Race Reviews

  • Week Of 5/24 - 5/30
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  • MO25
  • TU26
  • WE27
  • TH28
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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 Saturday, May 30, 2015

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 7-2-1-3
H Horse Comment
1 A BETTOR HAT Ambitiously spotted last time and he will appreciate the class relief here. Gelding didn’t race badly when last seen here and this field is not overwhelming. He is a logical contender.
2 MUFFIN’S MAN Colt is making his second start off the layoff. He didn’t race poorly in his first start back. Now making his second start for Burke as well. He lands on the list of contenders as well.
3 BRUCE’S MAGIC Made up a lot of ground in the stretch in that qualifier. That was encouraging to see. This colt still hasn’t fulfilled all of his potential, but I can definitely see him taking a step forward here.
4 ROCK ON THE HILL Qualified well at Yonkers, but was a non-factor when last seen here in April. Inclined to watch a start at this point.
5 BEACH BUM BERT Gelding has been struggling this season. Shows a couple of good final quarters but I still need to see more to consider.
6 HAWKEN Did not make much of an impact in his 2015 debut at Freehold. Showed some good efforts as a two year old. Still a longshot.
7 ARTSMAH Gelding picked up steam at Pocono and put it all together in that last start. Faces a better group here, but is the only horse in the field entering this race off a win. Has plenty of speed as well. Looks like the pick.
8 ARI’S TURN His last effort was an improvement. But, I still didn’t see enough to warrant win consideration at this time. Still a longshot.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 6-3-1-5
H Horse Comment
1 ODDS ON EQUULEUS He really couldn’t have finished any faster the last two weeks, it just so happened that the leaders didn’t come back to the field. The shorter field will help him and we know he can fly late. Consider.
2 JENERAL PATTON He certainly hasn’t raced badly of late. But given the quality of this field, I suppose he is the “longshot” of the group.
3 DAPPER DUDE He remains very sharp right now but he wasn’t able to hold off Art History in the stretch last time. He will need to solve the rival as they hookup again tonight. Perhaps a pocket trip could turn the tables.
4 SPEED AGAIN He hasn’t been as sharp in his last pair and I do have some concern that he lost ground in the stretch. Veteran will need to step up his game this time around.
5 BLATANTLY BEST When last seen at this level, he was a winner. He runs into an incredibly sharp horse though and his last pair of efforts have not been as good. He appears likely to get away last as well.
6 ART HISTORY Hard to find a horse in better form right now than this gelding. His speed is lethal because he can continue to carry it throughout the mile. It makes him even more dangerous in a short field. Will look to control this from start to finish.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 4-5-9-10
H Horse Comment
1 PAIR A DICE Shows a win at the bottom level at Freehold two starts back. The move up in class proved tough. This is tougher, still.
2 HIGHLAND TERRIFIC Narrow loss last time against lesser at Freehold. Tetrick’s presence may attract some wagering dollars. Needs best.
3 NABBER AGAIN Another who has been knocking heads against lesser down Route 9. Gingras’ presence may have some appeal. Tricky.
4 BATTLESHOE TOM His last two starts surpass what his three rivals to his inside have done. Seems to fit well with this group. Contender.
5 ROCK FAME He is exiting much better competition than the majority of this field, granted without any success. Still, if he can pace in 1:52.3 again here, that puts him right on the wire with this group. Tough to take a short price given his current form.
6 LITTLE GOLD RING Not bad last time and is another who will try the bigger track. Still would need to improve to have a chance to win this.
7 MAJOR BLUE COAT His win at Freehold also came against far lesser. His last pair of starts are concerning. Needs to elevate his chances.
8 EXPENSIVE TOY Hard to get excited about his recent form. Has been facing better than most of these. Might be ready for better here.
9 A EXSCAPE ARTIST Of all the horses shipping from Freehold, he has been facing the toughest class of competition there. Form has been mixed, but he can rally for a share of this.
10 UF FAST FEELIN Feel similarly about this gelding as I do about Rock Fame. He has been facing better, but the form is lacking. Still might just be faster than the majority of these. Post is a concern if the price is on the short side.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 10-4-2-1
H Horse Comment
1 MARION MILLIONAIR Made a break last time leaving the gate. Put forth a good effort behind the overwhelming favorite two starts back. She will try to effectively utilize her speed to protect position and earn a part of this.
2 RULES OF THE ROAD Her speed has been very effective in two of her last three starts. If Mission Brief were to make a mistake, she is one of the most likely winners of the race. But except for that scenario, she is probably racing for second.
3 MODEL BEHAVIOR Out-performed expectations last time with a much improved effort. She would need further improvement to contend.
4 RILEY’S DREAM It’s hard to believe this filly is yet to win a race because she never seems to put forth a bad effort. It would be difficult to predict that her first win would come against Mission Brief and would have to believe she is battling for a minor award as well.
5 DYNAMITE DAME She has not had much success at this level yet. She was left with a lot to do last time but is a big longshot here.
6 DEMONS N DIAMONDS Very difficult to endorse this filly given her current form. She would be a huge surprise in this spot.
7 BLK THAI OPTIONAL She didn’t race poorly last time, but that was an even effort. Waters only get tougher here. She is a longshot, too.
8 SOUTHWIND CARTIER This filly has not had much success since arriving here and would be a surprise as well. Another big longshot.
9 JOSIE’S JOY She took some support last time and was OK. Granted, she will need to be much better than that to win this race.
10 MISSION BRIEF On ability, she is head and shoulders above any other three year old filly trotter, let alone this group. The post may make things interesting, but it’s hard to imagine anything but a miscue tripping her up here. Expecting another win tonight.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 2-1-7-6
H Horse Comment
1 MAMBO ITALIANO One of the sharper horses in the race continues to put forth one good effort after another. He performs quite well for this barn, too. Looms as a logical contender once again.
2 MAH SISH N Respect anything this barn puts out and this horse is exiting the top level at Freehold. He was a winner two starts back and had no chance last time. He looks like a win candidate on the ship north.
3 HOT RODDY Back to back solid tries on half-mile ovals. He didn’t race badly when last seen here, either. Might offer value for exotics.
4 A PLACE IN HISTORY In relatively good form leading up to this and has raced well at some inviting odds. I think his price will be a bit less tonight, but square enough to warrant a win-saver.
5 MURDER HE WROTE An even try in a fast mile last time. This is his second start off the sick scratch and he can be ready for improvement.
6 OLDE TIME HOCKEY The winner of that qualifier came back to win a leg of The Graduate at Tioga. This gelding fits well at this level. I do have some concern over the one-month gap in the two qualifiers. Tricky.
7 RELENTLESS DREAMER Has put forth three respectable efforts in a row and seems to fit well in this spot. Gets Campbell back in the bike. There are several things to like here.
8 BETTOR B Nice win off the long layoff at Freehold. Obviously, this is going to be tougher. Will take a wait and see approach for now.
9 STEADY PULSE Good win two starts back but not as effective on the move up in class last time. No Allstar Legend in this field, though.
10 MOONLIGHT RANSOM He has been facing better than this recently and should appreciate facing a more reasonable group. The post is not helping matters, but I am still inclined to include at this point.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 8-4-6-5
H Horse Comment
1 GRATIAN HANOVER Has found the Sire Stakes competition to be too tough, thus far. Would take a career best to pull off the upset.
2 ROCK OF THE AGES The post didn’t help matters last time, he wants to stay closer. Still think he is in rather tough at this level for now.
3 EDWARD TEACH He was a bit better last time and finished up nicely. Not sold that he can jump up and defeat these, but may use in super.
4 HURRIKANE ALI He has been super-impressive this year and at this point, he could be any kind. He gets a real test tonight, going up against the champion two year old from last year. Very intriguing showdown here.
5 REVENGE SHARK I thought he raced very well off the month layoff last time. Loses Tetrick tonight, but he can hit the ticket at a price.
6 GOKUDO HANOVER What an over-achiever this gelding has been. Back to back runner-up tries behind the two favorites have been impressive. On paper, he is probably third-best in the Final.
7 MOHAWK WARRIOR Not bad in round one, but had no shot in round two. He would be a big surprise if he were to win this race.
8 ARTSPEAK After some questions leading up to his three year old bow, he couldn’t have looked any better in his initial start of the season. A repeat of that performance will land him in the winners’ circle once again. The one to beat.
9 DEALT A WINNER Round one showed that he still has ground to make up on Artspeak. He missed week two with a sick scratch. Expect him to make one late move from here.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 8-1-5-6
H Horse Comment
1 FREDDY DAY HANOVER Liked him in that spot last week and he scored at 13-1. That price is gone, especially considering he is partnered up with Grab Your Keys. This race is a handicapping puzzle and he is one of the pieces.
1A GRAB YOUR KEYS Beaten favorite at this level last time. It was a narrow loss, but behind a horse that was 76-1. He does hold a class edge on many of these and should still be considered a win contender.
2 FRITZIE PIC UP MAN Was right there in the three-horse photo last week as well. Another sharp horse and he should offer a price here.
3 BULLET BOB Tough beat last time, but he raced well. That was a step in the right direction and another step forward makes him appealing.
4 ELECTRIC OUI Pulled off the shocker last time. His 1:50.4 mark at Yonkers is one of the fastest miles in that tracks history. Callahan does choose off though and it is tough to take a shorter price now.
5 YOU BET YOUR GLASS Went right down the road last time at a short price. Draws the perfect post and is obviously a threat to do that again. Another that lands on the long list of contenders.
6 DRAGON LORE Added Lasix last time and didn’t race badly. He might take another step forward here and if he does, he will be a viable win contender in this spot.
7 MY TEMUDJIN N He was favored last time and was narrowly defeated. Loses Callahan though and feel that others entice more here.
8 SMART ROKKER This gelding has gotten back to form since the class drop. He draws outside but this is Callahan’s choice of three. Expecting another solid performance at this level.
9 MARTINI HANOVER One of six horses in this race that was sent off at less than 2-1 at this level last time. He is another that raced well. Has to overcome the widest post, but is certainly not without a chance.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 4-6-1-2
H Horse Comment
1 LINDY’S OLD LADY Filly is a perfect two for two to start her career and one of those wins came in NJSS competition. That is not easy and this lass has to have real talent. Curious to see how she can stack up against Happiness here.
2 WICKED LITTLE MINX Put forth a career best effort last time, opening up daylight and holding on. She seems to have found her best stride. Loses Tetrick to the filly inside and while I think she is more likely to finish underneath, don’t overlook her.
3 THE SHOW RETURNS She has been disappointing to start her three year old campaign. She raced extremely well at times last year and will need to re-find that form if she were to win this race.
4 STACIA HANOVER She came with a flying finish last time, but simply ran out of ground. She hasn’t race badly at all this year and is a viable candidate to pull the mild “upset” over the top pair. She is a value-based option.
5 CHEYENNE ROBIN Really responded to adding Lasix for the first time, but regressed last time out. Must race back to prior effort now.
6 HAPPINESS It’s safe to say that this filly looks like the real deal. Back to back impressive efforts in the Sire Stakes. She seems to be poised for a huge three year old season and looms as the one to deny here.
7 HOLLYROCKER Out-performed expectations two starts back. Had no chance last time. Still rate her a longshot to win this race.
8 QUICK AINT FAIR She hasn’t raced poorly in her two sire stakes tries. She will need to elevate her game to upset this group, though.
9 LISSAN This filly is a really tough sell following her most recent effort. She would need to improve dramatically to contend here.
10 CRESCENT CITY Left with too much to do last time. She was just OK in that first sire stakes try. Appears to be up against it from here.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 3-5-6-1
H Horse Comment
1 CLINT WESTWOOD Getting some class relief after facing better the last pair. Beat similar at Pocono three starts back. This field is pretty tough, but he has as good a chance as any.
2 IDEALBEACH HANOVER Winless in 19 starts this year but coming off the best race of the season for him. Steps up, faces tougher now.
3 UNLOCKED Takes a class drop here. He really had no chance in his last pair, while facing some good competition. He has the look of a horse on the move down and better post that can do some good at a price.
4 K-LEES SHAKENBAKE Another class dropper. He has run into some good horses lately and his late kick has not been as effective. Expecting him to arrive late on the scene for a share of this.
5 MISTER VIRGIN That trip against Art History just wasn’t going to work out. Now, he moves back down the ladder and if he can race back to his previous effort, he looms a very dangerous contender at a short price.
6 MISTER TRUTH Toss out the last race. His previous two efforts against better horses were not bad. He has speed if Callahan wants to use it. He will play the part of a contender.
7 WINDSONG GORGEOUS His best race is on the lead. He doesn’t seem comfortable in the pocket or in an outer-flow. If I were backing him here, I would be hoping that Campbell would be sending him along.
8 GOOD DAY MATE Another horse that will be happy to get away from Art History. His form is a bit light though. I will wait and see here.
9 ROCK STAR He responded to the class drop in his last pair of starts.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-2-6-10
H Horse Comment
1 BUBBIE BOY A horse with some back class. He can win in this spot with his best, but his recent form is a bit suspect. Tricky proposition.
2 MAGNUS DEO He looks like the chalk here. His last three races stand out in this field. The post improves as well. There is a lot to like now.
3 STONEBRIDGE TONIC He has won two of his last four starts. But neither win came here. Gingras goes elsewhere. Mixed feelings now.
4 ONE MORE MIRACLE He has speed. Stamina appears an issue, although he had something left last week. Could be a pace factor.
5 STONEHOUSE ADAM He showed good speed on both ends of the mile. Moves to a perfect post to give Gingras options. Major player.
6 THE BRUISER He rallied well last time despite being 73-1. Sears’ presence always seems to attract money. He can win with a trip.
7 STIMULUS PLAN The lifetime record doesn’t inspire much confidence. His last race was marginal at best. Looks to land a minor award.
8 CONORS CONCORD Winless this season and hasn’t shown much in his Big M tries. Would need to see him take a major step forward.
9 ANDWIN HANOVER He was OK last time, especially when you consider the price he offered. Believers will get another big number here.
10 BREAKIN THE LAW His last two efforts have been solid. He will need to use his speed to get involved from here. Not without a chance.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 2-4-6-5
H Horse Comment
1 TOTAL DARKNESS Appears to be in very tough at this level. Raced well in the opening leg. But he will need a lifetime best performance.
2 FRENCH LAUNDRY His last start was excellent. He asserted himself as one to watch this season. Obviously, he is one of the big three contenders in this group. My pick in a very top-heavy field.
3 CRESCENT FASHION Enters this off back to back decent tries, especially the last one from post 10. Still needs to pick it up some.
4 CANEPA HANOVER I will be curious to find out how much money he takes on the switch to Gingras. He has a big late kick and if things set up well for him, he can certainly rally for the win.
5 ALDEBARAN EAGLE He has far from disgraced himself in his two sire stake tries. It remains to be seen if he can jump up and beat the top three, but he certainly will offer the best price.
6 GUESS WHOS BACK He has come back a perfect two for two, although I thought he has appeared rough at times. High on talent, but I think I would prefer one of the other two if this trotter goes off favored.
7 SOUTHWIND MOZART Interesting to see Campbell get the call. But he would need to improve leaps and bounds to contend for the win.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 3-1-4-8
H Horse Comment
1 SHADES OF BAY Good win against a field of maidens and didn’t race poorly on the step-up. Faces My Name Is Sam again and will need to improve a touch to defeat that rival.
2 ROCKNTOUCH Beat a softer group at Yonkers last time. This will be tougher. Note Sears drove him last time but is elsewhere here.
3 MY NAME IS SAM Despite the loss, that was probably his best effort to date. He figures to only improve off that. Gingras goes to the Burke trainee but I believe this horse to be better.
4 BULLSEYE Really had no chance last time and he didn’t race badly. His previous efforts were decent too. Has a chance to rally into it here.
5 RIVER RUNS DEEP He seems to have tailed off over his last few starts. Would need to turn things around if he were to contend here.
6 BOBBY THE GREEK Found that last race to be a bit too tough. He raced well here in April. Needs to get back to that form. Earns a share.
7 WELL BRED Enters this off a good qualifier. He showed some good form at The Meadows as well. Gelding would need to step it up a bit.
8 OK GORGEOUS Nice win in a fast mile at Pocono. His Meadowlands form does concern me a little. Need to see him do it here. Maybe.
9 BADIOU HANOVER Another entering this off a nice win. He made the PASS Championships last year. Has a bright future. Another maybe.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-8-3-7
H Horse Comment
1 ETERNAL POWER His win came against lesser. He had no chance last time at Freehold. Would need to step up his game here though.
2 PIECE OF THE ROCK Exits a win at the top level at Freehold. This field is rather top-heavy. Envision him earning a share of this race.
3 KNOCKING AROUND Parked the mile last time and did not race badly. Prior form was OK. This could be the price horse to include.
4 BOLDER Enters this off back to back decent efforts. This will be tougher, but he has won here before. Not without a chance this time.
5 DANCIN HILL Good effort last time and it seems that this gelding is getting back on track. Perfect post and a short price. The one to beat.
6 SHADOWS DREAM Hard to get excited over his recent form or the 2 for 52 record over his last two years. Needs to improve at this point.
7 TREND SPOTTER Did not make much of an impact last time, but he did have some pace late. With a trip, he could be interesting here.
8 LONG LIVE ROCK Class dropper has had success against better than this level. He figures to respond to the class relief here. Logical.
9 ROCKNROLL REALITY Making his second start off the layoff so he can improve. Not much speed, so he will be forced to rally into it.
10 ROCKAHOLIC Not bad last time, but he will need to use a lot of speed from this outside post. If he makes the top, he might earn a share.