• Week Of 2/17 - 2/23
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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 Thursday, February 21, 2013

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 8-5-10-6
H Horse Comment
1 R MARIE HANOVER Filly was a $95,000 Harrisburg Yearling, but is yet to return dividends. Can improve in 2nd start back in suspect field.
2 GOING SHOPPIN Filly is a kin to five 6-figure earners, but is the first ½ sibling of the family. She only cost $5,000 at Illini Classic sale, too.
3 JUSTHAVENTMETUYET First foal from a mare that earned over $350k. Homebred is yet to show best. Likely more in the tank. Watching.
4 SHARK LIGHTNING Filly is a ½ sister to a pair of nice ones. Homebred was far behind Real Comfort in that qualifier. Watch a start.
5 REAL COMFORT Had no shot racing 5th over from post 10. Now has the perfect post and all horses making their 2nd start should improve.
6 DREAMING ALIINA She didn’t see to offer much pace in her first start. ½-sister to Worldly Beauty ($1.9M) is a candidate to improve.
7 PURA VIDA I am not sold on that qualifier as key heat to be exiting. $9,500 Harrisburg Yearling still shows a better line than most here.
8 CHEYENNE MIRIAM Came from a tough spot, 4th over and was finishing stride for stride with Ideal Ginny at the wire. Win candidate.
9 IT’SALL YOUR FAULT Was a non-factor exiting the same race as 5 others here. Filly showed some potential last year. Can improve.
10 MS CAILA J FRA Figures to be one of the favorites off that last mile. She did break right off the turn, but was 7/2 in a very good field.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-7-9
H Horse Comment
1 LEIGH ANN Winner of that qualifier was a decent 5th against nw18000L6 at YR (much tougher than this). Lightly raced and adds Lasix.
2 TOUCH OF CHARM That 1 for 22 mark doesn’t inspire much confidence. Gapped in 3rd early in that last mile as well. Does add Lasix now.
3 MONSTER LUKE Winner of his qualifier was 7th, beaten 3 in a B1/B2 Hcp. Not sure why he broke last time. I expect to see speed here.
4 CLASSFIED ACTION Sat the pocket at 60-1, but on the far turn the one time leader stopped in his face. Sill requires improvement.
5 CORLEONE HALL ½-brother to $1.8 Million earner Cameron Hall. Barn not known for firing with first time starts. Will watch this one.
6 MAJESTIC STONE Wasn’t ready for that 1:53 mile. No problem, this race is much softer on paper. Should prove very tough in this spot.
7 MISS CONNOR Was tracking 2nd over, before being left uncovered on the far turn. Solid effort. But, will she stay trotting again. Short price.
8 LUVALADY Once a $14,000 Harrisburg yearling, this filly is still searching for her best. Beaten a dozen lengths by ‘Majestic on 1/31.
9 BRISSOT Interesting that he went over 2 seconds faster in the morning. Looks like he just needs to stay closer. Worth including in exotics.
10 MOREY Gelding was the “wise-guy” horse going into the Super Bowl. He has failed to make the gate in his last pair. Fastest if he trots.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-4-8
H Horse Comment
1 IDEAL GINNY She reacted to the mare in front of her on the first turn. I think it threw off her entire race. Not sure I like the pole for her.
2 FEDS EXPRESS That’s an impressive mile coming from 16 lengths back at Freehold. Still, we know it’s not the same as doing it here.
3 MC GILLACUDY-HENRY That 1 for 29 record sticks out like a sore thumb here. She went a tough first over trip on 1/31. Exotics player.
4 LIZ’S LIL K K We can expect more equipment changes here. She continues to lock on the left line, but she has a lot of ability. Logical.
5 HERE AGAIN Not a bad effort last time, but she really couldn’t pace with the top two. Expect speed, but she will need more late to win.
6 DAY BLUE CHIP This lass is a very tough call. Now 4 with just 3 lifetime starts. She paced in 1:52.4 last May. Long layoff. Mixed feelings.
7 MCARMA In the end that was not a terrible try off the 7 month layoff. While she needs to improve, I wouldn’t be shocked by a decent try.
8 CRAZY EIGHTS She went a big trip last time and it took a perfect trip from ‘Liz to beat her. Campbell is driving lights out. Win contender.
9 ZIP IT LOCK IT Now just 1 for 18 and being unable to win at that level at Monticello is not going to cut it here. Looks like the longshot.
10 IDEAL PORTRAIT Her effort on 1/31 was decent, but it’s not good enough to win this. Harder barn is going well. Call her a fringe player.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 5-3-6-10
H Horse Comment
1 JAILHOUSE ROCKIE Didn’t offer much in that last mile. He may have needed that start off the 6 week layoff. Looking for improvement.
2 SOME KINDA SPUNKY Good effort in that qualifier. Runner-up and 3rd finisher from that heat were in race 2 tonight. Use that as a gauge.
3 WESTERN CREDIT Showed sharp improvement last time while outracing his odds at 91-1. Now, he adds Lasix as well. Looks like a player.
4 HOWMUCHUBENCH Gelding has a tendency to jump off-stride, which is an issue. Qualifier was just marginal. Appears an outsider.
5 BLOMKVIST Been facing some tough company. Winner of last race would be an overwhelming favorite. Appears strictly the one to beat.
6 DIPIETRANTONIO Put forth just an even effort last time. Still believe this mare has more to offer. Recommend including in gimmicks.
7 ORDER BY CORLEONE I would call his last pair of starts as marginal. I don’t see that knockout punch from him. Leaning elsewhere.
8 TWIN B NAVIGATOR Not exiting a very fast race. Figures to be forwardly placed early in the mile, but I am looking elsewhere for the win.
9 LABIRINTO SAS IT His effort from 1/17 would make him a fringe player in this spot. Has been off four weeks though. Maybe for a share.
10 CAMPOTOSTO I thought he raced well given that was his first start in three months. He figures to be better here. Tough post again though.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 3-8-4-5
H Horse Comment
1 ARIANE HANOVER Sat 4th over, so she did have a lot to do. But, I thought she only offered marginal pace in the stretch. Fringe player.
2 LADYBONES This mare has been facing better and if she can find a way back to that win, perhaps she can perk up. Tricky read here.
3 KIMMY She did pass a few in the stretch last time from an impossible spot. Prior efforts were decent. She might appreciate longer stretch!
4 MY SPRING FLING That was a lot that was asked of her last time. Parked to the ¼, shuffled, moved first over. Do not dismiss her off that.
5 CAROLSTERN She was a likely favorite prior to being scratched from that last start. Good to see her right back in. Closing from well back.
6 CRUZIN ANGEL That last field she faced at Yonkers was tougher than this. Likely will be looking for an outer flow to follow. Tough call.
7 JOYFUL YEARS I think she has regressed in her last pair of starts. She needs to find that effort from 1/10 again. I’m likely passing on her.
8 DE VINS GIRL Came from a very tough spot. She was stuck behind Joyful Years before shaking free. I think she’s the hot horse here.
9 SWEET TIME She was OK last week. I wanted to see more acceleration when flipping off cover. Likely coming from far back. Underneath.
10 ALBANIAN ERA Her last three starts just aren’t going to cut it here. Now she has the widest draw and she looks like the longshot.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 3-2-6-5
H Horse Comment
1 ATTACK MODES BILLY His last race was not what you want to see. He was gapped third over under urging. Mixed feelings this time.
2 ALLAMERICAN CHIEF Still on the comeback trail. Concern is that his first start was better than his last two. I would bet on improvement.
3 CULLENS BLUE JEAN I thought he raced great. Set the pace under pressure down the backstretch. Third race back, could be tough.
4 NATIVE SPEED Loomed up three wide, but abruptly stalled. That was with Lasix added. He’ll never see a better trip than that. Not sold.
5 TAYLORLANE CRUISER Went a big first over trip, but came up empty in the stretch. The record of 1 for the last 2 years is tough to ignore.
6 GALLANT MAJOR His mile really leaps off the page to me. He came from a very tough spot and just kept coming. Should be very tough.
7 KINGOFTHECASTLE His two efforts here have not been up to par. That win at Freehold just doesn’t seem to stack up against these.
8 PLAYERS BALL Elected to stick to the pylons and just didn’t seem to offer much pace the rest of the way. Looks like a longshot.
9 CHEYENNE UMBERTO He is getting what appears to be needed class relief, but his recent efforts have not been up to par. Needs more.
10 TSM GABBY WARBUCKS I am going to toss out that last start. Was forced three wide around sluggish horses. Tonight’s problem-the post.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 5-7-1-2
H Horse Comment
1 LITTLE SANTAMONICA The barn change will attract plenty of attention. Showed decent pace at the end of that qualifier. Will take play.
2 MYLUVMYLIFE First time Lasix, so perhaps that explains her last two starts. Combining that with her second start from this barn, tough.
3 FOX VALLEY SWIFT She had been facing better, but her last couple of starts have been lacking. Qualifier was better. Tricky call.
4 ARTIE’S LAST PARTY Didn’t handle the move from nw2 to a tougher condition very well. This is a lateral move, so I am looking elsewhere.
5 LOVE YOU BYE She ran up on the horse in front of and that caused the break. She was 3/5 in that field for a reason. Favored again.
6 MATT’S SMOKIN LIL Earned a nice win last time, but this will be tougher. Appears in line for a good trip. Is she good enough? Tough read.
7 LIZZIE’S DREAM Was free late in the stretch last time but she offered just decent pace in the stretch. This field is similar. Using a bit.
8 CAMMI PLACE Responded to the move to Freehold with a nice win last time. Perhaps she can turn that into a nice confidence builder.
9 JASPERTHAT A Recent form has not been too sharp and it appears it will take a turnaround to propel her to an improved effort.
10 IHEARTQUESTIONMARK Making her first start off a four month layoff. She appeared a bit short in that qualifier. Watching this time.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 6-3-4-10
H Horse Comment
1 GET JAZZED Moves back to the level of his most recent win following two decent tries against better. He can bounce back here.
2 TERRYANG FRA Shows a win surrounded by a series of less than stellar tries. This barn has gone cold too. Not sure I can endorse.
3 MAJORLY BAD If you throw out a first over trip and a break, his form looks awfully good in this field. First time Lasix as well. Contender.
4 THANKS FOR STOPPIN Won against a better field on opening weekend. Gets some solid class and post relief. Looms a win candidate.
5 SECTIONLINE BLAST His form has gone the wrong way in the last couple of starts. It’s hard to predict a bounce-back mile here.
6 BLADE RUNNER No shot in that last mile. Gets some class relief and catches an ideal post for his style. Looms a player with a trip.
7 THREE ARTIST Didn’t race poorly while sent off at 43-1 two starts back. While he is questionable here, I wouldn’t be shocked by him.
8 UPFRONT COUNTRYBOY Continues to slide down the class ladder, but now he has reached the bottom. Will he wake up? I’m not sure.
9 KISS MY ART That was a much improved effort in that qualifier. But will he stay pacing tonight? Watch him scoring down very carefully.
10 PALM’S BEACH Moved back down to this level and showed instant improvement. Post 10 yet again is tough, but he is a contender.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 5-4-8-7
H Horse Comment
1 SPECTATOR K Form has gone in the wrong direction since his win. I don’t like this inside draw again for him. Playing against here.
2 MYSTICAL CON Lost to a good horse last time but he also squandered a good trip. He is a bounce back candidate, I suppose.
3 JEDRIK HANOVER Given his odd-gait, it amazes me how fast he is able to go. I am not sure I can buy into a repeat performance.
4 NEW ZION The driver change is going to attract plenty of attention and he figures to have a big shot here. Short price doesn’t appeal.
5 PILATUS This gelding likes to win and this is a perfect post for him. If he follows ‘Zion, I think he can trot right by him. One to beat for me.
6 THROUGH THE NIGHT Made a break at 33-1 last time. Goes back to Tetrick, so I doubt he will be that price again. In line for a good trip.
7 PAISLEY His last three starts have been good at this level. While I am not sold that he can break out and win, he must be included.
8 BEAU JOE He is moving down to the lowest level that he has seen in quite some time. I can see him improving in this spot.
9 R SAM Takes another move down the class ladder but his recent form has not been sharp. I want to see an improved effort first.
10 CANADIAN WILDCAT Connections got a good race into him off a five week layoff. Woodbine shippers haven’t done well here though.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 1-9-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 IMAGE OF DAWN I think this is the winner. He has been facing much better. Stays close early and paces by them all late. Key contender.
2 MR HALLOWELL Had to need that first start off the layoff. He is likely to be at least a little better in this start. I am going to watch 1 more.
3 IN KENNY’S HONOR He tried to move up off what was good first start back and he just wasn’t ready. Back to the right level this time.
4 DISTINCT HONOR An even try last time at Monticello. That being said, that kind of effort at Monti just isn’t going to cut it here.
5 WHERE’S WALDO He squandered a good trip last week and I think this field is even a little bit better than that. He will still take action.
6 FOUR STARZ TWINS He just doesn’t carry any form into this race and even the class drop last time didn’t seem to help at all.
7 MARKET FORCE Back to the level of the claim and I suppose he finished with a little more interest last time. He can improve in this spot.
8 CR FIXED ASSET This driver change is going to attract some attention. Throw out the last race and you can make a case for him in here.
9 TAMAYO Those are back to back solid races he is showing. The post with 2 trailers is tricky, but he should be passing horses late.
10 JL’S MAN OF ACTION The trip didn’t work out last time and I can’t be sure it will be any better from here. Not all the way back yet.
11 JO WILLY Talk about well-traveled, this is his 4th different track in as many starts and now crosses the border too. Watching this one.
12 ARMBRO DOWRY I always skeptical of horses that go wire to wire from post 1 on a small track. Previous try is a better indicator.