Race Reviews

  • Week Of 7/27 - 8/2
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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 Friday, August 01, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 5-2-3-1
H Horse Comment
1 VIDA DE VIE Earning consistent checks recent at The Meadowlands. That looks promising in this spot. Draws inside. Likely to be a factor.
2 UPFRONTSTRIKESGOLD Similar form to Vida De Vie. His best has been better than others though. Looms a strong win contender now.
3 CURRENT CRISIS Enters this off a sharp win in The Billings. Recent form has been solid as well. Krivelin is one of the best amateurs.
4 WYGANT PRINCE Also enters this off a Billings win, but his Meadowlands form is not nearly as strong. He looms a longshot this time.
5 AND HEEZ PERFECT He shows a line against some serious horses and he has been facing better. Perfect post. My top selection now.
6 NF SOARING Not a very good showing on Tuesday at Yonkers. Previous form was OK, but not spectacular. Minor award appears ceiling.
7 ANDIE SOPHIA This mare was a really nice three year old. This year has been a much different story. Beat the bottom level at Tioga last.
8 CELTIC MERCHANT Mixed bag of efforts but the concern is his most recent try here. He will need to be much better than that to win.
9 ROSE RUN NASH He is sharpening back up and I respect any horse that wins 14 races in 7 months. That said, this is a tougher task.
10 CSI WHAT’S MY NAME I would like him better had he drawn more inside. I wouldn’t be shocked by a good effort, given his form. Maybe.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 4-8-2-1
H Horse Comment
1 ANNALIINA Dam is a kin to some solid performers. Filly has been solid early on. Winner of last is a contender in Merrie Annabelle. Using.
2 SPEAK TO ME Third richest two year old filly in training. From the family of Lookout Victory ($1.9 Million). Word is she wasn’t ready when staking payments came due, which is why she is here and not The Merrie Annabelle. Very impressive so far. The chalk.
3 MEADOWBRANCH LULU A kin to 5 winners. Exits the Sire Stakes in Pa, but her efforts there were just marginal. Needs to step things up.
4 CRAZY BEAUTIFUL Beaten by a freakishly fast filly in Annabelle elim. There is more in the tank with her as she showed plenty of potential in her second baby race. May offer value in this spot. The pick to upset the favorite at a decent price.
5 BEE THE QUEEN From a strong family. Her dam earned $400k. Like the driver change to Campbell. Still, she is in very tough in here.
6 L DEES MAGGIESBEST Dam is a kin to Royal Shyster ($316k). This is her first foal to race. Needs to improve to contend with these.
7 CATHERINE’S MELODY Good family that includes Filly At Bigs ($655k). This is the dams first foal to make it to the races. Longshot here.
8 SWEET THING Sneaky pedigree on the dams side and it has shown in her performance. Toss out the Annabelle as that was too much for her right now. Norris has to driver her own so she picks up Pierce. Very interesting with some upside as well.
9 ARMATRADING Broke in her only lifetime start. Homebred is a kin to Banco Solo, who is a decent horse. Still, need to see more.
10 CHRISTINE SIXTEEN Comes from a nice family that includes Surtees Hanover ($408k). Dam made $482k as well. Tough post though.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 8-5-1-4
H Horse Comment
1 PAD PRINCESS She has been awfully impressive so far, but does yield experience to some. A kin to pair of winners as well. Likely to offer a decent price and seems poised to make that $16,000 yearling price look like a bargain. One negative is Lasix already. Worth a long look.
2 RULES OF THE ROAD Really out-performed her 47-1 odds last time. Winner of that race is a major contender in Annabelle. Interesting.
3 JOY GLIDING Burnt some cash as the chalk last time and now loses Callahan. I like her pedigree, but feel she is in tough this time.
4 JOSIE’S JOY Made a break in her only lifetime start, but rebounded nicely next time. Runner-up in last was 2nd in NYSS at Yonkers. She is a kin to Smilin Eli who is a very talented trotter. She will contend if she stays trotting.
5 KELSEY’S KEEPSAKE Yet to be sent off at odds of more than 7/5 in her young career. Filly that she lost to in her debut was favored in the 2nd race tonight. Winner of last is a nice filly. This spot should fit her well. No Brian Sears tonight, but she still will prove tough.
6 MALALA Her dam is a full-sister to Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo. I am not seeing the progress I would like to see. Watching this time.
7 UF LINDSAY LOU WHO Comes from the family of Spellbound Hanover ($962k). Seems to be developing nicely. Still has to go faster.
8 BRIGHT BABY BLUES Her dam won the Hambletonian Oaks. She has been progressing nicely since her first steps on the racetrack. Looks like an interesting alternative to the likely favorite that is worth considering.
9 KIRSI HANOVER Both siblings are winners. Comes from the family of the accomplished Aunt Mel. Efforts so far are decent. Using a bit.
10 SOBTI HANOVER A kin to Spellbound Hanover, so from the same family as UF Lindsay Lou Who. Has some improving to do here.
11 THAT’S SO IRONIC She hasn’t been bad so far. A kin to a winner. Concerned about the second tier with a freshman filly. Mixed feelings.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 5-6-1-8
H Horse Comment
1 DYNAMITE DAME From the family of Bold Dreamer ($531k). Beaten by an insanely fast filly in her last couple of starts. Gets away from Mission Brief here and that may be all she needs. Won’t offer anything close to her price in her first two starts though.
2 CONTRAIRE From the family of Feel The Motion ($453k). Morning sessions have been lacking a bit. Would need to step up her game.
3 ALLERAGE STAR Hasn’t been bad on the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit so far. Remains to be seen if she is as fast as the favorites though.
4 KITE FLYER From the family of Aunt Mel ($280k). Lone try wasn’t bad, but she will need to trot about 5 seconds faster in her debut.
5 SATURDAY MORNINGS Just like the filly on the rail, she too avoids Mission Brief this time. I think this filly may be the better of the two as she is a proven winner already. Expecting her to go right to the lead. The one to catch and beat.
6 STIRLING DIVA A kin to pair of six figure earners including Ellen’s Isle ($276k). See how Pad Princess fared in the 3rd race. Exotics value.
7 MAGGIES BED Filly has not shown much yet and has a lot of work to do to catch up with the main contenders here. A longshot again.
8 FASHION GAB ALOT Dam earned over $300k. Lone start from the outside slot at Pocono doesn’t reveal much. Barn change since sale.
9 SOCIAL PRINCESS Her lack of stamina concerns me as she doesn’t seem to have much left in the stretch. Post makes things tough too.
10 STEALTHESTARLIGHT Her dam was a decent race-mare earning $134k. I think post 10 is a killer here though. Looking elsewhere.
11 WICLET HANOVER A lame scratch in her only start. Hasn’t been seen for six weeks. Hard to endorse despite the powerful stable.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 2-7-8-1
H Horse Comment
1 WELL WELL WELL Half-brother to Great Plains ($379k). Sharp looking qualifier for this. Has shown talent, but already scratched lame too. There are some questions mixed in with his obvious talent. Interesting in this spot.
2 ARTSPEAK A kin to Fort Knox (1:51.2). From the family of Meadowlands Pace winner Southwind Lynx ($1.7M). Has not done anything wrong since stepping foot on the racetrack. He gets an interesting test from McArdle’s Lightning tonight.
3 VEGAS ROCKS From the family of Stonebridge Kisses ($1M). Form so far has been just OK. Would need to step up his game quite a bit.
4 EDWARD TEACH Dam earned over $364k. Improved last time, but Gingras choosing off a Burke horse is a negative. Not sold on chances.
5 FINAL GESTURE Nice win last time at Pocono. Certainly faces a stronger group here. Gets a test for class. Tetrick chooses off, too.
6 STOVER This colt appears to have a lot of potential. No shame in being second to Artspeak in that last baby race. I am not sure he can win this time around, but he is one to watch going forward.
7 MCARDLES LIGHTNING He is the fastest two year old pacer we have seen this year with that 1:51 mark. Homebred gets a new pilot tonight in Pierce. Interesting matchup with Artspeak here. Won’t be 25-1 this time though.
8 BATTLE CRUISER Full-brother to Marty Party ($585k). That was a troubled line last time. Previous effort was solid. Adds value to exotics.
9 ROCK ON THE HILL Comes from the family of some hard knocking horses like Rob Roy Mattgregor ($591k). Interesting in gimmicks.
10 URBAN HANOVER Exits a very fast race for this. The post is not going to help matters and this just looks like a very tough spot.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 3-5-1B-1
H Horse Comment
1 SCREAM AND SHOUT Stepping back up in company a bit. Beaten favorite last out. Just 1 for 20 in her career. No value thanks to entry.
1A YOGA This filly has some potential moving forward. Gets Gingras back this time. Expecting her to begin to improve starting here.
1B DONATELLA HANOVER Filly has really stepped up her game lately. Perfect draw for her as well. Looms as one of the major contenders.
2 RED HOT SPICY Winless in 11 lifetime starts. Improved last time, but is facing a much tougher group here. Not expecting a win here.
2A BELGRAVIA Exiting some good races for this. Filly is prone to the miscue as well. Lone win came in maiden company. Not sold on a win.
3 STRUCK BY LINDY Looks to be the class of this field. Facing all the major Hambletonian Oaks contenders recently. Looks like the play.
4 SLICE SLICE BABY Earned a win at the Excelsior level last time. That said, this is going to be a much tougher task. Looms a longshot.
5 MY INSPIRATION Beaten a neck by a colt that is entered in The Hambletonian last time. Recent form is sharp. Looks like a serious player.
6 BIKINI SO TEENY Filly that beat her last time is in The Hambletonian Oaks. She has been racing against some decent fillies. Minor award.
7 BAMBINO SUPREME Odds-on favorite last time and raced up to it. Faced some of the best of this crop recently as well. Post is tough.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-5-7-3
H Horse Comment
1 LEG UP Stepping up off a win last time. He is not proven at this level though and this is a new challenge for him. Tougher assignment now.
2 UP UP AND OUT Lack of speed is always a concern. This draw may keep him closer and perhaps that will push him over the top. Maybe.
3 JOHNNY Z Also stepping up off a win. Note, that was a C-Notes Final. So it was a stronger than your average C-2. Has some appeal.
4 MAINLAND KEY N Not sold on horses coming in from the middle levels at Harrington. Last line was a rough one. Not sold on chances.
5 HANG TEN Gelding is in fine form. Draws the perfect post for this assignment. The price will not be there, but he looms as the one to beat.
6 GOLD ROCKS Colt may be sneaky in here as he had no chance in his last pair from those wide draws. Inclined to give him a look here.
7 ANDREW LUCK Talk about a troubled trip. His last start epitomizes that. He always needs the right setup and may be overbet off his last.
8 CONORS CONCORD No chance last time from post 8 at Yonkers on the step up. Has been off for 3 weeks though. Mixed feelings now.
9 ERLE DALE N Tried to wire them last time at Yonkers. Catches another outside draw. Zeron chooses off as well. Another tricky read here.
10 SPARKY MARK Made a big move to the half which was extremely fast. Has the misfortune of post 10 again. Has a right to improve now.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 10-1-4-3
H Horse Comment
1 BY AND BY HANOVER From the family of Power To Charm ($664k – 1:53.1). Sharp win in his debut and it is impossible to ignore this barn right now. Catches a mid-level division of this series and looms as one of the prime contenders.
2 COCOACABANA She has out-raced her odds twice now. Nothing in this race jumps off the page. She has a shot to hit the ticket here.
3 FLY ANGEL FLY From the family of Dream Vacation ($616k). Full-sister to Oasis Dream ($221k). This was a significant yearling purchase for Takter. Lone baby race was a good one. Clearly, this filly possesses some talent.
4 FOG WARNING Half-sister to Blue Yonder ($198k). Dam earned 6-figures. I liked the way this filly moved forward throughout the mile last time. Not thrilled that the trotting hobbles are on already, but she has some ability.
5 SISTAS Half-sister to Honorable Daughter ($979k). She was 180-1 in her debut. The winner of that race is a nice filly. Longshot here.
6 VEGGIE HANOVER From the family of Continental Victory. She improved in her second start, but still will need some improvement here.
7 DELEC HANOVER Dam earned $311k. Hard to get a gauge on her first start. Troubled that she was so far back from post 1. Not using.
8 SOUTHWIND CARTIER Dropped down last time, but it didn’t help out too much. Would need to turn things around for this. Longshot.
9 JAILHOUSE HEART From the family of Jailhouse Jesse ($256k). Not much to report in immediate pedigree. Will have to improve here.
10 SHAFINA HANOVER This filly is one of the sharper fillies in the field. Dam a kin to Mymomsablizzard ($472k). The post is always a concern but she is a prime contender regardless of the draw.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-7-8
H Horse Comment
1 FRENCH LAUNDRY Winner of that Sire Stakes Final is the morning line favorite for The Peter Haughton. Powerful pedigree as his dam won The Hambletonian Oaks. Colt looms as the top contender and the price will reflect that as well.
1A MENTZER HANOVER A king to a six-figure earner. From the family of Macaria Hanover ($292k). Seems to have plenty of potential as well.
2 SUIT AND TIE Colt has regressed in his last pair of starts. If he can return to his early form, he can contend. Needs to improve in this spot.
3 MERCURY FASHION A kin to Fashion Athena ($308k). Beaten favorite in his debut, but he has some more to offer, I think. Using a bit.
4 HANDOVER THE MONEY Added the trotting hobbles last time and stayed trotting. Still needs to improve to contend in this spot. Longshot.
5 KICKFLIP Comes from a hard-knocking family of trotters. He will have to go much faster that he has so far. Another longshot here.
6 CURFEW From the family of Self Professed ($1.1 Million). He looked awfully good upon debut. Interesting that he has taken three weeks off since that effort. Considering the barn he races out of, that is no trouble for me. Pick to upset the chalk.
7 OLD OAK A kin to Celebrity Blue Chip ($608k). Exiting a very fast trotting mile. He improved nearly four seconds there. Interesting now.
8 ALDEBARAN EAGLE From the family of Ifhallscouldtalk ($331k). Beaten favorite last time, but he still raced well. Colt has some upside.
9 TAXED TO THE MAX A kin to The Chancellor ($691k) and Beer Summit ($425k). Added the trotting hobble last time. Tough post too.
10 RG’S THUNDERBOLT Dam earned nearly $250k. Improved in his second baby race. Second-tier is going to make things tough.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 6-8-10-3
H Horse Comment
1 KEYSTONE INDIA All four siblings to race have won, three of them have earned over $100k. Seems to have trouble staying trotting.
2 WAITING ROOM Dam earned 6-figures. This filly has broken stride in two of three starts so far. Looms a longshot off that fact.
3 LADY CLARABELLA Pedigree appears to be on the light side. She seems to catch one of the softer divisions. Wasn’t bad last time.
4 MISS ANDOVER A kin to Fast Photo ($800k). Appears that improvement will be required to contend in this spot. Looking elsewhere.
5 A LIST LINDY Dam is a kin to a trio of six-figure earners. Staunch improvement in her second baby race. Has some more room to grow.
6 LOVELY JAN Out of an unraced dam who is a kin to Hambletonian winner Malabar Man. Exits a very strong baby race. Must be included.
7 AARENA HANOVER A three-quarter sister to Up Front Billy ($523k). Hasn’t done much so far on the track. Looms a longshot again.
8 ILUVMYJIMMYCHOOS A kin to a pair of winners. From the family of Glide Power ($403k). Break last time is a slight concern. Contender.
9 LADY WINONA Full-sister to Jezzy ($834k). Pedigree has not shown up on the racetrack yet. Seems to have issues staying flat as well.
10 FLIRTING FILLY A kin to the talented Stage Show ($507k). From the family of Flirtin Man ($592k). Has faced very strong competition.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 2-3-1-7
H Horse Comment
1 THE BANK Impeccably bred colt out of a million-dollar dam has had trouble staying flat. If he trots, he is a win contender. Must consider.
1A UP ZET Homebred is the first foal out of the dam. Extended family includes Softly Dream ($459k). I think he has a bright future. Contender.
2 WHEELS AH SMOKIN Brother to Wheeling N Dealin has shown a strong turn of foot. Winner of last is a major player in The Peter Haughton on Hambletonian Day. This is a very competitive field, but he is one of the prime contenders.
3 TRUE BLUE STRIDE Toss out the miscue from post ten. He raced well in the NJ Sire Stakes. Bother to He’s A Demon has more to offer.
4 LUCKY CHIEF Hasn’t really shown us much on the racetrack yet. From the family of Judge Joe ($938k). Prone to make breaks though.
5 SHOW BIZ HALL Added the trotting hobbles last time and still made a break. Yet to break the 2:00 barrier. Family of Sweet Justice ($288k).
6 FLYING MUSCLES Dam is a kin to several nice trotters, including 6 that earned over $100k. Needs to improve off his lifetime debut.
7 HABITAT When he hasn’t broken stride, he has been impressive. But he comes with plenty of risk. Not worth a short price, in my opinion.
8 EL DIABLO BR A kin to McCarron ($253k). Has looked awfully good in the morning so far. He does catch a very competitive group.
9 STONEBRIDGE FORCE A kin to a Hambletonian Oaks winner in Creamy Mimi. Catches post 10 again. Still think he will improve here.
10 MUSCLE NIGHT Never a fan of the second tier for two year olds. He was just OK last time. Looking elsewhere for the winner here.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 5-1-2-9
H Horse Comment
1 MUSCLE DIAMOND Love her dam as she earned over $1.1 Million on the track. Trotting hobbles seemed to help. Bounces back here.
2 FALK ON HILL S Chased after one of the major Peter Haughton contenders two back. Prone to the miscue as well though. Tough call.
3 P MAC ATTACK Dam made $228k. Was showing progress until the sick scratch and the break. Will need to bounce back this time.
4 CROESUS I don’t think he has made enough progress yet. Pedigree is light, which is reflected in his yearling price. Not sold on chances.
5 SOUTHWIND MOZART Obviously is exiting a key race in the Sire Stake Final. A kin to Southwind Cocoa ($277k). Expect a big effort.
6 CITIZEN HALL Took a step back when making a break last time. He would need to rebound here. Watching for improvement now.
7 FASHION DANNY Sports a rather modest pedigree on the dam side. Improved a bit last time. Still needs to step things up further.
8 CHOCOUTURE Unable to defeat maidens in three tires at Vernon. That doesn’t bode well for this assignment. Looms a longshot here.
9 MOUNTAIN TOP Her dam was nice race mare. Found that last stake just a bit too tough. Raced well when last seen here. Interesting.
10 TADY’S LEGACY Half-brother to Hez Striking ($1 Million). Exiting a very fast baby race. Given the draw, taking a wait and see approach.
11 IMAGE OF LUCK Coming off a sick scratch and an effort in the Excelsior series in New York. Now post 11. Not sold on chances here.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 4-5-10-9
H Horse Comment
1 CATHY’S PRINCESS Never made the gate in the C-Notes Final. Now up in class. Not sure she can handle this level. Tougher task now.
2 CASHAHALLIC Also moving up in class. She won a C-Note consolation last time. This is a much stronger group. Looking elsewhere.
3 LIGHTNING STORM Raced very well two starts back beaten by Dnieper who he faces again here. He is prone to the miscue as well.
4 CROSBYS CLAM BAKE Honest trotter is in very good form and raced well behind a classy trotter last time. Looms as the favorite now.
5 GUILTYWITHANEXCUSE Even effort last time, but exits a good race. Wasn’t far behind the chalk and may offer a square price here.
6 SEA RAVEN This mare has won here before. She is a complete wild card in this spot and I would let the tote board be your guide here.
7 WAR HERO Enters this off an Open win at Vernon. Trotted a good mile up there as well. He should fit at this level. Some appeal now.
8 SIM BROWN Toss out the last race from post 8 at Yonkers. Overcame a break at the start two back to race well. Still must be better.
9 DNIEPER He just wasn’t beating World Cup last time and that was a much tougher heat. His efforts two and three back make him a player.
10 B L CLASS ACT Gelding has gotten on quite a roll lately. Now moves up in class and to the far outside. I think he is too sharp to ignore.