• Week Of 4/27 - 5/3
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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 02, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 4-8-2-7
H Horse Comment
1 ALL TROT Made it around the track without breaking stride, which is an improvement. Still needs to step forward to contend at this level.
2 ACADIA AS Back to back wins and now things get tougher as she faces some Hambo eligibles. Has a seasoning edge on them though.
3 MARTINIWITHMUSCLE Hambo-eligible son of Muscle Hill recently added hobbles and it seems to have helped. May need a start first.
4 O NARUTAC PERFETTO Also Hambo-eligible. Chased after Acadia As willingly last time. Seems to be on the improve. Win contender.
5 LOVE DETECTIVE Runner-up from that qualifier raced well in her first start. Big connections, but I think she is likely to need a race first.
6 EMBRACE PEACE Mare is certainly consistent, but she also shows just 1 win from 35 lifetime starts. Looking elsewhere for the winner.
7 STEEL CURTIN Nice effort last time, launching a three-wide move off the turn to win. Steps up against stronger, but merits consideration.
8 GREAT SOCIETY Exits a very good qualifier. The top-2 are serious Hambo contenders. Showed great talent at Lexington. Much to like.
9 HOLIDAY SPIRIT Did not race up to par last week as he offered little in the stretch. This field is even tougher, so I am leaning elsewhere.
10 SHELIKESCANDY Hambo Oaks-eligible filly had some trot at the end of her mile. Caught post 10 again and likely coming from last.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 2-5-7-4
H Horse Comment
1 B L CLASS ACT Shows some decent lines at the C-2 level here. Draws well for this and you do get two for the price of one. Worth including.
1A ITS BUSH TIME Showed speed last time, but offered little in the stretch. Likely racing himself back into shape. Just his 3rd start since 2012.
2 TOBELL Always respect Kleinhans in these spots, especially with a sharp horse. Draws well and appears to be a formidable pace presence.
3 KENDAL GIOVANNI Just 2 wins the last 2 years and his recent form is rather mediocre. Looks like one of the longer shots in this group.
4 GET PACKIN A pace factor at the very least. Should challenge Tobell early in the mile and just needs to find a little more stamina late.
5 GET CHIPPED Hoover has a good record here and if you toss out this mare’s last try, there is a case to be made. Adds value to exotics.
6 WHATNBLAZES Offenberg has a proven track record in these sports. Toss out this gelding’s try from post 8. He was 2nd last time here.
7 JIMMER He has really been hampered by some poor post positions recently. Note, he was classified B-2 when last seen here. Interesting.
8 DON’T KNOW CHIP This horse has a history here and with Krivelin in the sulky, he will attract even more play. I don’t want the short price.
9 WYGANT PRINCE Catches the worst of the draw and I am just not sure Minore will be firing from here. May have his work cut out for him.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 5-8-2-1
H Horse Comment
1 IT REALLY MATTERS Recently added trotting hobbles and it has kept him flat. Note his runner-up try to Nuncio last year. Needs a start.
2 FLYHAWK EL DURADO The NYSS Champion from 2013 is Hambo-eligible. Would have liked to have seen a bit more pop last time.
3 KEYSTONE WASABI Also Hambo-eligible, but he finished 21 lengths behind the colt to his inside in that qualifier. Has ground to make up.
4 LUKAS HALL NYSS divisional winner is Hambo-eligible. His qualifiers weren’t bad as he finished with some interest. Value for exotics.
5 ODDS ON AMETHYST It’s hard to look much better than he did qualifying. Hambo-eligible and look who he beat last week, Father Patrick.
6 DOT DOT DOT DASH Strong performance last week, but this is a different kind of nw2, choc-full of stakes caliber horses. Will need more.
7 SECRET INGREDIENT Just 2 for 28 in his career. Raced well enough in the Weiss to earn some money. This spot didn’t come up easy.
8 TRIXTON Expensive yearling was OK last year, but his qualifiers indicate he could be a different horse coming back at 3. Very dangerous.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 8-6-1-5
H Horse Comment
1 FANTICIPATION Her form has been excellent and the 3rd place finisher from her last win was a sharp back to back winner here. Contender.
2 BLUSH HANOVER Has not raced in four weeks. Does go out for major connections. Runner-up from last was 5th against nw5 next out.
3 HUSTLE HARD Runner-up from her last start, which was 5 weeks ago, was 8th against similar at 40-1 here last week. Doesn’t bode well.
4 HAY STACKED Showed improvement last week with MacDonald in the bike, but no enough to merit win consideration here. Still a longshot.
5 ANEGADA That is a Breeders Crown winner who was 2nd in that qualifier. She showed talent at times last year. A threat if she is ready.
6 GETTINGREADYTOROLL Hard to look much better than she has qualifying. She certainly looks fit enough and looms a major contender.
7 BEAUTIFUL LADY Soundly defeated by Fanticipation last time at Yonkers. She has some ground to make up off that effort. Longshot now.
8 BOLT OF THUNDER Chalk it up that she needed her last start. The filly that beat her won a NYSS leg last year. Expecting a big effort here.
9 HIGHLAND ROCKSTAR Winner of her last mile graduated to be a decent 3rd against nw4 company at YR next out. Bottom of exotics now.
10 BETTOR BUSINESS Mare she beat in that qualifier hasn’t won since 2012. This mare’s lone win last year came in the NYSS Final.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 2-5-7-1
H Horse Comment
1 NOTREADYTOBENICE Nothing wrong with her effort last week, as it was a seasons best for her. Still is 0 for 11 on the year. Underneath.
1A ITS DE LOVELY Surprising to Miller choose off this winner from last week. Good post and versatile. Have to imagine she is a threat again.
2 WOMAN OF TERROR She was well-meant and a decisive winner last week. Likely short price coming again, but she is the one to beat.
3 ENDURING DELIGHT Miller’s presence here is very interesting. She was sneaky good last week and might bring value into the exotics.
4 THISTHATNTHEOTHER Tough trip last week, but she hung in there well. Loses Gingras, but gains Pierce. I wouldn’t dismiss at a price.
5 IDEAL A LITTLE She has out-raced her odds in both starts and has a perfect draw. With just 2 starts this year, she has the most upside.
6 ALITTLEEASTERMAGIC Raced better than I thought she would last time. Worth noting Pierce’s presence elsewhere. Up against it.
7 JARNAC This mare continues to bring her game every week, but is chasing an elusive win. I suppose we should use her underneath again.
8 ODDS ON AVETURE Continues to pick up checks and minor awards. Mare does have speed and could be a pace factor from here.
9 PARDON She had a perfect setup last week, but just wasn’t good enough. Hard to predict that she can beat ‘Terror given the draw.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 7-5-8-9
H Horse Comment
1 HANDSOFFMYCOOKIE Mare had to need her last start. This race came up just as tough, but she has a right to improve. Using in exotics.
2 SPEND IT ALL Caught a nice mare in her last two starts and is still racing well. Still, this field is difficult and I need to see a start here.
3 ART IDEAL She raced well in what was a very tough series. Gets her regular pilot back tonight and figures to be a serious contender.
4 MACHAROUNDTHECLOCK Wasn’t bad last week and she couldn’t have come home much faster. Still, it appears she needs more to win.
5 MARTY PARTY This mare went a big trip last week and continues to be sharp. She does lose Campbell though. Worth using in exotics.
6 SHINE N SHIMMER Broke through with a massive upset against softer. Now steps up into a tougher spot. Will need to improve again.
7 SCANDALOUS HANOVER Solid try last week, although she did burn some cash as the 7/5 favorite. Still, she is a contender right back.
8 MOMMA ROCK Another mare who is just really sharp right now. I will forgive that last mile and make note of her 4/18 effort. Can’t dismiss.
9 DROP THE BALL She is the best in here, but she is hit or miss at times. Also have to consider her fitness off the long layoff. Tricky call.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-7-5
H Horse Comment
1 WORLD CUP Tough trip 2 starts back. If he can find a helmet to bring him within striking range, he is a serious contender. Expecting more.
2 BOFFIN Went a tough trip last week and was stubborn in the stretch, not wanting to give up. Faces tougher, but he can improve off that.
3 FIRSTCLASSPRINCESS She hasn’t raced back to her win, which did come against softer. I need to see her step up her game now.
4 TIGER’S TOO GOOD The move to this level has clearly been too much. Better post, but he needs to face softer to show his best.
5 CORKY Had a big year as a three year old. Takter has him looking better with each qualifier. He might need a race, but he is a good horse.
6 UPFRONT BILLY The class drop may just spring him here. He wasn’t bad last week and gets away from the killers. Expecting better.
7 DRIFT AWAY Exits the same race as ‘Billy with a very similar result. Note his win against similar 3 starts back. Looms a logical contender.
8 CEDAR DOVE Only could manage a 1 for 13 campaign last year. This barn is patient so my guy tells me that she will need a race first.
9 TIME TO QUIT He has had a good year, but I think this is too tough for him. His wins have come against nw2 and nw3 types. Tough task.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 3-1-5-8
H Horse Comment
1 UF DRAGON’S QUEEN She had one of those sneaky type of miles last week. This field has some depth, but the contenders start here.
2 HOBE SOUND Raced well in the Final of the Artistic Vision. See how Art Ideal did earlier. Hard to dismiss off her last effort. Adds Lasix.
3 MARINADE HANOVER She wasn’t going to win from last, but she came close, flying through the stretch. A popular play off that effort.
4 JANIE BAY That was the second time she dropped off a no-chance B-2 effort and won. Now, it’s back up the ladder against tougher.
5 OUR ELS DREAM Note, she adds Lasix for this off a tough trip. Given some time to recover as well. Many things to like with this mare.
6 JUSTATEQUILATALKIN Good effort at Pocono last time, but she did have it tough at this level earlier. Not sure which mare shows up.
7 TOP BRAND Just an even try last week and now she loses Miller. In this very competitive field, I think it is tough to land on her. Longshot.
8 MATTIE TERROR GIRL She was really good last week, never seeing the pylons. Tough draw, but she is the one they have to hold off.
9 NOVASCOTIA HANOVER I really thought she was going to be better than that last time. Now draws widest of all and really must step up.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 9-8-3-10
H Horse Comment
1 BOSSY VOLO Gelding has been working his way through the conditions in the mid-atlantic. On paper, this is much tougher. Watching one.
2 JURGEN HANOVER I have no idea what to expect here. He hasn’t come back the same horse, but eventually, he is going to drop and pop.
3 SPECTATOR K Had tailed off a bit, but seems to have gotten his confidence back now. His last win was against similar. Rates a look now.
4 BROADWAY ROCKS Decent enough qualifier, but he hasn’t raced since August. Off the one qualifier, I am banking that he needs a race.
5 PAISLEY He is usually at his best at the C-2 level. But, he has been facing better and doing OK. Perhaps he is ready to step it up now.
6 MAGGLIO Surprised that he hasn’t been better since dropping out of the Horse & Groom. He is now 0 for 10 on the year. Not sold on win.
7 CELEBRITY STIMULUS He was OK last time. This field is fairly comparable to that. Think he is best at the level below this. Tricky call.
8 WALLTOCOUSINS Admire him for holding onto the place spot. He is racing himself back into shape and might be sitting on a big effort.
9 BLUTO Looms as the one to beat on the class drop. I will toss out the break last time at 7/2. Expecting speed tonight. Should be tough.
10 HANOVER BELLE This mare has a ferocious late kick when she is right. Tough draw and she is likely coming from last. Underneath.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-9-4
H Horse Comment
1 INITTOWINAFORTUNE She is stepping into a tougher spot off a good speed tightener. This mare has some ability. I wouldn’t dismiss her.
2 ABROKENART HANOVER She was sent off at 31-1 last week and got stung early in the mile. Still not sure she can handle this C-1 group.
3 FRIENDSNHEARTBEAT She is dropping out of a tougher spot. Got the first start around the track and she is a candidate to improve now.
4 MYSTICAL DIVA Solid effort last week behind a drop and pop winner. Draws well, but loses Miller. Still, she rates consideration in here.
5 AIR GUITAR HANOVER Mixed bag of efforts recently. I am not sure that she doesn’t need softer than this to win. Might toss in exotics.
6 BEE FULLOF STEINAM Exits the same race as ‘Heartbeat on the class drop. Note, she won only 7-1 in that spot. Expecting better here.
7 RIGHT ON MOLLY Came from an impossible spot last time. This mare is deceptively sharp and one of these nights she will break through.
8 SPIRIT OF DESIRE Not a bad try last time on the class drop, but it didn’t wow me either. She will need more in order to beat this field.
9 ARIA J Solid effort last time at this level on the class drop. She never offers value at this C-1 level though. Still, she merits consideration.
10 LEAVEUMLADY Really disappointed as the 8/5 favorite last time. Has speed, which she will need from this draw. Mixed feelings now.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 1A-5-6-4
H Horse Comment
1 NOT AFRAID Chased Quick Deal last time. The Philly surface seems a bit slower this year, so don’t worry about the time. Class is question.
1A UNCLE PETER Confirmed to be heading to the Elitloppet. I am guessing his connections are looking for a big mile from his to prep for that.
2 QUICK DEAL When he is on, we know how good he can be. That last win was as easy as it gets. The water gets much deeper now.
3 SWEET JUSTICE His winter-run feels like a long time ago right now. He has been better, but I am just not sure he is up to beating these.
4 DAYLON MAGICIAN Tried to cut the mile last time. He raced well and trotted in 1:51.2 in the process. Likely to push Sevruga early on.
5 SEVRUGA Great to see him come back as good as he has. He is yet to face the likes of these yet, but his speed carries him a long way.
6 ARCH MADNESS Typically, he needs a couple of starts to reach his best. But, his qualifiers were awesome. He might be ready to fire.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 10-3-6-4
H Horse Comment
1 HEIDI FALLS Continues to be in search of that elusive victory. I have seen Tetrick win with this trotter before. Still, not sold on the win.
2 PEGASUS BLUE CHIP This is going to be tougher than a $7,500 claimer. That said, he is sharper than most of these. Very tough call.
3 RIVERFEST Faced a tough group of mares last time. When at her best, she can easily win this race. I am expecting a bounce-back mile.
4 FOUR STARZ SPEED Veteran just seems to be struggling in his last pair of starts. Perhaps being reunited with Gingras will help. Unsure.
5 SMOKIN BARRIE You can make the case that he needed that last start. That said, I think he has to improve quite a bit to contend here.
6 WONDER BUNS Wasn’t as good last week and it is possible that she doesn’t want to be that close to the pace. I can see her in the mix.
7 MR RIDGETAKER Hard to get a read on that qualifier. I will note this is his first race since November, so I am guessing he needs a race.
8 CULTURED PEARLS Qualified behind a fast horse. That said, he seems to do his best work on the half, and has issues staying flat.
9 J CS JAKE He was 3-1 when last seen at this level, but he made a break, which seems to be what holds him back. Very tough call now.
10 TSMLIL ORPHAN ANDY I guess this is the horse to beat. Faced better last time and raced well at 5/2. Just needs to get involved early.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-3-7-2
H Horse Comment
1 BRYAN’S IDEAL You can make the case that she had no chance from post 10 and is a candidate to improve. The price should be right.
2 BREATHTAKING Tried to cut the mile, but just came up empty late. She is still racing herself into shape and I expect a better effort now.
3 SHAWNEE DANCER Really had no chance last time and now moves inside. Her efforts 2 and 3 back were good. She figures to be tough.
4 SEA CRUISE HANOVER Yet to hit the board in 5 tries so far this year. MacDonald chose off as well. Would like to see her off a helmet.
5 BELLE BOYD My gut tells me she is sitting on a big race. None of these mares were great last week and she had a tough trip. The pick.
6 ST LADS MORGAN She has not brought her better Canadian form with her just yet. She did pace home in 27.2 last week. Still needs more.
7 OFFINTOTHESUNSET Added Lasix last time, but burnt cash as the favorite. That said, her recent form is better than most of these. Use.
8 SAM SWIFTY She was better two starts back than she was last time. Needs a bounce back effort here in order to contend for the win.
9 ALWAYS ON A ROLL She just isn’t kicking in well enough in the stretch. I fear she will be left with too much to do from here as well.
10 MAGICALLY Sent off at 119-1 last week in a similar spot. Looks like she will be coming from last. Just don’t see that working. Longshot.