Race Reviews

  • Week Of 2/22 - 2/28
  • SU22
  • MO23
  • TU24
  • WE25
  • TH26
  • FR27
  • SA28
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, February 27, 2015

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 5-7-6-1
H Horse Comment
1 CASHAHALLIC Even finishes against tougher were uninspiring, but he rallied better in C classes. Minor consideration with inside draw.
2 MICHAEL'S WILD BOY After two straight wins at Freehold, he moves up. Recent form is a plus, but cover options are few for this stalker.
3 DREAM ROCKER Fared well at the Meadows, rallying two back. Second start for Ford for the optional $25k tag. Must be close early.
4 R SAM Weakened badly last time at this level, but emerged from traffic with trot the effort prior. Identical pace scenarios. Judge value.
5 ENDURO HANOVER Finds a much easier group than those he faced--and stayed on with--at Yonkers two back. Class drop should aid.
6 EVIL URGES A closer dispatch last week yielded an even fourth-place effort. Recent lines show him no worse than even in the stretch. Can track and stay on.
7 PROVE UP Deep closer steps up off two impressive rallies, measuring a win two back. Only concern is the lack of pace in the race.
8 CAVEAT EMPTOR Suffered from gait issues recently, but is capable enough if right. Will watch for improvement.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 4-3-2-6
H Horse Comment
1 BALLINEEN Steps down after failing to rally last week. As there's not much pace in the race, can post 1 keep her close throughout?
2 THE SUMMER WIND A lackluster first-over try last out was preceded by mild late rallies against significantly tougher. Gets relief here.
3 ROYAL MAMA A sweeping four-wide move turned into a 9-1 score last week. Plenty to like off that effort, but this race seems to shape up slower early. Still, recent efforts show promise, and Jenny Melander's winning at a 40% clip locally.
4 CAVIART SHELLY She's hit the board in her last three, and shows a speed/presser profile that fits well in this group. Comfortable class.
5 DELICIOUSLYNAUGHTY Her 12-1 win 4 back took some work, as she was hard-driven off a second-over trip. Hasn't shown much since.
6 FOUR STARZ ROE Narrowly missed second two back well behind Inittowinafortune, who went on to win again. Can add value to exotics.
7 ALWAYS AS FAST Comes back after two months, earning small checks at Pompano in her last three. Steps up, but an uncontested pace may help her cause.
8 SAWYER It took her until the half to clear last out, upon which she felt immediate pressure. Benefits from an easier trip, but from post 8?
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 8-5-6-4
H Horse Comment
1 ROYAL ICE Give credit to his bid two back, as he emerged from traffic. Inside post and limited pace may yield more traffic issues, though.
2 AGGRESSIVE Cuts back to a mile after rallying for fifth at Yonkers last out. Faces similar, but others close with stronger kick.
3 DRESS FOR SUCCESS Moves up off a pair of wins, showing good late trot in both. Much improved, but others are better proven.
4 SHEER FLEX Ignoring his last, he gave two strong efforts at the Meadows. Ships east and meets strong foes. Capable grinder/stalker.
5 CASH FOR GOLD Aside from a break in his last at Woodbine, he's shown good versatility, holding strong on the lead or rallying from just in back of the front flight. Plenty to like.
6 CAMBRIDGE Debuts for the McDermott stable after strong recent efforts. Can sustain a first-over bid, or can rally off close cover.
7 CANDY STASH Chased well from the pocket last week, but didn't sustain as well off wide bids. Others seem a bit better suited.
8 KEYSTONE BOCA After being hard used to clear last week, she was worn down on the far turn. Proven at this level, though, pouncing from the pocket two back. Gets a pass for 2/20; looks for three in her last four.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 2-6-8-3
H Horse Comment
1 WINDELL WINKIE Never involved last out, but can stay close off tracking trips. Inside post should aid, but a 4-week layoff begs caution.
2 OUTBURST Returns off a pair of solid qualifiers, showing good closing kick. Beat just easier at PHL off a bold middle move. Lots to like.
3 SCORCHER HALL Moves up after a first-level win last week, and was handily first in a DQ two back. Capable to at least hit the ticket.
4 HELIOS After battling to hold two back against C-2 foes, he struggled to involved at this level. Finds another tough group this week.
5 CLEMENTINE DREAM Mustered even finishes against tougher, but was too far back to threaten. Class drop may aid, but she lacks others' recent form.
6 ROYAL MALINDA Broke early in a 1-1/4 mile event at Yonkers last week, but shows better staying power in similar events as tonight's. Consider if she can get close early.
7 PHOTOSAVVY Drops in class and distance, but hasn't shown the late kick others possess. Eked out a win from second-over four back.
8 VIBE BLUE CHIP Steps up after five straight top-four finishes, rallying well off stalled cover two back. Can sustain uncovered if needed.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 2-5-10-6
H Horse Comment
1 WHATNBLAZES Only earned minor checks off cozy trips in recent first-level tries. Inside draw should aid, but others can wear him down.
2 DOUBLE BUNDY N A good 4-wide rally in his second start back left him outkicked for 2nd. Back in against similar foes; capable enough.
3 TWEED Hasn't raced in 18-1/2 months, returning after a front-end Excelsior win at Saratoga at three. Lone qualifier doesn't impress.
4 FLASHBACK Returns to the mile track, where past efforts show even finishes. Needs pace and trip factors to work in his favor.
5 MAJESTIC STONE Kept even last week while driven off cover, but proved a handy winner at this level two back. Best when in control.
6 CHOCOHOLIC Despite only 2 ITM finishes in her last 5, she's exerted herself early each time. Clear, cozy trip can benefit. Judge value.
7 SKYWAY CRUISER Tries the Big M after faring well at the $7.5k level at Monticello. Strong recent form is outweighed by class jump.
8 HALLANET Faltered last week after working to close a gap near the back. Was erratic 4 back, faded 2 back; will watch for improvement.
9 ALLSTAR SURVIVOR Likely overmatched after laboring in a first-level Freehold race. That said, he could take very well to the mile track.
10 COMMANDERGALLEON N Sustained a long rally well over extra distance at Yonkers earlier this month. Faces similar here; can factor.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 9-4-7-8
H Horse Comment
1 TAG UP AND GO Kicked cover at Yonkers for a narrow 26-1 win last week. Recent form can't be argued, but others close more strongly.
2 NF HAPPENSTANCE Her last M1 line shows her emerging from traffic late with good trot, but she still may need a week given the layoff.
3 B YOYO Just missed against Open II rivals last week, stepping up in class four the third week in a row. Needs a cozy trip; judge value.
4 COFFEECAKE HANOVER Despite traffic last week, she found room to save third at 24-1. Holds her own; logical price play in exotics.
5 TEAM SIX May be just a tick below the top few here, having been worn down on the far turn last week. Can stay on from a stalking trip.
6 APPOMATTOX Kept even late last week after finding himself boxed on the far turn. Not incapable, but others show better momentum.
7 MELADY'S MONET Prior to a rare off-the-board effort on 2/13, he circled the field and pounced from the pocket to win two straight. Form is good; value, not so much.
8 ODDS ON AMETHYST Was kept to task in a pocket-trip win last out, but his 1:52.3 win in the cold impressed. Needs early involvement.
9 DW'S NY YANK Qualified sharply last week, having won from outside draws in a pair of Yonkers Opens to wrap up 2014. Likely target.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 3-5-8-9
H Horse Comment
1 KEN DOLL J Was forced around dull cover to chase Inittowinafortune last week. Judge from Four Starz Roe's performance in the second.
2 KZ BEACH GIRL Lackluster recent efforts against tougher aren't that promising. A close trip could aid, but others show more potent kick.
3 TREVOR'S BEBE Drops down after saving third place last week with a solid rally. Can strike here with the right trip; shouldn't be overbet.
4 ROCK N LOAD Continues her descent after excess cover got in the way last week. Can contend for a minor if able to stalk more closely.
5 PRECIOUS ROSE N Battled gamely in her last at Yonkers, and faces similar by way of the optional $30k tag here. Solid presser/stalker.
6 MANDY'S MATTJESTY She drops a level, but shows a tendency to tire late. Class relief should aid some, but good cover is essential.
7 CRAZY ON YOU Lacked from off cover last week, but fared better at Yonkers with closer draws. Pace scenario seems tough on her.
8 DALLAS JONES Steps up off last week's DQ, but remains at a competitive level. Can sustain an extended bid, as she did two back.
9 CANDY STYX N Makes her second start back off a short layoff. Has closing ability, noting her massive 5-wide rally on 1/9. Drops, too.
10 BEACH GRANNY She's at a familiar level, staying even off a first-over bid last week, but post 10 does her no favors. Needs live cover.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 5-10-3-8
H Horse Comment
1 SPLITSVILLE Wired similar foes two back at Yonkers, and shows strong stalking/closing ability against easier foes. On the upswing.
2 TAKE MY PICTURE Drops after Open foes overpowered him. Rallied well for second at 48-1 three back. Can round out exotics if close.
3 MONEY ON MY MIND Comes back off a good qualifier, having held his own against tougher fields in the fall. Can stay on for a share.
4 BIG BILL BREEZE Debuts on Lasix after a 1:57.2 qualifier. Does, however, step up considerably from added-distance third-place outings.
5 IL MAGO Comes back after a two-month spell, kicking clear decisively in his most recent race. Sharp qualifier gives a lot to like, too.
6 MY MUSCLEMAN Showed good trot through a seam inside against Open II rivals last week. Needs to be involved early for best results.
7 SPIDER BLUE CHIP Sustained a wide bid to just beat easier two back. Fares well with live cover, and the pace in the race can only help.
8 CASH POOR Note he was carried four-deep in the stretch in last week's Open II effort. Capable here with a more direct route.
9 MARION MAYFLOWER Worn down last week, and was used hard from the outside 2 and 3 back. Good form, but others have class edge.
10 UPFRONT BILLY Steps up amid a form spree, kicking clear last week after leaving strongly. Can chase off cover, too. Contender.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 4-7-6-3
H Horse Comment
1 HAPPILYEVERFASTER Moved off the pegs twice last week, but came up empty in the stretch. Hasn't hit the board all season. Will pass.
2 LIZZIE'S DREAM Wasn't that involved in recent first-level tries, gapping cover in her last effort. Three-week break raises a red flag, too.
3 AMERICANAUTOMATION Good effort in last two, but traffic (2/19) and a long first-over try (2/13) did her in. Capable if close and clear.
4 SIR LEHIGH Z TAM Drops in class from past Yonkers races, and finds a much kinder midpack post. Good staying power shows potential.
5 ALWAYSAFIRSTTIME Kicked clear of first-level Freehold foes two back, but jumps up considerably here. Likely to be outmatched.
6 WIKEDWITCHOTHEWEST Stayed on amid traffic in two of her last three, dropping to an easier spot here. Close, clear trip should aid.
7 RHAPSODY ROSE Rallied well to save third last out, staying on from close up in other recent first-level efforts. Solid contender.
8 SMOKIN N GRININ Couldn't rally after being a shuffle last out, and struggled from post 10 three back. Will need much to go her way.
9 MS BETTY'S HOPE A seemingly good effort two back is dampened by the fact she followed the winner's three-wide cover in the stretch.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 9-4-6-2
H Horse Comment
1 SOMOLLI PIRATE Rallied well once free last week, but his inside draw may make traffic trouble more of an issue. Ultimately judge value.
2 CASANOVA LINDY Claimed by Nick Surick off a string of ITM finishes, this 12-year-old shows the best form in the field. Likely favorite.
3 WITHOUT A CLUE After good closing efforts at Freehold, he showed good late trot up the pegs at 20-1 last week. Minor consideration.
4 NORTHERN MATADOR Kicked cover and drew off last week. Had to steady when blocked two back; overlay possibilities abound.
5 DASH FOR THE CASH Just one-paced off tracking trips in his last two $12.5k tries. Too much pace here for him to be a definite factor.
6 FREE ROLLIN In his last two, he sustained four-wide rallies through the winning post--at 9-1 both times. Surely a closing factor.
7 POCKET PASSER While just beaten off a stand-side rally last week, his :29.3 LQ pales in comparison to other stalker/closers. Underlay.
8 POWERFUL VALOR Just missed at 30-1 from the pocket in his first start back, but will have to face three or four other leavers here.
9 FOX VALLEY LEGEND Rallied to win his last two, pushing through traffic last week. Lots to like, given that a pressured pace is likely.
10 FUEL CELL Held sway from Powerful Valor last week after clearing the entire field. The pace pressure will likely be more severe tonight.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 8-7-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 INITTOWINAFORTUNE Steps up off two powerful wins, but into the Open ranks from second-level events. Awfully tall task.
2 LIGHTNING PAIGE Was all-out to stay even in an upper-level race last week, having ample room on the far turn. A step below, still
3 TWIN B ELITE Rallied nicely to beat just easier last week, and consistently factors from off the pace. Can close into a minor share.
4 ADDYS WAY Faded after chasing cover last week, but rallied three-wide to a 29-1 upset 3 back. Has been hit-or-miss in easier spots.
5 RADAR CONTACT Her first-over try last week left a lot to like, as she stayed persistent. Figures strongly in exotics on the step up.
6 SIR JILLIAN Z TAM Past races show decent gains off ground-saving trips, but others close equally well. Traffic may pose biggest issues.
7 CHARISMA HANOVER Rallied for third at 90-1 in the Breeders Crown. Despite a sharp 1:54.3 qualifier last week, she's had 2-1/2 months off. Others could be sharper.
8 ICOMMANDMYSPIRIT Looks for her third straight win off stalking and pressing scores at Yonkers. Recent local efforts show no shortage of late pace against top Open distaffers. Form edge.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-6-2
H Horse Comment
1 SING OUT Faces a stout rise in class off a short layoff and an even qualifier. Past form at Freehold can't likely carry.
2 TWISTED PRETZEL He was used twice to make the lead last week, stopping late. Inside post should help him be close early. Minor consideration.
3 LAUDERDALE Was parked for over half the race before he cleared last week. Even given just a :59.2 back half, this effort earns respect.
4 DEWYCOLORINTHELINE Added hopples in good 2/19 qualifier. Closed well against tougher in 2014, but others seem sharper right now.
5 FITNESS CRAZE Drops in class after missing the board in four straight at Dover. Recent loss of ground when off the pegs gives concern.
6 WORTH THE MONEY AS His late stand-side rallies (3w on 2/20, 5w on 2/6) show plenty to like. A stalking trip can bode well in this comfortable class.
7 ANGELS RANSOM Drops a level after chasing into second at 50-1 last week. Past efforts lack consistency, though. Needs live cover.
8 WINDING HILL Prior to being locked in for two straight starts, he sustained a strong first-over push on 1/30 after leaving. Can cross over and threaten with no trouble at all.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 10-4-2-6
H Horse Comment
1 NF SOARING A first-over try two back failed to reach its potential. Traffic issues in other past races haven't helped, either. Unsure.
2 LEXIS AMIGO Wins from the pocket and first-over in his last three are impressive, but he's too likely to go off at a short price once again.
3 PRIMETIME JERRY Was never in it after an early break last week, and could only stay on in his first start back. Others seem sharper.
4 LINDY MCDREAMY Despite only a sixth-place finish last week, give his bold first-over try extra attention, as he never saw the pegs.
5 HS CERTIFIED She makes her first start for Dawn Dellaporte after Lindy McDreamy wore her down last week. Easier trip may aid.
6 HOMER JAY Consistently gains in the 3rd quarter, with or without cover. Flat late in recent tries, though. Can maybe add value in exotics.
7 MR FENWICK A front-end effort last week left him tired in the stretch, while recent deep-closing efforts came up short. Needs live cover.
8 KEYSTONE WALLACE Gave a big effort at 50-1 to hold fourth last week, staying on after losing cover. Still, largely unproven at $12.5k.
9 INVESTOR VOLO Gait issues in recent lines raise a red flag. If he stays flat, though, he can keep even for a small share.
10 MARQUESAS Rallied well in the 4-path last week to recover fourth after a severe shuffle. Closing ability + contested pace = contender.