• Week Of 12/1 - 12/7
  • SU1
  • MO2
  • TU3
  • WE4
  • TH5
  • FR06
  • SA07
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 07, 2013

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 6-4-3-2
H Horse Comment
1 ITSAHARDROCKLIFE Recent barn change was even in his move to claimers last time. Likely saves ground and tows along in the stretch.
2 AMERICAN PAPARAZZI I guess he has to be considered one of the chalks. But he should have won last week. Thought he hung late.
3 ROCKSTAR STRIDE He didn’t exactly have live cover to follow and moved on his own. Could see him building off that effort. Contender.
4 SHADOW MARGEAUX Have similar feelings for this gelding as ‘Rockstar. He might have been pacing best of all late. A key contender.
5 AMERICAN PLAN Total wild card. There is no way to gauge that Scarborough field against this. Gets Gingras and may be wise-guy horse.
6 BARBARIAN Trip players will love this horse. He was literally blocked the entire length of stretch. There might be a lot more to offer here.
7 ART HISTORY Was very green in his first qualifier. Clearly he was much better next out. Still want to watch this unraced juvenile first.
8 HOTUNDERTHECOLLAR While he had sneaky pace last time, he was driven with much confidence at even money. Passing this time.
9 BERKSHIRE BEAR Qualifier was obviously much better, but don’t go nuts, it was still just a 1:56.2 mile. Still, seems to be on the improve.
10 RJ’S DAY He has been struggling against softer up at Monticello. Now strapped with post 10 and he looks like the longshot of the field.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 3-6-1-5
H Horse Comment
1 MINDSET Never got involved last week. He is better than that, but still think he is a cut below the best in here. Likely earns a minor award.
2 ROCKY MOUNTAIN GUY Hard to land here off his recent form. Seems to prefer this track, but he looks like the longshot of this field.
3 TWILIGHT BONFIRE Very fast horse that has faced some of the best this year. Runner up from the North America Cup should win this.
4 MAGIC TRICKS Exiting a race that fell apart in the stretch. It’s hard for me to think he can make the leap to this level and contend for a win.
5 ARTIST NIGHT Gelding seems to have some punch to him. This is a major test for class and he is probably in line for a share of this.
6 ROCKIN AMADEUS Has not been disgraced in either start this meet. Good to see him racing better. He is probably second best in here.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 9-3-7-10
H Horse Comment
1 CELEBRITY SCANDAL Has not raced in month now due to back to back scratches. My guess is he needs a start. Watching closely.
2 GRATIAS DEO Was shuffled back and offered even pace in the stretch. Pierce opts off so I am guessing the price will be better this time.
3 OHMYGOSH HANOVER I am betting that he is cycling forward. Some of his Hoosier miles are good enough against this field. Key player.
4 DOIN TIME TOGETHER Callahan has known some success with moves like this from the Mid Atlantic. Will offer value and is intereting.
5 RELENTLESS DREAMER He is getting some class relief and the winner from that race was 2nd against much better. Must finish better.
6 MAN TO MAN That was an even try last time and wasn’t the kind of mile that makes me jump up and bet. A similar mile earns a check.
7 STORMIN RUSTLER Making his second start back off the layoff and has a right to improve off that mile. Still, just 1 for 28 this year. Using.
8 SENOR GRANDE Not sold that his win against nw2 stacks up against this group. Also, has not raced in a month. Looking elsewhere.
9 WAR DANCER Has me so confused. His miles at Hoosier win this race, but should he have been better at Lebanon? Still, worth a flyer.
10 BUCKEYE IN CHARGE Talk about a brutal trip last week and this guy hung in there! Pollio and he have a great rapport together. Player.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 1-7-6-3
H Horse Comment
1 SIR MELO’S Z TAM I thought he showed good late pace after being blocked in the stretch. Give him a huge shot with the right setup here.
2 ISLAND LEXUS Respect a horse that wins over one-third his starts in a year. Last two starts have been better. Using in the exotics.
3 BOLERO ANDREW Miller picks off despite a big late rally in the stretch last week. This field is tougher, but it’s hard to dismiss him off last.
4 ROCK ME PLEASE Off the claim to a barn that wins a lot in general but is 0 for 2013 at The Meadowlands. Watching this time around.
5 ON THE RADAR Took money and went a tough first over trip last time. Callahan chooses off, but I still give this guys a chance with a trip.
6 SILENT SWING He is 11 years over and still making 6-figures per year. That’s impressive. Miller’s choice is the class of the field. Player.
7 CAM B ZIPPER He came home much faster than any of these did in their previous start. Gets some class relief too. Looms a contender.
8 DAMON BLUE CHIP Winner of last moved up the ladder and won again. This gelding drops for a big barn. He’s a player on the class drop.
9 SIX GUN He was OK on opening night, but last week just wasn’t good at all. Gets needed class relief, but there are too many other options.
10 FREDDY DAY HANOVER He has a rich history here, but his recent form is suspect. Post 10 isn’t going to help matters. Tab for later on.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 10-4-1-7
H Horse Comment
1 HUMILITY Defeated a pair of seasoned high-class horses in that qualifier. Zeron’s choice might be sitting on a big mile. Rate him a player.
2 TULFRA His form has appeared to tail off recently. Was not Callahan’s choice this time and I would have to call him a longshot.
3 NICK FOTIU This is a sizeable move up the class ladder and his last mile does not bode well this time around. Looking elsewhere.
4 NATIVE’S REVENGE Barn change here to Ford who is off to a 1 for 20 start this meet. Tough trip last time. Sharper than you think.
5 DOVUTO HANOVER Entered his three year old season with promise and upside, but it didn’t work out. Off the layoff, but high on talent.
6 AXIOM HANOVER Moves back to the level he finished 3rd at, but still not sold that race was strong. Playing against this time around.
7 TELL US MORE Miller had a choice of three and landed here over 2 key rivals. That’s a big call. Big driver change for this colt. Key player.
8 COURAGEOUS CAT Ran into a very accomplished field last time and gets some needed class relief. Improvement is required, however.
9 MANCHESTER Ships down from Canada and moves to the Remmen barn. Doesn’t own much speed but he will pass several in the stretch.
10 CC HEET SEEKER This gelding is interesting. Bier has success with these types in the winter. Should improve second off the layoff.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 9-5-3-2
H Horse Comment
1 PANPERO FIRPO Went a big first over mile last week and was game through the stretch. This field is comparable. Pierce opts off though.
2 DULL ROAR I thought he was really good opening night, but not as good last week. He can bounce back and I know Ford likes him a lot.
3 THE PAN POOBAH That was a game try last time. Missed last week, but maybe that will help. Barn is obviously hot to start the meet.
4 ROAR When this horse is at his best, he is very good. It’s just hard to predict when that is going to happen. Qualifier was solid as well.
5 EDDIE SWEAT I have been a fan of this horse for a long time, he has a big engine. If he is ready off the sick scratch, he is a major player.
6 VALIDUS DEO Improved last time but there is a barn change here and a 5 week layoff. I will have to watch this start before I can include.
7 TARPON HANOVER Had to need that last start, although the break is a concern. This horse has ability, but I am inclined to wait for later.
8 TRACK MASTER D That last race is a tough read. He was pacing well in the stretch, but didn’t make up much ground. Maybe for exotics.
9 DOCTOR BUTCH He never saw the pylons last week and just kept coming. A deserving favorite as he has returned to his best form.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 7-1-3-9
H Horse Comment
1 MUDSLIDE Those are some tough races he is coming out of. Note who he faced the last two, Rockin Amadeus. He fits well in this spot.
2 APPLEY EVER AFTER Clearly out-raced his odds last time as he was finishing his mile well. A similar effort can yield a similar result here.
3 DELLA CRUISE I was surprised Callahan chose off here and had to alter my morning line. Class dropper in what is a puzzling race.
4 BOLDER His last two starts were tough draws against tough fields. He can improve here, but Tetrick did go elsewhere. Tricky call here.
5 ROLL ON This barn is always going to attract attention and I am just not sure this horse will offer fair value. Playing against this time.
6 MOJO TERROR I thought he took a step back last week. He was rough in the stretch. Callahan on twitter said he choked down. A puzzle.
7 A SWEET RIDE Toss out that broken equipment mile and remember he was favored in there as well. One race removed from a 1:49.4 mile.
8 HYPNOTIC BLUE CHIP Classy warhorse is back again. He will attract plenty of attention on name along and the value may not be there.
9 CASHENDASH HANOVER Funnily, he hung in the stretch at Philly, but rallied well last week. May like it better here. Test for class now.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 5-1-3-8
H Horse Comment
1 SPENDER HANOVER Barn change here off an interesting qualifier. See how Humility raced earlier. He fits very well in this field. A player.
2 I DO HANOVER Barn change here. Tough trip last time at Pocono. I am probably going to watch a start before I consider a wager.
3 HE’S THE CHIP He was second over last week, but didn’t offer the punch I would have hoped for. Goes from Trace to Tim tonight.
4 DR C’S Z TAM Coming off a lame scratch and a seven month layoff, I would have to guess that he needs a start. Qualifier was OK.
5 PEMBROKE DEWEY Off the barn change and the fact that he’s getting Miller, expect him to get bet. Remember, he has won here before.
6 GARETH NOURIR That was just an even try last time and he really didn’t have an excuse. I will need to see some improvement tonight.
7 STALLONE BLUE CHIP Was all out coming down to the wire in 29.4 to hold on in a class lower than this. Off that, I will play against here.
8 SRI PANKA Easy to forgive the first over trip into strong winds. Still, a 32.1 final quarter scares me. Just wasn’t a fan of that race. Not yet.
9 PEDRO ISLAND Followed up a dull effort with a sick scratch. That’s not an angle I am a fan of. I will wait for signs of improvement.
10 YES YOUR MATTJESTY He doesn’t have much early speed, so the post is a problem. I will wait for a softer spot for this gelding.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 4-8-2-1
H Horse Comment
1 SALVESTER STALLION Caught a shuffle last week and he was pacing with the field to the wire. He can improve off that. Pierce opts off.
2 GO BOTH WAYS Not a bad effort last time and those races at Philly are pretty comparable to this field. Can earn a minor award.
3 COBALT MAN Is coming off over a month layoff with just one qualifier. He has plenty of back class, but I have to think he needs a start.
4 SEEK THE DRAGON Never saw the pylons last time, sat third over and rallied with good late pace. Still, Andy Miller chose off. I am using.
5 TRANSCENDING This horse has a history of getting plenty of play here. I am sure the connections contribute to that. Don’t see the value.
6 BLUERIDGE WESTERN Talk about back class, this guy packs plenty. Still, he has been off nearly 8 months with just one qualifier.
7 EAGLE JOLT I am always skeptical of wire to wire wins from post 1 at Yonkers. Previous form was only fair. Playing against this time.
8 COLOSSAL Raced very well against a similar field last week. Have to figure the value is gone. He might even be the favorite this time.
9 AVENUE HANOVER He has won against similar levels here in the past. That last field he faced was tough. Interesting if the price is right.
10 ROCKNROLL JEWEL Surprised me last week because I wasn’t thrilled with the race he came out of opening night. This will be tougher.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 6-7-2-3
H Horse Comment
1 EXPLODENT Those claiming events he has been racing well in are comparable to this field. Constantly earns checks and should be used.
2 NEXT FLIGHT Throw out that last race as his wheel was hooked past the half-mile pole. He was 3-1 against a similar field. Worth using.
3 HACIENDA Still don’t know how he escaped at 17-1 in that field. He raced well in that spot and seems to fit quite well in this group.
4 AVOGADRO HANOVER Back to back solid tries down Route 9. That said, it is always different bringing that form up here. Tough call.
5 GIDDY UP BLACKFLY I gave him a shot last week and he went first over and did not fire. Now drops in class and might be overbet here.
6 SIR ZIGGY’S Z TAM I like Ziggy in this spot. Lachance horses are racing pretty well so far. Allard will have options with a versatile gelding.
7 DANIEL SEMALU The driver change from Gray to Tetrick is going to attract some attention. He adds depth to a wide open race on paper.
8 FRISKIES CHEAPSUIT Toss out that last race. He did not fare well against similar fields at Yonkers prior to that. Looking elsewhere now.
9 A PLACE IN HISTORY He has been dropping in class and not really responding. His lack of speed means he may have to pass them all.
10 PRINCE SHARKA If he is to have any shot here, Miller has to blast. Not sure he is up to this caliber of a field though. Looking elsewhere.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 1A-6-2-4
H Horse Comment
1 SOUTHWESTERN DREAM He will have to protect position from here and utilize his speed. He is a nice entry-mate to have for ‘Meirs.
1A MEIRS HANOVER He brings a mixed back of efforts to the race. Sometimes he beats these, other times he doesn’t. Still, always a player.
2 GREAT VINTAGE That was a nice stretch drive he put together last time. Might be a step behind the best here, but I wouldn’t dismiss him.
3 AROCKIN HANOVER Quickly found out that the Winners Over at Philly and Open at Vernon are very different things. Needs more here.
4 FAT MANS ALLEY Just was left with too much to do last time. He will have to pass a lot of very nice horses in the stretch here. Tough task.
5 ALEXIE MATTOSIE As sharp as he is, it was a little surprising to see Miller choose off. Things get tougher, but he has looked great here.
6 TOWNSLIGHT HANOVER There are probably 5 horses that can win this race and he is one of them. Recent form is sharp. Needs trip.
7 DIAL OR NODIAL Gelding has gone some monster miles and will try a comeback. Note the barn change here. My guess, he needs a start.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 2-7-3-9
H Horse Comment
1 SKY TANTRUM Coming off back to back scratches and hasn’t raced since March. I have to watch a start before I can consider him.
2 WINDSONG GORGEOUS Was able to hold off Boiler Bob last week. My guess, given the trip these 2 can beat each other back and forth.
3 LOCKLOADNEXPLODE Seems to have found some of his best form lately. Went a really good mile on 11/16. I wouldn’t dismiss him here.
4 MAJOR GRACE Making his second start on Lasix and gets a driver switch to Miller. Sneaky longshot for the bottom of exotics here.
5 REALLY SEXY GUY Brings marginal form to this affair. Nothing jumps off the page. I suppose he can earn a check with the right trip.
6 ST LADS HE MAN Just not sure he is up to this level right now. I see a substantial difference between $10k at Pocono and $15k here.
7 BOILER BOB THE QB Chased ‘Gorgeous last week to no avail. I don’t think speed is his best game, so he may have to make up ground.
8 BLACK HAT If you are looking to upset the top-2, maybe this is your guy. But I must emphasize, this barn is 0 for 48 this year at M1.
9 MIDNIGHT GAMBOL Like a few others in here, he shows the kind of form that can make him a fringe player here. Using in some exotics.
10 AHEAD OFTHE CURVE The post won’t help matters, but he was in shouting distance of the top-2 last time. Not without a chance tonight.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 4-5-7-9
H Horse Comment
1 REALLY ROCKIN Just 2 for his last 41. Draws inside and given his recent form I suspect Meittinis saves ground and hopes for a share.
2 COME ON RIDGE It’s typically hard to endorse a horse coming off a backing up pocket trip with a 32-second final quarter. Not for me.
3 PARADISE WILLIE Has been earning checks against rather soft fields. This field came up life, so perhaps he can do the same here.
4 PUTNAMS ATTACK This looks like the kind of horse that can jump up and win this race. That mile two-back does just that. My pick.
5 CLUBBER LANG That last field he faced was better than this and he wasn’t disgraced. On the move down, he can win this race.
6 ROO ROO RUSTY Added Lasix last time, but didn’t fare well. Making his second start with Lasix off the qualifier. Maybe he can improve.
7 ALLAMERICAN CHIEF Gelding certainly has speed and that could be dangerous in this field. If I were Gingras, I would take a shot, blast!
8 ROUNDABOUTMIDNITE His form has gone in the wrong direction lately and I need to see a start here before I can recommend.
9 CASINO KING On paper, he is the class of the race. If he is ever going to show speed, this is the field to do it in. Intersting at right price.
10 PALM’S BEACH Seems to have tailed off recently and I don’t see how the outside draw is going to help matters. Playing against.