level. Betting against another win.
8 AISLING Miller must drive this gelding that he co-owns. This is the right level for him now, but still believe he will need to improve his game.
9 CARNEGIE Just 1 for 27 on the year but his last mile saw he blocked in traffic and swinging out wide too late. Might go overlooked here.
10 BANKER VOLO Just wasn’t in the same league as ‘Justice last time and now has to overcome post 10. Too many other options this time.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 2-9-8-4
H Horse Comment
1 FASHION MAJORETTE Was outkicked to the wire by a 99-1 shot from post 8 last start. Previous try here wasn’t much. Longshot again.
2 PHONE TERROR Tried to leave last week, but was out-sprinted early. Was parked to the half before finding cover. Repeat of last wins this.
3 TWIN B ELITE Really is not much to be positive about in here last 2 starts. Races have been spaced out as well. Retains longshot status.
4 OLIVIA V Another barn change to Burke. Tough trip in Canada last time. She will take plenty of play and will likely be an underlay now.
5 TIGER BOUDOIR That was a big effort last week grinding into a solid clip to win. Lasix obviously helped. Now moves up the ladder.
6 MOONLIT DRAGON Hard to understand what happened last time. However, this barn can do no wrong so far this meet. Do not ignore.
7 SHAWNEE DANCER Led through whiteout conditions but tired in the stretch. Barn change to Harder here. Must step up her game.
8 ENDURING DELIGHT Exiting the same race as the mare to her inside. Rallied well in the snow. Looks like she is at the right level here.
9 VY HANOVER Buried on the pylons and she was closing willingly to the wire. Last 2 starts are deceptively good. Has a chance in here.
10 ASTREAS NOTICE Shows that lone recent win and the form surrounding it is not particularly encouraging. Will need to find speed now.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 6-5-9-2
H Horse Comment
1 COE LEADER Had been racing well. Now changes barns and ships down here. Winner of that QUA was in a nw2 in race 2. Tricky read.
2 KEYSTONE WILD CARD If you draw a line through the pair of races from outside posts at Yonkers, his form is solid. Fits well in this field.
3 CSI WHAT’S MY NAME Have to give this 8YO credit, he likes to win. Feel this is a bit tougher than what he has been facing, though.
4 TWIN B SPIKE MAN I am a bit concerned that he has tailed off in his last pair of starts. Will look for signs of a reversal to solid form here.
5 MR FENWICK Not only was last, but was inside of a 5-horse outer flow. He was trotting extremely well to the wire. Expect speed tonight.
6 BROOKROAD KNIGHT Was flying late following a 5th over trip behind a dull outer flow. He and Mr Fenwick seem to go hand in hand.
7 ELLISARRO HANOVER Went first over and quickly stalled going into those strong fractions. Expect a change in tactics tonight.
8 RIVERFEST Seems to have caught a case of seconditis since arriving here. Callahan chooses off though. Facing a stronger group now.
9 MM’S LUCKY BOY Was stuck behind a horse that was half-out and not advancing early. That compromised his chances. Capable of more.
10 SPICE IT UP LINDY Hard to get a real read on that last mile, but this field features a lot of angles, and I just don’t see one with him.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 1-3-9-4
H Horse Comment
1 PLAY FAIR Found himself in the right post as the pylons opened up and he go through. Now steps up, but this field isn’t too tough for him.
2 FEEL THE PRESSURE Obviously holds a class edge over many of these. But, he hasn’t raced in over 9 months. Best to watch a start.
3 HOBSONS CHOICE Barn change. Part of an arsenal for Burke heading to the Super Bowl. Expect a rebound from that miscue. Takes play.
4 CANTAB ABS Feel he is at his best with a trip which he can certainly work out from here. Colt has had a very nice season. Fits well here.
5 OVER AND OUT Another stepping up off a win. Flattered by Play Fair who came out of that race to win. Feel this one might offer value.
6 WISENHEIMER That field he beat just doesn’t stack up well in here, in my opinion. Regressed last time. Needs to step up, reverse form.
7 MAJESTIC STONE Hasn’t raced in 4 weeks. His prior three starts looked like he was heading in the wrong direction. Watching one.
8 STIR ME UP Gets some class relief again and eventually he is going to wake up. There is no form to go off of, though. Tricky read now.
9 CURRENT CRISIS Moved to a new barn and picked up a catch driver. He is likely to show speed again. Loses Gingras, but still a player.
10 JAILHOUSE SCORPIO Only has 1 start this year and it wasn’t bad at all. That said, off another layoff, I need to see another start now.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 2-5-10-1
H Horse Comment
1 COLD CERTIFIED See how Cantab Abs did in the 11th. He was chasing after that foe from far back but ran out of ground. I am using now.
2 MARION MONACO He has been facing better his last 3 starts and I would have to think he should improve here. Back to the right level.
3 KEYSTONE WYATT Exiting a very fast race and wasn’t disgraced in that spot. This field is softer and he is likely to take play, too. Player.
4 ALL ABOUT JUSTICE The winner last time stole the race through a soft middle-half. Recent form remains sharp. Adds value to exotics.
5 MAGGLIO Moves back up in class following a handy win. Note, he was finishing well, despite being 8th when last at this level. Can repeat.
6 SEA RAVEN Another taking a class drop, but I think he has really tailed off. I will be watching this time for any signs of improvement.
7 LE SENATEUR AL This barn is going extremely well to start the meet. He has speed, but can come off a helmet, too. Things to like again.
8 BINGO QUEEN Last pair were against tougher. Her prior form was good. That is a common tale in this wide open race. Interesting now.
9 MYSTICAL STARLIGHT Chased in vain last time as leader got away with a soft middle-half. Proven at the level which makes her a player.
10 AS YA’LL LIKE IT Another that faced better in her last pair of starts and is in good form. Contention runs very deep in a puzzling affair.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 4-2-10-9
H Horse Comment
1 NUTMEGS CIDER Has been doing her best racing at the $12.5k claiming level. Note, she was 27-1 when last trying a field like this.
2 CRAZY EIGHTS She gets a move down the class ladder which is going to help as she is exiting a good race. Expect a better result tonight.
3 CAROLSIDEAL I have no idea what happened last time as she was overbet off a troubled trip. Hard to endorse off that last mile though.
4 SARANDON BLUE CHIP Gingras goes to Burke, but this is still the horse to beat. Rounding into form and might just be faster than these.
5 SPIRIT OF DESIRE Gets a new pilot on Callahan, so that interests me a little. Still, she is going to need to step her game up this time.
6 WHISTLER SEELSTER Just did not offer the kind of pop you want to see in the stretch last out and is now facing a better group. Longshot.
7 DRAGON RUFFLES Not a terrible effort last week, but not great either as the beaten favorite. Price will be much better. Tricky call now.
8 BAD FEELING Saratoga form was pretty sharp, but it was against softer groups of fillies and mares. Will watch one to gauge how she fits.
9 PRECIOUS ROSE N Was her last start better? Yes, but she figured to improve on the class drop. Still think she has been under-performing.
10 UP FRONT CRUISER Literally sat the pocket throughout and didn’t really make much headway. Gingras must get aggressive. Underneath.