Race Reviews

  • Week Of 12/14 - 12/20
  • SU14
  • MO15
  • TU16
  • WE17
  • TH18
  • FR19
  • SA20
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, December 20, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 7-8-9-1
H Horse Comment
1 MAJOR BOMBAY Raced better last time, although concerned that he hasn’t won yet since the comeback. Will take play again. Maybe.
2 BREAKIN THE LAW Making his first start since September. The qualifier was just OK. It is Burke/Gingras, so he will take some money.
3 A PLACE IN HISTORY He has won here before. His last two races are encouraging, but his Philly form is a concern. Tricky call now.
4 OPEN WATER Just 1 for 35 on the year, now with 10 runner-up efforts. Form is OK, but I am leery of putting him on top. Still including.
5 TAKESHIGEMICHI He has had one OK start and two rather poor starts here. Regardless, improvement is needed to call him a player.
6 VICTORYDAZE WILWIN The drop in class is interesting, but he was also beaten against softer at Pocono. Mixed feelings this time.
7 MY TEMUDJIN N His form has not been as solid in the last pair. But he hasn’t been terrible either. If he can race back to the effort on November 29th, he looms a major factor here. Looks like the favorite and the one to beat.
8 CABBIE’S DELIGHT I will toss out that last race as the trip was brutal. Prior to that he was facing better. I put him in play as a contender.
9 JACK ATTACK Yet to hit the board this year. His last start was an improvement. Loses Callahan, but his price will be better. Interesting.
10 FOREIGN OFFICER He certainly owns plenty of back class, but he hasn’t been the same horse this year. Miller does stick. Tricky call.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 1-5-8-3
H Horse Comment
1 FRANZO Continues to develop for team Takter and broke through with a win over a sharp horse last time. Well-bred and has tackled the best of his division at times this year. Interesting matchup with Brick Bazooka. I think he is better.
2 TICKET TO ROLL You can argue he needed a race. I will argue that he needs at least one more. Never in contention last time. Longshot.
3 SID ROCK He has been disappointing. Always believed this colt had talent. Waiting for it to kick in. Still expect future improvement.
4 HOWSABOUTAKISS Owns a recent win, but he was soundly defeated in those last two races at Rosecroft. This is even tougher.
5 BRICK BAZOOKA He looked very good debuting for Team Remmen. Gets an intriguing matchup here with Franzo, who has a beat more seasoning and a bit more class at this point. Should be a good showdown.
6 BAD TO THE BONE Moves to the Lewis barn, which adds to Callahan’s decision. Qualifer was OK, but this is his first start since May.
7 PRINCE MAYHEM Just 1 for 21 in his career and his two starts here have not been very promising. Need to see some improvement.
8 CALL ME MUDDY Another with just 1 win in 22 starts. He tends to earn a share of the pie, but I think the biggest piece is out of reach.
9 BIG LUVS LIFE Making his first start in four months. The qualifiers are a bit on the light side. Pocono form is just mediocre as well.
10 FIFTYSHADESOFHAY Enters this is good form, but he has been racing against far lesser than the best of these. Post doesn’t help.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 8-2-1-9
H Horse Comment
1 SHADIOS Interesting move into the nw3 level. His last start at Philly was better and there is some upside here. Worth including at a price.
2 ROCKEYED OPTIMIST Exiting a strong race last time. He was the beaten favorite but he raced well. His previous win was dominant. This is a tougher group than he defeated, but he is sharp and a major contender now.
3 NEW KIND Tough to get an idea how he fits at this level, moving from claimers to this condition. Toss out his last race. Bit of a wild card.
4 THEREISAPACEFORUS Nice win last time, but is moving into a tougher spot. That said, like to see the win over the track. A player.
5 KID PK His last three races have shown improvement. He draws well. Dave Miller chooses off, but he might hit the ticket at a price.
6 IDEAL WILLIE Tough beat last time. But, it was good to see the improvement he showed in that spot. Catches a strong group. Maybe.
7 SMART ROCKER Continuously moving up the ladder and continues to race well. Now moves to the bigger track. Watching this time.
8 JK PATRIOT He is still razor sharp and this is Miller’s choice. He wasn’t able to defeat Rockeyed Optimist when they last squared off, but he will likely off the better price of the two. Will call him my top selection.
9 BAKERSFIELD Raced better last time with the addition of Lasix for the 2nd time. Zeron gets the call now. Sneaky player for exotics.
10 RANCOUSY Still haven’t seen him parlay that fair form to the bigger tracks. Catches the worst of the draw. Looks like a longshot again.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 5-7-10-8
H Horse Comment
1 TWIN B HOLLISTER Kicks off a wide open race. Recent form has been solid. Seems to fit at this level. Miller did choose off. First maybe.
2 COBALT MAN On paper, he is dropping in class. But to me, this race looks even tougher. Last effort wasn’t bad. Cannot be dimissed.
3 TALKING BLUES He has been using his speed effectively to earn a share at Yonkers. A little concerned that he has not been able to last on the lead and I am not sure the longer stretch will help him. Tricky call for the top spot.
4 WARRAWEE NEEDY I think he goes off favored on reputation and name. He has been racing OK, but he burnt plenty of cash last time. He will force the pace early in the mile, but I will go shopping for a better price this time.
5 HOLDINGALLTHECARDS He has been facing some strong company lately and this is Tetrick’s choice of four. Perfect post so Tetrick will have options off the gate. Might offer the best value in the race, too. My top pick.
6 OK COMMANDER He was a back to back winner when last seen at this level. The B-1 proved to be a bit out of reach. This B-2 is tougher than what he had been facing. Things to like on the class drop.
7 AMERICAN RAGE No chance last time from post 8 at Yonkers. Faced a good group two starts back. Will be a price, but has a chance.
8 I FOUND MY BEACH He was racing at the top level in Ohio and he had no chance in his first start off the bench. Improvement is likely.
9 ROCKIN THE HOUSE First of two entering this off a win, but it came against a softer group. He will show speed, but this is a tough field.
10 K-LEES SHAKENBAKE It’s hard to go back and watch his stretch drive and not be impressed. He was pacing out of his skin. He will likely have to pass a better field from last tonight, but he did it last week. Very tricky,
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 7-10-9-1
H Horse Comment
1 JOKERMAN Moves into the claiming ranks off a win. Prior effort was strong. That was a decent C-2 field he beat. A logical contender.
2 WHITTAKER Defeated the bottom level claimers last time and now gets a bump in class. Racing fairly well. Obviously, things to like.
3 ABBEYLARA Recent form has been dull. The move down to this level last time at Philly did not help. Looms a longshot once again.
4 LIGHTNING MOON Improved effort last time in a field that appears to be softer than this. Appears a fringe player at this level for now.
5 MC ATTABOY Continues to move from barn to barn. Last couple of starts have not been very sharp. Retains longshot status here.
6 NASSAU COUNTY Claimed two starts back. Did not respond to the move to Freehold and did not beat softer than this. Not sold here.
7 ILIKETHEMTRASHY Adds Lasix for this and he has been facing comparable fields with success. Will take play, but he is the one to beat.
8 HURTIN ALBERTAN Stepping up despite not being able to defeat the level below this. That is a tough sell. Improvement is required.
9 DANSIHDUJOUR Drops out of a tougher C-1. Note this horse had been facing substantially tougher. Tough post, but he is interesting.
10 I’M THE REAL MAJOR Recent form has been excellent and this angle of shipping from Saratoga for Rohr is big. Looks solid in here.
11 DINNER GUEST Moves to a new barn off the claim. Will need to work out a trip from the second tier. Form has been solid. Including.
12 ONE MORE MIRACLE Not bad last time and steps into a tougher spot. Appears to need a perfect trip from here. Looking elsewhere.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 5-10-3-9
H Horse Comment
1 HANDSOME HENRY K Callahan’s choice is coming off back to back wins against lesser. This is a tough spot. Will need absolute best.
2 SANTA FE BEACHBOY Was not a factor at this level last time. Moves inside, which will help but is still considered a longshot this time.
3 SHOOTER’S DREAM He had sneaky pace last time on the step up. While he loses Callahan, I would give him a look in your exotic plays.
4 MACHS BEACH BOY Has found the Open level at Yonkers to be a bit too tough. I don’t see this as any easier. Will need to improve.
5 DAPPER DUDE He has been good at this level in his last pair. Blanket finish in that race last week. He has speed and an ideal draw. Figures to work out a trip here for Campell. Looms a logical contender.
6 MICHAEL’S POWER He probably should have won last time, but I won’t be too tough on him. Also found the Open level at Yonkers too tough. He will be a pace presence at the very least.
7 AL’S HAMMERED Loses Tetrick this time. Moves up off a loss against softer. That doesn’t bode well. Need to see him step his game up.
8 ODDS ON EQUULEUS He went some big miles earlier this year. Nothing wrong with the qualifier behind Rocklamation. Some concerns that he has not raced in over two months and returns in a tough spot. But, he wouldn’t shock me at all.
9 WAKE UP PETER Tough beat last time in a race where all seven horses were covered by a couple of lengths. Miller may need to find some speed here, especially considering who will be blast to his right. Tough spot.
10 GOLDEN RECEIVER Sometimes, he just isn’t good out of the pocket. We have seen that before. If there was ever a horse that post doesn’t matter, it’s him, because he is so fast off the gate. I have to figure he races better tonight.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-5-2
H Horse Comment
1 ROCKIN WIZARD Enters this off a two race win-streak. The race he won last time kind of fell apart. But, he is too sharp to ignore as well.
2 DOCTOR BUTCH He has raced here four times this meet and he has found trouble in the stretch in all four. The drop in class is significant, but I am very leery of taking a short price that continues to find trouble this meet.
3 SWEET ROCK Have I mentioned what a purchase this has been for Wayne Givens? Tough beat last time as an overwhelming chalk, but you can dismiss that. He likes this track better. Faces a strong group, but I wouldn’t dismiss.
4 ROCK ON MOE What a nice horse to own, as he is earning about $4k per start. He likes to win too. Price will be right and is racing well.
5 TYE SEELSTER Popular at the claim box recently and enters this on a three race win streak. His last race was impressive over a good group. This is a new challenge as he tackles the bigger track. Hard to leave off tickets.
6 MALAK USWAAD N It looked like he was flying last week, but the race was falling apart late. If he takes “wise-guy” play, I would be careful.
7 STONEHOUSE ADAM Continues to improve since that qualifier. Now faces a strong group, but maybe he is peaking at the right time.
8 LINDWOOD PLAYER Another horse that is very sharp in a wide open betting affair. Moving up the ladder, but you cannot let him beat you.
9 DEDI’S DRAGON Never got involved last time as the favorite. A recent private purchase and moves to Surick. Let’s see how he performs.
10 DIAL OR NODIAL Gets some class relief but is also rewarded with post 10. Miller sticks and he will have to produce some speed from here to keep him involved early on. Inclined to use him more underneath here.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 8-7-3-6
H Horse Comment
1 TRAFFIC COP Last pair of starts have been OK. Faces a couple of really tough three year olds here though. Very tough spot now.
2 EWALD HANOVER Hard to know what he was going to do had he not made a break last time. Inclined to watch this start and re-evaluate.
3 THE LUNCH PAIL Added Lasix last time and raced well. His arrow continues to point upward. I think he does his best work from off the pace while allowed to come off a helmet. The most intriguing horse in the field for me.
4 FORTY FIVE RED Tough trip last time. That said, his loss two starts back still doesn’t sit well with me. I am looking elsewhere this time.
5 CHEERS N BEES His recent form has been OK. Moves into this tougher spot. Despite the good post draw, I think he is in very tough.
6 GOLD ROCKS This is a whole new ball game with the pair leaving to his outside. He won’t be 3/5 this time, so believers will get a good number on a horse who just defeated this class soundly. Make no mistake, this field is better.
7 NATIONAL DEBT He has faced the best of his division often this year and he had some early season success right here. On the move down the class ladder, he looms a serious threat and is one of the two big chalks.
8 WINDS OF CHANGE He is the other favorite. Missed be a neck to the North America Cup winner in Lexington. His qualifiers looked really good as well and he is facing the softest field he has seen in some tough. Very tough.
9 SOMESTARSOMEWHERE He was no match for Sweet Rock last time. The two inside of him are probably even better. Not sold this time.
10 CAPOZZO Enters this off a win, but now moves up a click and catches the worst of the post draw. Ne will need to be even better to win.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 1-8-6-5
H Horse Comment
1 MEMORY GAME Has won three of his last four. Keep that positive Saratoga shipper angle fresh in your mind. Appears to fit well at this level and also gets the services of Tetrick. There is a lot to like here.
2 SPARKY MARK Left, sat the pocket and really didn’t offer much pace late. This is a bit softer, so he may improve. But, loses Callahan.
3 THE LADIES MAN He might be sitting on a peak effort in his third start off the qualifier. His first two starts at Yonkers have been OK.
4 UF ROCKIN DRAGON Improved last time and perhaps the longer stretch at The Meadowlands will be beneficial for him. Closing threat.
5 MOJO TERROR Tough trip at Philly last time, but still raced well. See how this barn has been performing as it can be streaky. Contender.
6 LONEWOLF CURRIER Facing a bit softer after racing well beyond his 69-1 expectations last time. That price is long gone as he will be one of the favorites this time around. Good post for his racing style. A top contender.
7 LUCKY MAN Mixed bag of efforts recently and Gingras goes elsewhere. I would like to see a start here before I can consider using.
8 GAMBLER’S TALE Exits a good race and note he raced well at this level before, both times at a nice price. He might escape as value.
9 ROCKNROLL JEWEL Stepping up off a win. He has been racing well and he has speed. New pilot tonight as well. A pace factor.
10 ARTHUR Also enters this off a win. But, going from post 1 at Yonkers to the 10-hole here is very tricky. Will need even more this time.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-8-3-4
H Horse Comment
1 GUNS AN ROSES Missed a week with a sick scratch, so that is a concern. Previous form was solid. Has speed. There are things to like.
2 ROCKAVELLIAN Found the right spot last time and it paid off. Gingras chooses off and moves up the ladder as well. Tough task.
3 GIDDY UP DELIGHT Seems to fit fairly well at this level. He has speed if MacDonald wants to utilize it. One of several contenders.
4 DOCTOR CARTER He has been facing strictly three year olds in his last three starts, so this will be tougher. He was Miller’s choice.
5 JOHNNY Z His recent form is solid. He was left with too much to do last time. I liked seeing Zeron get the call here. Perfect post. The pick.
6 GEORGE JETTISON No chance last time. Prior form was OK. He is just 1 for 24 on the year, which is a concern. Mixed feelings for this.
7 MR COOLIE Beaten favorite last time and I am concerned that he was well-beaten in his last start here. Leaning elsewhere for winner.
8 TOP GEAR That last field he faced was better than this. He has speed and Burke is the best at putting his horses where they can win.
9 THE POKESTER Not sure what happened last time. Exits the same race as Top Gear and I wouldn’t be surprised if he bounces back.
10 ART OF ILLUSION Faced a good group last time. Prior three starts were OK. The post is tricky. I will be watching this time around.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 9-6-8-5
H Horse Comment
1 STAY UP LATE I don’t know what to make of his last two races. Took a ton of money in both and just did not fire. Need to see more.
2 DRAGON LORE Was not able to duplicate that solid effort last time. He has speed and the post improvement will help. Interesting.
3 HOT SHOT LAWYER A little concerned with his last two starts. Miller chooses off this time. I want to see an improved effort now.
4 DELAWARE HANOVER Big class drop last time, but was still unable to break through and win. Callahan opts here, but I am watching one.
5 DREAMLANDS ART The last time we saw him at this level, he turned a perfect trip into a win. This field is tougher, but I will be including.
6 CODE WORD He owns a ton of back class and he had no chance last time. Perfect post to give his pilot options. Hard to leave off tickets.
7 ROAR He has been OK since the class drop, but I think he should have been better. Likely to take money again. Will use underneath.
8 PIECE OF THE ROCK Recent form has been OK, though a win has been a bit elusive. Loses Callahan this time. Mixed feelings here.
9 ALLSTAR PARTNER His season has been disappointing. That said, his last effort was an improvement. He might be rounding into form.
10 DULL ROAR He will need to make speed from here. Beaten favorite at a level softer than this three starts back. Maybe a small share.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 7-5-3-1
H Horse Comment
1 WHAT I BELIEVE Enters this off back to back wins. Moved to Burke last time and he romped. Looms as a major contender in this spot.
2 OK GALAHAD Has not raced in nearly two months and his qualifiers were OK. Typically, I want to see a start under these circumstances.
3 MIDNIGHT DUDE Adventurous trip last time and he just missed at a big price. Miller’s choice won’t be 19-1 this time. Logical contender.
4 DIABANDO He was OK at Saratoga last time, but this is a tougher spot and he will need to go much faster. Looking elsewhere this time.
5 GLORY BEACH Also shipping from Saratoga, but this gelding has been in better form. Has speed too. There are things to like in here.
6 L DEES JAGUAR Continues to earn a share in all his starts here. Always offers a price too. Not using on top, but will use underneath.
7 BETTOR BELIEVE IT Faced a better field last time and was favored and led to mid-stretch. Doesn’t keep Miller, but he has a big shot.
8 MAJOR UPTREND Barn change and ships up from Delaware. He might improve, but I want to see a start before I can consider.
9 ACE OF SHARKS If you toss out that last start, you can make an argument here. He will need to get into the race sooner. Must improve.
10 STEADY WARRIOR Both starts here have been good. The outside post is tricky and he loses Miller. But, I wouldn’t let this horse beat you.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-1-2-9
H Horse Comment
1 LITTLEBITACLASS Catches a field that that is a bit suspect. No chance last time. Broke before that. Now gets Gingras. Takes play.
2 STORM THE BEACH This barn is going very well to the start the meet and this horse has been in good form. Fits well in this spot.
3 PRINCE SHARKA Concerned by the final quarters in his last two starts. He will need to be better than that. I want to see improvement.
4 SEEK THE DRAGON Was not able to defeat the bottom level and this is tougher than that. Miller chooses off as well. Not sold here.
5 HOT RODDY If you can look past that last effort, he has plenty of appeal. This field has some question marks. I would recommend using.
6 LUCKY LUCKY LEO Beaten favorite last time has been OK lately. Gingras chooses off, but I can see him hitting the ticket this time.
7 SIX GUN Last pair of starts at Freehold are concerning. This is going to be much more difficult. Looms a longshot this time around.
8 LENNON BLUE CHIP Given another chance at this $20k level despite last week and being claimed for $15k. Think he needs softer.
9 RALBAR Enters this off a win from a very difficult spot. He will be left with a lot of work to do here. Not sure he can pass the entire field.
10 WOODMERE ULTIMATE Callahan will need to put him in play early. His last two efforts are concerning. Mixed feelings this time around.