Race Reviews

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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 Thursday, January 29, 2015

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 2-5-1-4
H Horse Comment
1 GYMNAST Royal Ice, the winner of that qualifier, came out of that heat to win a non-winners of 2 event. Still just 1 for 21. Fringe player.
2 BIG VALLEY SPEED Made a bold move heading past the half-mile pole last week, opened up daylight and was chased down by a huge longshot. Still, off that effort, in this field, this gelding appears to be one of the two major win contenders.
3 BOOM BOOM ROOM Making only his third lifetime start, so he has the most upside of this group. Likely needed that last race. Improves.
4 MASS APPEAL Never made the gate last time. She took some play in that race. If she stays trotting now, she has a chance to get a piece.
5 ELDORADO OF GOLD S Showed good speed last week, but allowed another trotter to wrestle the lead away and when Big Valley Speed made his big brush, this gelding caught a bad shuffle. That said, he wasn’t raging with trot when free. Still, looms a player.
6 MARIE ANTOINETTE Recently put the trotting hobbles on. It seemed to help her stay flat, but she needs more stamina at this point.
7 SHES ON FIRE Marshall got more aggressive with her last time, but this filly had little left in the stretch. Perhaps a more conservative approach tonight, having her come off a helmet will move her forward. Exotics consideration.
8 RC MARQUEE Hasn’t shown much in the form of gate speed which may leave him with a lot of work to do from here. Not sold on chances.
9 MUSCULARITY Exiting an improved qualifier for this. He has shown ability at times and if he can use that qualifier as a confidence builder, perhaps there is some upside with this lightly raced four year old.
10 O NARUTAC SUPREMO Gelding needed that first start back off the five week layoff. Post won’t help the cause. Watching closely for now.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 9-4-8-5
H Horse Comment
1 LOGAN M Has been progressing nicely at the $6,000 level at Freehold. Claimed and moved into a tougher spot. He is in fine form, but this particular spot will prove challenging for him. Mixed feelings here.
2 EVIL MIND He was sent off at 228-1 last time and it’s safe to say he out-performed expectations. Still a longshot, but he can rally a bit.
3 OUTA MY HEAD Has done good work since coming back from the qualifier. The last Monticello shipper at this level was just OK. Maybe.
4 BUCKEYE IN CHARGE A judges scratch last time and is now entered for $10,000. This looks like a spot that he can wake up in and we know he has a good history here. There are angles working in his favor now.
5 STIMULUS PLAN Finished 7th, but you could have thrown a blanket over that field at the wire. Drops in class and this is a critical spot for him as one would think he has to step up his game at this level.
6 CR FIXED ASSET That wasn’t a bad effort from the outside at Freehold. Still would prefer the other Freehold invader. Needs to step up.
7 KEYSTONE CAMARO Was a non-factor in a similar spot last time. This field seems softer on paper, but he has plenty of work to do.
8 SENOR GRANDE Won at the $12,500 level and drops in class off that. That is not a move we see very often and I am not sure what to think of it. I suppose he can win again, but I am a little skeptical with the class drop. Might try to beat him here.
9 WESTERN TSUNAMI Explodent, who defeated this horse last time is probably better than anyone in this field. He has plenty of speed in a suspect group and this looks like the logical alternative to Senor Grande. My top selection.
10 BUCKEYE BADDLER Making just his second starts since December 6th and draws the far outside. Recent form isn’t sharp. Not sold here.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 7-5-8-3
H Horse Comment
1 PASSING JETTA Raced well in the second round of the Super Bowl, but was overmatched in the final. Catches a tough nw2 group here.
2 PINSTRIPE PROMISE Ships to new connections off a win at Woodbine. That wasn’t a very fast mile though and this field is difficult.
3 MAXIMUS DEO Broke through with a win in his 11th try last time. Miller kept him covered up in the pocket as long as possible. It was the epitome of a perfect trip by Miller. Things will be tougher, but he has a fighting chance.
4 DONNIE DARKO Forced to qualify off those two breaks and he was OK behind a good horse in Lauderdale. Still, need to see improvement.
5 NEVER EVER CLEVER Exiting the fastest winning mile of this group and draws a perfect post as well. He showed a new dimension of speed last time and it played to his benefit. Clearly looms as one of the major win contenders now.
6 MM’S ROANIE Did enough to make the final of the Super Bowl where she was not a factor. Have similar feelings here as to Passing Jetta.
7 VEGLIANTINO Seemed to find his best stride just a little bit too late last time, narrowly missing to Royal Ice. Considering that trotter would be favored here and this horse now has a good Meadowlands start under his belt, I think she will be very tough now.
8 FERRAGAMO Took a real step forward with a much improved effort last time. Draws outside again and this race will almost certainly go faster than the race he is exiting. Still, could see him rallying for a share of this.
9 WYGANT PRINCESS Pulled off the 52-1 upset giving Marcus Melander his first Meadowlands win. This field is MUCH tougher though.
10 JAILHOUSE BLUES Mare sports a 1 for 35 record, has no speed and draws outside in a very tough field. Odds seemed stacked against.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 6-4-1-5
H Horse Comment
1 STORMUNN Her recent form is better than most in this group, granted lately she doesn’t win very often. But she catches a good field for her and it looks like she is one of the major contenders in this field.
2 MISSSOMEBEACH BLUE This mare didn’t exactly benefit from good trips when last seen here. She does enter this off a break and hasn’t won since 12/19/2013. That said, there are races, like her 12/5/2014 effort that signal she can earn a share.
3 FREETIME Moves to a new stable that may be just 3 for 33, but overall has had many on the ticket. Qualifier says she may need a race.
4 RAISE YOUR GLASS Winner of that qualifier is a near upper-level horse at Yonkers. This mare is making her first start since July and just her third start since 2013. That said, her last qualifier indicates that she is ready to go.
5 OOGLE GOOGLE Out-performed expectations in her first race back off the 12-week freshening. Unfortunately that 23-1 price is long gone and I am not sure I want to settle on a short price now.
6 SGT MOLLY PITCHER Really had no chance last time from post 10. Moves inside a few slots and things will work better. Intriguing option, especially when you consider her win to start the year at this level. Worth a flyer.
7 THISTHATNTHEOTHER Disappointing effort last time and now Campbell chooses off. There are a lot of options here, so looking elsewhere.
8 EXOTIC BEACH Last two starts have not been very productive. Zeron chooses off as well. Need to see this mare improve off her last race.
9 GOINROUNDNCIRCLES Freehold form isn’t bad, but she catches a tough division of this mini-series and draws poorly. A longshot now.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 10-1-4-8
H Horse Comment
1 BEST BOSS She was trapped behind horses for much of the stretch and had to swing way out wide before having clear racetrack in sight. Given her racing style, she always needs pace and a trip, but this post will help her. Contends for the win.
2 SMOKIN N GRININ Has finished last in three consecutive tries at this level. Retains her longshot status until proven otherwise.
3 LIFE OF SMILEY Stepping up after racing well at Freehold. This is going to be tougher and she didn’t fare well when last seen here.
4 ITSTIMEFORMETOFLY Her speed makes her look awfully good in this spot. She figures to either be cutting the mile, or sitting a pocket trip. She only needs to find a little bit more stamina for her to get her picture taken.
5 MS BETTYS HOPE She certainly wasn’t bad last time at 85-1. That was a step in the right direction. But she hasn’t won since 11/8/2013.
6 ARTSY PRINCESS After going 1 for 20 in 2014, she has won 2 of her first 3 starts this year. But, she was 6th at 92-1 when last seen here.
7 MOJARRA HANOVER This mare always has a following and takes a little money. Fanned wide and was a bit flat last time. Must improve.
8 PANCAKES Disappointed as the favorite last time after an identical first over trip to her previous effort. Gingras chooses off, too. Iffy now.
9 CAVIART SHELLY See how Raise Your Glass fared in the 4th, as she exits the same qualifier. This mare has broken stride in her last two attempts from a pari-mutuel perspective. I want to see a start from her.
10 ANTIGUA HANOVER Speed from the rail last time. She was a C-1 mare when last seen here. Draws poorly, but can compete with these. Note, she made more money in 2014 than any other mare in the race. Post will help her price. I like her.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 10-2-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 SWEET WATER JACK Lone recent win was against lesser than this at Monticello. Other form is marginal. Zeron chooses off. Not sold.
2 EXPLODENT Steps up off a solid win and doesn’t catch an overwhelming field on the move up in class. His main rival drew the far outside so Brett Miller should be aggressive from here. Looms a logical player at a short price.
3 YACHT KING Did not race badly last time, but was set up a bit thanks to a rapid pace up front. Loses Miller, but can rally for a share of it.
4 JIN DANDY Nearly pulled off the 30-1 upset last time. That was a much improved effort. He won’t be 30-1 tonight and it is worth noting that he hasn’t won a race since 11/12/2013 and that was a nw250psL6 at Monticello, making him 1 for his last 51.
5 LIGHTNING STRIKE This gelding should appreciate the class drop. Perfect post will give Marcus Miller options. Brett Miller did choose off, however he opted to the likely favorite, so don’t be swayed too much by that.
6 RACIN BEST Last seen here in a $15,000 claimer where he didn’t fare well. Last race wasn’t good either. Need to see some improvement.
7 TALBOTCREEK ARMANI Making his second start back off the layoff. Needed that last start at Yonkers and has a right to improve here.
8 GIDDY UP BINKS Steps way up off a win at Freehold. Zeron chooses off and he will need to go much faster to contend in this spot.
9 NASSAU COUNTY Didn’t have a chance from post 8 at Freehold last time. Was very good two starts back. A longshot with some upside.
10 GO WEST LUCKY He was locked in last time. Rewarded with post 10 off that, but this was still Zeron’s choice of three and he has the speed to overcome the draw. Envision him being aggressive and prominent throughout the mile.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-7-2-4
H Horse Comment
1 ALBANIAN ERA This mare wasn’t bad two starts back, but last time came up a bit flat. Catches a strong group and needs to step it up.
2 EVIL FIGHT Ten-time winner from 2014 got back on track last time and now tries The Meadowlands again where she out-raced her odds in December. She has speed and gets a new pilot tonight in Andy Miller. There are things to like here.
3 WEEKEND GETAWAY Respect this barn, it does good work at Tioga Downs. Qualifier says she likely needs a race. Watching closely.
4 SUMMER SNOW When last seen here she was overmatched in a C-1/B-2 event. She has been facing better for some time now and I would imagine that this move down in class would perk her up. Do not sell her short.
5 ACE OF PACE Left with too much to do last time and now gets a favorable post. Campbell chose off, but a better effort won’t surprise me.
6 DELLA BEA She found her best stride late in the mile last week and she was picking off horses in the stretch. This post will benefit her preferred style of racing and I anticipate she will prove difficult to hold off late.
7 MARTY PARTY This mare holds a class edge on the bulk of this field. She was facing better than this in the fall at Yonkers and she earned more money last year than anyone else in the field. Expecting better in her second race back.
8 MATT TIN ROOF Catches a tough group for this level. Technically, this is a class drop. But, she has been off-form and Marohn chose off.
9 BLUSH WITH PRIDE This mare has rounded into form in her last three starts. Brett Miller chooses off and this is a tougher spot.
10 LIZZIE’S DREAM She seems destined to get away last from here and her late kick just isn’t enough for me to rate here a contender here.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 5-4-3-6
H Horse Comment
1 AMERICANAUTOMATION Not a bad effort last time, especially when you consider she was 107-1. Has a right to step up her game.
2 HAPPILYEVERFASTER Not the fastest off the gate and just couldn’t get involved last time. Brett Miller chooses off. Not sold on chances.
3 RHAPSODY ROSE Drops to the lowest level we have seen in some time. She did come home in 27.2 last time. This has the look of a pop and drop situation. She should be tough on the move down to this level.
4 LOVE YOU BYE She raced well last time and was getting to the winner late. She has the speed to get around the inside three mares, so she should find herself in a good spot from here. There are things to like again.
5 BRING THEM HOME Good effort last time to rally up for second money. The drop in class clearly helped and how she gets an aggressive driver in Gingras and I envision we will see speed this time. Major player.
6 EASTER SURPRIZE She has been OK lately and raced well last time. Has speed, but can come from off a helmet too. Has a chance here.
7 DELICIOUSLYNAUGHTY She wasn’t has good last time as she previously displayed when racing here. Would need to return to that form.
8 ARIA J She may have needed that last start and has a right to improve here. That said, she will need to play catch-up with these mares.
9 MY TALLIA IDEAL Drops in class in making her second start off the qualifier. She has a right to improve here. The post is a concern.
10 SMOKE PAN MIRRORS Steps up off a win against Softer at Freehold. She has speed, so I guess Marohn has to blast from here.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 1-10-9-2
H Horse Comment
1 CRAZOLO Not a bad first race back off the qualifier. Draws the pole again and figures to build on that last effort. With the two major rivals drawing to the outside, he looms a serious win contender this time around.
2 HOMER JAY The trotter who once beat Muscle Hill has now not won a race since June of 2013 at the bottom level at Pocono. Moves inside and can stay closer, but I cannot endorse on the win-end.
3 NF SOARING Recent form in New York just has not been sharp enough to merit consideration. Need to see a race over the track.
4 RUSSELL THE MUSCLE Found the right spot last time and responded. This will be tougher, but maybe he has some confidence now.
5 MARCUS BI Just has not gotten back to the form we once saw in him. Need to see an improved effort before I can consider him.
6 KEYSTONE WALLACE Not a bad effort last time and now moves into a claimer again. Worth a look as an exotics possibility at a price.
7 FRENCHMEN Faced better when last seen here, but his recent form is rather dull. Improvement can happen, but that is a pure guess.
8 SOMOLLI PIRATE Sent off at 146-1 last time and was never involved in the race. Draws outside without speed. Hard to see it here.
9 FUEL CELL Sent off as the favorite last time and raced well. Moves outside but does have some speed. He was involved in a very fast mile two starts back. Looms as a logical win contender here.
10 CASANOVA LINDY This gelding has done good work so far this year and he has the speed to overcome the post. It appears that both geldings that have drawn outside will be firing off the gate. Logical.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 9-7-6-1
H Horse Comment
1 GRATIAS DEO Gelding was OK last time. Move his stock up if Explodent won the $12,500 claimer earlier in the card. Will protect position from the pole and figures to be a serious contender here.
2 PERFECT TERROR Sent off at 119-1 last time and never got involved. Would need to improve dramatically to contend in this spot.
3 LUPARA Similar to Perfect Terror, this horse was 99-1 last time out and put forth an even effort. Also would need to step up his game.
4 BREAK DANCER Moved up to the $8,000 level last time and was OK. Now will try the $10,000 level. This is an ambitious spot for him.
5 PALM’S BEACH Wasn’t as effective on the move up the ladder last time. I don’t see this as being any easier. Needs to turn it around.
6 BIG PUFF DOGGIE Has done good work recently, riding a three-race win streak. Defeated Break Dancer in that last mile. He has won on the big track before. An interesting horse in this field.
7 PENN TURBO TED Parked every step of the mile against better last time from post 10. This is a better spot and if he can work out a better trip he merits strong consideration for win honors.
8 LLC DELIGHT He has been OK in each of his last two starts, but hasn’t won here in a long time. I suppose he can get involved for a share.
9 CORKY BARAN Yonkers form has been solid and this gelding has a long history here. He has the speed to overcome the post and has been facing better lately as well. A major threat to take this field all the way.
10 FOX VALLEY TYRESE Found the move up here to be a bit tough after showing good speed last time. Same spot here. Not sold here.