• Week Of 7/7 - 7/13
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  • MO8
  • TU9
  • WE10
  • TH11
  • FR12
  • SA13
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, July 13, 2013

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 3-7-2-1
H Horse Comment
1 ESCAPE THE NEWS The defending Aquarius Champion kicks off a great field. Chased Abelard last time out. He will have to use his speed from this inside post effectively. Expect him to be prominent from start to finish. Logical contender.
1A ATOCHIA $1.7 Million and still going. He has probably lost a step off his career best form. But, he is a nice compliment to his stable-mate.
2 DYNAMIC YOUTH The 2012 Cane Pace winner exits three very difficult races. Don’t forget, he won an elimination for The Ben Franklin. He fits well in this field and is going to be a major factor in the outcome. One of several win candidates.
2A STATESMAN N I think saying he is a cut below the best in here is a fair assessment. Will likely need a North American best to win.
3 OUR LUCKY CHIP He is going to take some action at the windows here. Had no chance in that World Record mile. Remember, he finished within a head of Razzle Dazzle in a Ben Franklin elimination. Could be the one to chase them all down nearing the wire.
4 HURRIKANE KINGCOLE This horse has so much talent, but the mental game has never come together. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Callahan get aggressive with him here. Could be the one to take the fight to Abelard early in the mile.
5 SHOOBEE’S PLACE He is having a great season, but beating this kind of field on a mile track is asking a lot. I will be looking elsewhere.
6 URGENT ACTION He has raced well here in the past, but it will take a new lifetime mark to win this. A longshot this time around.
7 ABELARD HANOVER You can count how many wins he has in a row for yourself. He has handled every horse thrown at him so far, including World Champions Bettor Sweet and Bolt The Duer. Milby is heading right to the lead again. The one they all have to catch and beat.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 7-2-1-8
H Horse Comment
1 MY INSPIRATION (Homebred) Chased a pair of these in her first two starts, but she wasn’t bad in either try. We have seen Trond turn to Sears often in the past and that is a move that cannot be ignored.
2 PACIFIC WINDS K (Homebred) This filly has plenty of ability. Her dam was a nice race-mare and this filly packs speed on both ends of the mile. Expect Tetrick to move her to the lead early in the mile in an attempt to assert her dominance. Here is your favorite.
3 SOUTHWIND CONFETTI ($20,000 – LEX-SEL) Yet to break the 2:00 barrier and she is coming off a sick scratch and a break. Longshot.
4 ALWAYSINBLACKPEDIA (Homebred) She has shown steady progress but will need another step forward to contend for the win here.
5 RAVINE ($32,000 – LEX-SEL) Turned a perfect pocket trip into a win last time out. She will need to trot much faster in here though. Tricky.
6 CHOCOLATE CRISP ($19,000 – LEX-SEL) Took plenty of tote action upon debut, but made a break next out. Needs to be better here.
7 DANCING FOR MONEY ($35,000 – HBG) Filly has been really sharp and she got awfully close to the race favorite last time. If the favorite were to falter, I think this is the filly most likely to knock her off. My pick to be crowned a Sire Stakes Champion.
8 CEE BEE YES ($45,000 – HBG) Went right down the road as expected as the 7-5 favorite. But is she ready to trot in 1:55. Will have to use an awful lot of early zip from this outside draw. I will be using her in exotics, but looking elsewhere for the winner.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 9-2-3-7
H Horse Comment
1 CHOCOLATE DAY ($17,000 – LEX-SEL) Colt has been racing quite well. Drew inside and has the early speed to keep close early.
2 HILL I AM (Homebred) Hard not to like what we have seen from this son of Muscle Hill so far. He has looked awfully dominant in his two pari-mutuel starts and his one baby race he finished a head behind an intriguing Takter trainee. Clearly is the one to beat.
3 SUMATRA ($9,000 – HBG) Pulled off the mild upset in Leg 2 over Southwind Spirit. It is safe to call this colt a bargain by now. Showed good speed on both ends of the mile and he figures to be prominent from start to finish.
4 ANGELS RANSOM (Homebred) Appeared to have late trot in Leg 1, but he did not duplicate that in Leg 2. Must show improvement.
5 MUSCLE MIDAS ($300,000 – LEX-SEL) He made a menacing move on the far turn and really out-raced his odds. He has some talent.
6 QUIKWIT ($100,000 – LEX-SEL) He is a sneaky horse to me in this field. He had no chance last week from post 10 and his prior effort was not bad. If Johansson can work out a trip in a live outer flow, he can earn a share of this at a price.
7 SOUTHWIND SPIRIT ($105,000 – LEX-SEL) Disappointing that he got caught in Leg 2. It was still a solid effort and it will ensure a better price in the Final. He is a bounce back candidate and the value should be there this time.
8 MUSCLE ON IN ($15,000 – HBG) He has been OK in his two starts, but he will need to step up his game to contend in this spot.
9 WELL BUILT ($30,000 – LEX-SEL) Ryder turns to Sears which is very interesting. With that move, he might get over-bet. I really liked his effort last week, making a bold first over move. The post is tricky, but he is a live contender in this group.
10 MUSCLESPRINCTONIAN (Homebred) I think this horse has a bright future, but for tonight, from this post, he will have too much to do.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 2-1-8-6
H Horse Comment
1 BEAT THE DRUM ($17,000 – LEX-SEL) Roughed it first over last week and raced admirably, pacing a solid final quarter despite the tough trip. This colt clearly has ability and he was a good looking winner in Leg 1. Must be included in exotic wagers.
2 WESTERN VINTAGE ($7,000 – LEX-SEL) Speaking of bargains, this colt is one of the best we have seen so far in this young two year old season. He has been dominant in both starts and was flattered by In The Clear’s win last week. The one to deny.
3 DOO WOP HANOVER ($52,000 – HBG) Never made the gate last week but his prior effort was good. Can hit the board if he stays pacing.
4 CAVIART CHASE (Homebred) Has shown good early foot in both starts, but his staying power has been lacking a bit. A longshot in here.
5 UNADORNED HANOVER ($4,500 – HBG) He did pace home in 26.4 last week, so that is something to build on. Still will be a big price.
6 IN THE CLEAR ($50,000 – HBG) He had an anxious moment in the stretch last week and he really didn’t win like you want to see a 1-9 favorite win. That said, the price will be much better here, but he will have to be better as well.
7 ROCK N ROLL LEGACY (Homebred) Respect the connections and this gelding is coming along nicely. A minor award likely his ceiling.
8 SWEET ROCK ($65,000 – HBG) Has run into Western Vintage in both starts so far. He packs plenty of early speed, but after watching both of those starts, it is hard to arrive at the conclusion that he will beat Western Vintage tonight. Still a key use underneath.
9 SHARK LEAP HANOVER ($10,000 – HBG) That line was much better, but the field was much softer. Think he is up against it tonight.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 5-1-3-7
H Horse Comment
1 BEE A MAGICIAN She has been perfect so far this year and is the best three year old filly trotter in North America. Her trainer has been on record calling her “the best horse I have ever trained.” Sears gets the call tonight and she will prove very tough to knock off.
2 TIME TO KILL She has been a cut below the best of this class so far this year after a great season in 2012. Would be a surprise now.
3 MA CHERE HALL This filly has a very bright future. I love the effort from last week and she is on the road to a very big season. I am not certain that she is ready to knock off Bee A Magician, but she is getting closer. One of the keys to the race.
4 FASHION ATHENA She has done well to earn $50,000 in the PASS so far this year. Racing well and had a big season last year.
5 FRAU BLUCHER This filly is the best she has ever been. She has asserted her dominance in Pennsylvania and gets another well-deserved try against the best of her generation. She had no chance from post 10 in the Breeders Crown last year. She has a big chance this time!
6 HANDOVER BELLE Another talented filly as she raced well in The Elegant Image. A bad break last time as she was a winner. Tough call.
7 TO DREAM ON This filly was a terror last year and things set up for a dream match-up on the big stage against Bee A Magician this year. But this filly has not been the same. Last week was a major improvement, but she also wired a field off soft fractions. This will be much tougher.
8 MISTERY WOMAN Was actually favored over To Dream On last week, so the betting public clearly believes this filly has ability. Miller is not going to want to get away too far back. Needs to stay within shouting distance from this wide draw.
9 CUPCAKE She was 143-1 last out in a PA-restricted stake and did not fare well. This would be a major upset. Big longshot in here.
10 TONATO OF LOVE Another that looks like a longshot as this post and scenario just does not set up well for her. Very tough assignment.
11 MISS STEELE She is racing really well but this is such a tough spot. Andy will tow along and hope to pass a few to earn a share.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 3-8-10-1
H Horse Comment
1 IDEAL HELEN (Homebred) That was a shocking defeat last week off her mile in Leg 1 of the NJSS. She is not the fastest starter and is going to be at the mercy of the pace and trip. But, she won’t be 1-5 this time either. Still a major contender.
2 DANIELLES ALL ACES ($22,000 – HBG) Never made the gate last time. Prior effort was solid. A return to that form can land her a piece.
3 MY LADY DAY ($75,000 – LEX-SEL) Watching this filly every week, she is getting better and better. I really liked her last effort as she showed maturity and great enduring a first over grind. The price should be right and this is the value of this field.
4 BOXED CHOCOLATES ($11,000 – LEX-SEL) Made an aggressive move to the lead but tired last week. Expect her to come off the pace.
5 I NEED HOTSTUFF ($107,000 – HBG) She has done well to earn a check in both NJSS starts. This will be much tougher. A longshot.
6 CUT A DEAL ($25,000 – LEX-SEL) Has plenty of early speed and she was still pacing through the wire last week. Things to like here.
7 SURFSIDE SEXY ($35,000 – HBG) That was an improved effort last week and this was Pierce’s choice. A useful longshot in exotics.
8 BOLT OF THUNDER (Homebred) She has come up a bit short in both starts so far. I did like the move she made in her last start and she has the speed to make this post a non-factor. I would not dismiss her at all. In fact she is one of my key uses in all slots.
9 FIYONCE ($20,000 – HBG) Liked her last week and she returned dividends at 15-1. Now the waters get deeper and the price will be shorter. Typically with that combination I look for value elsewhere, but this filly is another contender.
10 ROCKINGCAM PARK ($7,500 – HBG) She has looked the part of a really nice filly. Her drawing post 10 makes this race very interesting as she doesn’t pack a lot of gate speed. She is yet another filly on a long list of contenders in a wide open and great betting race.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-4-9-2
H Horse Comment
1 DREAMZZZZ R FOR U He is exiting a pair of very tough fields. The runner-up from that last mile is in the FFA in Race 1. This field is solid.
2 BREAKIN THE LAW Back to back solid tries and, with one of those coming against a similar group. Looms a logical contender in this spot.
3 A SWEET RIDE Those are three consecutive strong efforts, but I have to believe this field came up much tougher as well. A surprise.
4 ALL SPEED HANOVER That was a good effort last time and he figures to be even better tonight. Catches a stronger field though.
5 RESCUE PLAN We all know the kind of speed he has, but he wasn’t able to sustain that speed at this level earlier. Needs to step it up.
6 IDEAL CHAMP Those are some tough races he is exiting at Yonkers, but so is this. A repeat of that June 1st effort is needed in this group.
7 EMERITUS MAXIMUS Here is your wild card. Exits the Hempt, where he won an Elimination. Now he faces older. Wild piece to his puzzle.
8 MEGA LIGHTNING Coming off a sick scratch and a five week layoff makes him an outsider in this field. He would be a surprise winner.
9 PANESTHETIC Getting some class relief after facing Versado. That effort from 2 starts back looks awfully good. Might see speed, too.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 8-7-10-1
H Horse Comment
1 SPIDER BLUE CHIP Has really put it all together in his last couple of starts and tonight he gets the acid test. Post will force Pierce to be aggressive here, but this gelding has gone just as fast as any of these. One move forward away from beating this bunch.
2 SIX GUN HALL Finishing 2nd in a C-2 is not a likely stepping stone to success in this spot. I think he is up against it. Longshot.
3 DEWYCOLORINTHELINE Made an aggressive move in The Beal Consolation, but tired late. He will need to be better to contend here.
4 FICO Yet to show he can beat a field like this. His effort in his Beal Elimination has to be duplicated before he can be considered.
5 DREAMS OF THUNDER Nice win last time, but that was a field of maidens. He has had breaking issues in the past. Major step up.
6 BANCO SOLO He has been disappointing so far this season after a very nice two year old campaign. Needs a big effort tonight.
7 SMILIN ELI That track at Pocono got very tiring when it was hit with all that rain and the front end was not the place to be after the rains fell. I don’t think that race is an accurate reflection of his ability at this level and I expect a much better effort tonight.
8 YOUR SO VAIN He was as impressive as a three year old making his seasonal debut could be last time. Trotting in 1:52.4 in your three year old debut is making a statement that you are a force to be reckoned with. Will be a major contender tonight and in this division.
9 ROYALTY FOR LIFE He is incredibly fast as proven by that qualifier. But the literal night and day difference between races and qualifiers cannot be ignored with this horse. If he can get clear of other horses, he may not stop. If he doesn’t, he can break anytime.
10 CORKY He is in what has to be described as career best form right now. That was a very big effort in The Beal Final and he has to be considered a leading Hambletonian contender right now. Let’s see how he handles post 10 in this 12 horse field.
11 CELEBRITY MASERATI Colt has made a successful transition to 3 and he didn’t have much chance in The Beal. Sits in, hopes for a part.
12 RAVEN VICTORY He seems to really like The Meadowlands, but he has never seen a field like this. Really tested for class now.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 3-5-2-7
H Horse Comment
1 HUGADRAGON Did well to make the final as he approaches $1 Million in earnings. That said, he will need the race of his life to win this.
2 WARRAWEE NEEDY Fresh off his World Record performance, in which he enjoyed a perfect setup to unleash this new-found ferocious late kick. Remember, he was a horse that had brazen early speed before. In career best form, but far from a cinch in a phenomenal field.
3 SWEET LOU Did it the hard way going first over for over five-eighths of a mile and chasing down Pet Rock in the stretch. Gingras ends up on this Burke trainee, but I wouldn’t use that in your handicapping. The way the race shapes up, I think he works out a trip. My pick.
4 RAZZLE DAZZLE Passed a few to make the final, but it’s hard to pace 1:47.4 and get beat 5 lengths. He too needs a career best effort.
5 GOLDEN RECEIVER What a comeback mile from one of the toughest competitors you’ll see. Did all the work in that World Record Mile and you know he is gunning off the gate again. Chances are he will face a lot of pressure here. But if they leave him alone, lookout!
6 FOILED AGAIN He is within $500,000 of being the richest standardbred in the history of the sport. Gingras said it best last week, he paced the fastest mile of his career last week and got beat almost four lengths. This has proven to be the toughest place for him to win.
7 BOLT THE DUER The race looks better on the replay then it does on paper. He was locked in and began angling for racing room in deep stretch and was finishing with pace as well. He will have to try and out-leave Foiled Again to get a spot behind Golden Receiver.
8 ARACACHE HANOVER The move to Brennan will draw a bit of attention, but I can’t expect him to be up to winning this race in 1:47.
9 PET ROCK Miller moved him early, but he got away with very soft fractions. When a horse of his caliber goes a 56.1 middle-half on the front end, he isn’t supposed to get beat. Despite coming home in 25.3, he should have won. Now, Miller needs to work out a trip.
10 UP THE CREDIT You cannot expect someone to finish any better off cover, but the top-2 came home too fast to catch. Tough assignment.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 1-5-3-2
H Horse Comment
1 ODDS ON EQUULEUS He never saw the pylons in his elimination and he made a big move at Sunshine Beach coming down to the wire. The inside post will likely force Campbell’s hand a bit, but after last week, it is safe to say that Odds On Equuleus is ready for his best effort.
2 SUNSHINE BEACH The Elimination winner showed a new dimension going to the half in :53 and not stopping. Brennan didn’t see his previous racing style as an asset for this event and will likely be forwardly placed once again. A major threat to The Captain.
3 RESISTANCE FUTILE He rallied well in his elimination and it is worth noting that he actually went by Rockin Amadeus in the stretch. If things fall apart up front, anything can happen, but he looks like the type of big price that can fill out trifecta and superfecta tickets.
4 TWILIGHT BONFIRE Took a bye last week and found a cozy spot to prep for this at Scioto Downs. His North America Cup was a breakthrough as he was cutting his way through traffic in the stretch. Draws well and figures to find a live outer flow.
5 CAPTAINTREACHEROUS His wins may not be flashy, but he knows where the wire is and will do whatever he has to, to reach it first. That is the sign of greatness in a horse. He is looking for a race NA Cup/Hempt/Pace three-peat. I think Tetrick looks for the trip again tonight.
6 SIR CARY’S Z TAM Disappointing in the elimination and although he qualified for the Final, he will need to be much better than that.
7 JOHNY ROCK Made the lead early in the elimination but did not make much noise after that. He too, will need to step up his game here.
8 BEACH MEMORIES He was parked to the quarter and although he could only manage to finish 5th, I thought his effort was respectable. He is one of the keys to the race as he has the early speed to force the issue. A pace factor if Callahan chooses to use his speed.
9 WAKE UP PETER He just doesn’t win enough to be labeled a win contender at this point. I wasn’t overly impressed with his qualifier as he was chased home a bit to hold off a three year old filly. He has ability, but the post might dictate his fate if he gets away last.
10 ROCKIN AMADEUS Gingras put on a driving clinic in the Pace last year and stole the race. That was from post 1, so to do it again tonight will be a tall order. But, this horse has blazing early speed and Yannick’s shot to win this right, is to gun Amadeus from the word go.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 7-2-1-3
H Horse Comment
1 NOVASCOTIA HANOVER I really liked her qualifier as she was getting to Wake Up Peter late in that mile. This is clearly going to be the toughest race of her life, but I see a lot of ability in this filly and I will roll the dice and use her quite a bit.
2 I LUV THE NITELIFE She is the leader of this division until proven otherwise and her short price tonight will reflect that. She has been visually impressive all season, but she did get beat in the NJSS earlier and this race has a history of upsets.
3 SHEBESTINGIN Took a big shot against the favorite in The Lynch Final and raced very well. She has a big move to the lead and that makes for a very interesting race tactically. Likely to take the fight to the favorite early once again.
4 JERSEYLICIOUS After starting the year 8 for 8, she has lost 6 in a row, although not racing poorly, to say the least. If the race sets up for someone to come from off the pace, she is the likely beneficiary. Cannot be dismissed.
5 ACQUAVELLA A nice filly, but I believe this level is just a bit too much for her. Takes back and hopes to pass a couple for a minor award.
6 NIKKI BEACH Early in her two year old season she was viewed as a division leader. But it has been a tale of two careers for this filly. While she raced well in The Lynch, she clearly is a cut below the best of this division right now.
7 CHARISMA HANOVER This filly intrigues me. She has been dominant in the PASS and then caught two very tough trips in The Lynch. I can easily see Gingras blasting off the gate and working out a trip here. My pick to pull off another upset in The Shalee!
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 3-9-10-7
H Horse Comment
1 SIR ZIGGY’S Z TAM Beat up on softer two starts back, but was a big disappointment last time. Catches a stronger group here as well.
2 PRESTISSIMO Nice win from the outside post when last seen, but this field is much tougher and I will be playing against the repeat.
3 LONG LIVE ROCK Caught a brutal trip last time and he is a candidate to rebound with a smoother journey. I will try him in this spot.
4 MIGHTY YOUNG JOE Just could not catch Drumfire who got away with a soft 2nd quarter. Not a bad effort there. Worth including.
5 DVCFLYINGFRENCHMAN This is his first start back in 7 months, so typically I want to see a start. He looked short in that QUA as well.
6 MR MASSIMO Made a bold move in his first start back, but could not sustain the move. Might have needed the start and could be better.
7 REDNECK OUTLAW Had no chance from post 10, but he did finish in :26 flat. The Caramore winner should offer a good price in here.
8 ELUSIVE REWARD Somehow he tracked down Avenue Hanover last time. See how that horse did on Friday. This will be tougher.
9 ON THE RADAR Holds a class edge over many of these and he has beaten better than this, here before. A logical contender again.
10 DAMON BLUE CHIP The driver change will attract plenty of dollars and Gingras will find a way to get him into the race. A player.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 6-9-5-10
H Horse Comment
1 RING LEDA One of several exiting a stakes event or a Sire Stakes. He was 67-1 when last seen in this company though. A longshot.
2 ROCK ICON He raced well behind a Meadowlands Pace contender two starts back. No idea what happened last time though. Tricky.
3 STALLONE BLUE CHIP He had a belated rally last time that might draw a bet or two. I think Morrill getting in the sulky is interesting.
4 TROON Closed to finish a decent third in a pretty good field. Draws inside and will likely look for a trip. Might work his way into the race.
5 ROCKS N BONDS Big effort in the Survivor Series and he has posted back to back solid tries. Draws well and I think we will see speed.
6 LETS ROCK TOGETHER Coming off back to back runner-up efforts against good fields. I can see him being overlooked at a nice price.
7 VISA VIPER Not a bad qualifier, but he also appears prone to the miscue. He was 2nd at this level a while back. Mixed feelings with him.
8 SIR RICHARD Z TAM He might be massively over-bet based on a Meadowlands Pace Elimination line. Taking a shot against in here.
9 ONLY THE LONELY Surick had him ready last time as he was going to defeat Southwind Terror whether he broke or not. Very strong.
10 TRACK MASTER D He was a very good 2nd at this level and Tetrick has speed to use from here as well. Another contender in this bunch.
14 Fourteenth Race Entries
Picks: 8-5-6-9
H Horse Comment
1 BETTOR’S JACKPOT Well beaten in a strong qualifier but his troubles at Ocean Downs are more of a concern to me. Longshot.
2 A AND G’S DESIGN Made the lead in a pair of spots here, but had little left to offer in the stretch. Has been off a month as well.
3 ROCK N AHARD PLACE Was not a factor at this level last time and he will need to come up with a career best effort to win this.
4 UF ROCKIN DRAGON Toss out that last race as breaks into the first turn at Yonkers don’t bother me. Prior effort was sharp. A player.
5 AIRBURST HANOVER Maybe handle a bit too aggressive last time. I think Piece can use this post to work out a live trip. Value play.
6 SOMEPLACE SPECIAL Connections thought enough to enter him in the Pace. That means a very short price now. I will try to beat him.
7 WORLD CUP CULLEN Picked up a check last week, but did it at 78-1. Lachance will try to do the same, but a win seems out of reach.
8 TALKING BLUES Nice miles last time and he raced well in The Historic as well. I see plenty of upside with this gelding. Prime contender.
9 SHARK TREASURE Tried to make two moves last time and it didn’t work. He has more to offer and I think he will be a factor here.
10 MOMMA’S ARTIST Post is a killer as he just doesn’t have the speed to stay close enough early on. Looking elsewhere for the winner.