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  • Week Of 6/28 - 7/4
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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, July 04, 2015

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-2-7
H Horse Comment
1 DREAM’S BEACHBOY Colt has shown talent and was defeated by a developing Burke trainee who raced in the Hempt Eliminations. Seems to have carried his two year old speed with him into this three year old campaign. Marohn sticks here over a talented Toscano colt.
1A FREEDOMFORMYSOUL Has been knocking heads on the NYSS circuit this season. Catches a tough group for this level. Potent entry.
1B REVENGE SHARK Just missed making the North America Cup Final and things didn’t work out in the Consolation. He is at the mercy of pace and trip, but he has talent and should be motoring late. Three-horse entry is very formidable.
2 J EAGLE FEATHER This colt has had a nice start to his three year old campaign, especially when you consider that he was unraced as a two year old. Couldn’t catch Artistic Major last out, whom he faced again tonight. A prime win contender.
3 ROCKNTOUCH Chased a good-looking winner last time. Bongiorno opts to the Burke-trainee and this colt faces a strong group here.
4 EDWARD TEACH He tailed off a bit and has not re-found his form from a couple of months ago. That is a product of facing better fields.
5 JULERICA Finished a solid third when last seen here, but that group doesn’t stack up well against these. Recent for is a bit light.
6 ARTISTIC MAJOR Colt had a nice two year old campaign and seems to have raced himself into good form in New York. He has speed and this barn has been lighting it up this meet. Another major win contender in a salty field.
7 DEALT A WINNER Silva trying to get his gelding ready for The Meadowlands Pace. He came up with a much improved effort against older condition foes last time. Tonight’s issue is the wide post. But I think he can rally into it for a share.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 10-3-5-8
H Horse Comment
1 MEADOWBRANCH WENDY Filly went a tough trip last time and raced well. Shows a win at this level at Pocono. But, this field is stronger.
2 EXPLOSIVE BROTHER I liked him last week and he was OK while facing a group that was lesser than this. Will need to step up his game.
3 LIBERTARIAN Solid effort last time, especially considering the last quarter he went. It certainly appears the trotting hobbles have helped and if he continues to improve, he has a chance to repeat against a better group.
4 COCOACABANA Just 1 for 18 in her career and her most recent effort doesn’t stack up well against these. Needs to improve here.
5 LADY WINONA Filly enters this race with just 1 win from 14 starts, but she has been racing against the best filly trotters in New York. Her efforts in the Empire Breeders Classic were certainly respectable. Looks strong.
6 MAGENTA MAN Colt has always looked good in the mornings, but he struggles to stay trotting in his pari-mutuel starts. One of these nights, he is going to stay flat and get involved at a big price. That could be tonight.
7 BRIGHT BABY BLUES Respectable effort behind one of the better filly trotters in the country in her most recent PASS effort. She should appreciate the return to this condition level and may improve on her 2 for 16 record.
8 NORTHERN GRACE Have to like the work this filly has doe recently, including a quality effort against three year old fillies here. Respect her current form and like to see Marohn get the call here. Another contender.
9 ALLERAGE BELLE Filly has hinted at ability. But her last two were a little flat and I would prefer Lady Winona who exits the same race.
10 MADHATTER BLUECHIP This gelding could be any kind. He is a kin to Leader Of The Gang, who was an excellent two year old, especially early on in the season. The runner-up from his debut came back to win by four lengths in a maiden score. Very intriguing.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 8-9-5-2
H Horse Comment
1 WINDSONG JACOBA Ships down from Canada for Auciello where she tailed off recently. Win came against lesser. Wait and see for now.
2 RIVER RUNS THRU IT This mare has done good work for Russo lately. She has speed, but is versatile as well. She wasn’t far behind Sayitall BB who is going to be a short-priced favorite here. Interesting win candidate.
3 GOINROUNDNCIRCLES Exits a series for mares in a lower class and tackles tougher. She would need to come up with a big mile here.
4 PERSUASIVE HANOVER Feel that this mare is going to get better as she gets some starts under her belt. She faced a good group last time and this is a class drop on paper. Still think she is a start or two away.
5 SAYITALL BB Disappointed last time as the 4/5 favorite. But she did finish in front of several of these. Ideal post draw will give Bongiorno options. She’ll be the chalk again. Tough to beat, but inclined to take a shot with more value elsewhere.
6 ALL ABOUT KISSES Cut the mile last time, but she came up empty in the stretch. She will need to be better than that here to hit the ticket.
7 BALLINEEN Even effort on the class hike last time. Faces similar here, but I suspect she will improve a bit. Using in exotics this time out.
8 ICOMANDMYSPIRIT Dropped down to the bottom level and maybe that will her the confidence back that she needs. She was racing at the top level here this winter. Worth a flyer that she has turned the corner.
9 THE SUMMER WIND Huge effort on the class drop last time and she just paced off the screen. Rewarded with post 10 on the move up in class, but that last mile was too good to ignore.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 5-3-9-1
H Horse Comment
1 EXQUISITE GLIDE Facing better than his most recent attempt, which was a bit disappointing. Needs to race back to his previous mile which is not impossible here. Should offer a better price as well.
2 HELIOS He has been racing better and is exiting a good field. But, he will have to solve Home Turf here as well as others. Inclined to use him underneath for exotics purposes.
3 HOME TURF The 1 win from 15 starts this year is a concern with this trotter, but his last pair of starts have been better and perhaps the trotting hobbles have proved helpful. Logical contender.
4 DIVINATION Just 2 wins from his last 30 starts and recent form has been a bit mixed. Seems like he will need the race to fall apart.
5 MUSCOLO Class dropper is coming off his best effort in some time and he showed improved speed there as well. I don’t love the fact that he has only one start in five weeks, but my gut tells me he is sitting on a big race.
6 GUILTYWITHANEXCUSE Exits a similar race to Muscolo, but the result was not nearly as good. Need to see some improvement here.
7 RC MARQUEE Steps up into a tougher spot after a tough trip from post 10. Smoother journey will help, but he may need softer than this.
8 DRINK OF THE DAY His Freehold form has not carried over. Seems to be up against it at this level. Retains her longshot status.
9 SCORCHER HALL Exits a strong race and the class relief is definitely going to help. He comes with risk as he is not the smoothest-gaited trotter out there, but he is better than many of these. Not sure I want to accept too short of a price.
10 KINGAPORE I think this post is a killer for him. He has no gate speed and is going to have to pass the entire field. Looks like a logical candidate to toss on the bottom of exotics.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 3-5-9-1
H Horse Comment
1 DANCIN HILL Came back with a much better effort last time. He has been very inconsistent though and while he should still offer somewhat of a decent price, there is plenty of risk involved with backing him here.
2 RURAL ART Last pair of starts have been quality. The 1 win from 16 starts is a concern and Marohn does choose off. Mixed feelings.
3 GARNET RIVER A This gelding is a real wild card. Gets class relief from where he struggled at Yonkers. This field is filled with questions and I would strongly consider taking a flyer here.
4 RICH WISDOM He lost to the North America Cup winner twice this year and has been facing the best three year olds in Pennsylvania. That said, I would have liked to have seen a bit more from him last time. Faces older now. Tough call.
5 YOU BET YOUR GLASS Just went too fast up front last time and had a right to be out of gas in the stretch. A better trip or a bit softer pace will go a long way in getting him to the winner’s circle. Major threat.
6 ALEX BULLVILLE He has had a knack for winning races here over the years. Qualified well and seemed to be sharpening up when he was last seen. Very tricky read at this point.
7 AHDOUGHNOLUM His lone Meadowlands start was a good one. But this field is MUCH better than what he beat that night. Minor award.
8 ST LADS LOTTO Exiting some good races at Tioga, including one that went sub-1:50. Still going to take a wait and see approach here.
9 WINDSONG GORGEOUS Speaking of wild cards, two months ago this horse would have been 1/9 in this group and romped. But, his recent form raises doubt. That said, he just might be too good for these, but I don’t want the short price.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 4-10-9-2
H Horse Comment
1 WAITING ON A WOMAN Parked three wide to the quarter at Saratoga last time and that just wasn’t going to work. Smoother trip needed.
2 B YOYO Raced very well on the move up in class last time. He was able to stay close to a rather soft pace in that spot though. There seems to be plenty of speed in here so he will have his hands full early.
3 SMOOTHER RIDE Disappointed by his effort on the class drop last time. This race is not any easier and he needs to take a step forward.
4 ZOEY DE VIE Lightly-raced four year old shows a lot of promise and ability. Respect the Saratoga shipper angle as it has worked quite a bit this meet. He will need to trot faster than he ever has to win this race, but the move to the mile track should aid that cause!
5 QUICK DEAL Woke up last time with a win, but now moves right back up the ladder. His speed will be tested tonight with many others who want to be aggressive early. Will use him underneath, but looking elsewhere for the winner.
6 IN NOMINE PATRI Won against a similar money condition at Philly, but at this level at The Meadowlands, this is typically a bit too tough. That said, this gelding will have something to say about the outcome.
7 FLYHAWK EL DURADO If you forgive the break, you can make a case here. Prior form was solid and he has back class. Tough call.
8 SPICE IT UP LINDY Didn’t race poorly at Tioga and showed up with a sharp win at Vernon before that. Will watch carefully this time.
9 HANDOVER BELLE Top mare trotter wasn’t at her best in Canada, but she was excellent when last seen here at this level. She has the speed to overcome the draw and Gingras not being present today will only help her price.
10 OUTBURST Just missed to a really nice trotter last time. Showed good speed there too. The problem here is the post, but that will enhance the price as well. Plenty of things to like with this gelding.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-3-8
H Horse Comment
1 UP UP AND OUT Gelding has been racing very well lately, but has come up short in the stretch. He will be using his speed early and should be prominent from the start. A pace factor with a chance to go a long way.
1A JIN DANDY Gelding has now won three of his last four and could prove to be a smart claim by Surick who could get his entire investment back tonight with a win. In the best form he has been in, in quite some time. Formidable entry.
2 GRATIAS DEO Solid effort last time and I like that this horse has seven wins to his credit this season. Does need a helpful pace scenario.
3 KINGOFTHEJUNGLE Locked in with pace last week and despite the fact that I think he exits the softer division, had he shook free he would have been a winner. He may vie for favoritism off that. Either a trip horse that will win, or a trap horse that won’t.
4 FOOLS GOLD Not bad last time, but he is still looking for his first win in quite a while. Should offer a square price for those that believe.
5 BOLDER Marohn chooses off despite the win, which cannot be considered a positive. He did have a perfect trip that night as well. That setup can produce the same result, but feel he is a half-step behind the best of these.
6 ROCKAHOLIC Solid effort last time and with the amount of speed in this race, he may just get the setup he wants. Perfect post should position him in a live outer flow. Has a real chance to spring the upset here.
7 MOONLIGHT RANSOM He is likely going to go from being a beaten favorite to a longshot here. Would need to turn things around off last.
8 COLOSSAL I still don’t know how he lost last week, but Marohn gives him another look. His tactics may make things tough on him with the amount of speed that is in this group. Mixed feelings here.
9 BUBBIE BOY Pulled off the upset last time at 18-1. Now, he has to overcome post 10 against a tougher group. Not sold on the repeat.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 4-3-6-5
H Horse Comment
1 OK GORGEOUS Has found the move to these tougher levels to be challenging. Faces a good group here and must improve to contend.
2 RESPECTABLE DREAM Recent form has been solid but this is a real test for class as he has been facing softer as well. Watching one.
3 CAMBASSADOR Drop and pop winner on the ship-in last time. A repeat of that performance will put him right in the middle of this. This race does seem to have a lack of speed and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pantaleano get a little aggressive here.
4 VERDAD Loved his last two efforts and it looks like the six year old has re-found his best stride. Steps up to face tougher, but he has more speed than most of these and is a real threat for a three-peat.
5 ASHLEY’S HUSBAND Faced a good group last time and did not race badly. He is a stone-cold closer, so he will need some help with pace and trip, but I will include him underneath on my tickets.
6 MADIBA MAGIC Perhaps he just doesn’t want to be on the front end. He raced much better from off the pace, despite a journey that he was parked from the start. I don’t expect speed tactics. Can rebound.
7 THORN IN YOUR SIDE Gelding makes his second race back off the layoff. I didn’t see enough last time to merit consideration here.
8 TWINCREEKS JESSE Echo the sentiments of the foe to his inside as this is a near identical scenario. Will keep tabs for later here as well.
9 UNLOCKED Drop and pop score last time. But, this horse doesn’t have much speed and the post may really hamper his chances. I don’t expect him to pass the entire field, so I will use him underneath.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-5-6
H Horse Comment
1 SAWBUCK Not Bad last time and Marohn sticks here over Triple Major. Still, this gelding would need to step his game up to win this race.
2 NF DRUM ROLL Turned for home in front off soft fractions and could not hold on against the softer division. That doesn’t bode well for this and I will be taking a stand against here.
3 ENEE WEENIE AND ME Was very wide off the turn and rallied well last time. Note, he finished 2nd to the horse that will be favored here.
4 HEZ A BUCKEYE He just doesn’t win when he is on the front-end. I don’t think that will happen here and he is intriguing with a better trip.
5 ASTREOS FLASH Claimed from his last for this mini-series final. He has been racing very well and he won’t be odds-on in this spot, like he was in the last pair. Another that merits consideration.
6 BUCKEYE IN CHARGE Rallied well last time behind Untouchable One. His lack of speed does have him a bit compromised. Minor share.
7 TRIPLE MAJOR Never saw the pylons but showed up with a better effort. He has been racing well overall and I am assuming Marohn opted to Sawbuck to drive for McDermott. He is a contender if he can repeat his last.
8 UNTOUCHABLE ONE He was dominant last time and Mac Kenzie may reap instant rewards from that claim. He will likely be put on the lead and will try to take them wire to wire again which is a real possibility.
9 CONORS CONCORD Chased from the pocket last time and now moves outside against tougher. Not sold on his chances in this spot.
10 CROCADILE CANYON Woke up in a major way last time, but I think he is exiting the softer division so feel he is up against tougher now.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 1-3-4-5
H Horse Comment
1 PRINCE PALANI Shuffled and finished with pace last time. Marohn’s choice of three will need a better trip, but off that last effort, I have a feeling he is better than most of these. Looms very tough.
1A PRINCE PINANG Fanned wide last time and passed a couple late. Pantaleano will have to put him in play early and get him involved.
2 ROCKNROLL REALITY Has not been a factor in his three starts thus far and would need a form reversal. Looms a longshot again.
3 MAMBO ITALIANO Conflicted as he was in traffic, but only came home in 29. Bongiorno opts to the Burke-trainee. The positive is his last race was much better than his previous two. He is a contender.
4 BETTOR NOT MISS Back to back solid tried and he just missed last time while rallying well. This race doesn’t have a lot of speed and I expect Berry to use his speed early. He can win as well.
5 AMERICHI He has been racing OK lately, but the 0 for 12 doesn’t thrill me. Draws well and should be in striking position. Inclined to use him underneath in exotics here.
6 UF FAST FEELIN Now 0 for 21 on the season. Would need to race back to the mile three starts ago. Mixed feelings about that here.
7 BIG RED Just 1 for 23 on the year. He did go a tough trip first over, but his recent form doesn’t thrill me just yet. Not sold on his chances.
8 WOODMERE ULTIMATE Yet to hit the board in nine tries this year. His last was a little better, but still prefer others at this point.
9 OK GALAHAD Drew the short-end of the stick with the post draw. Up against it from a trip perspective. Wait for another time.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 5-4-1-2
H Horse Comment
1 STEADY PULSE He has been facing better than this and catches a bit of a suspect group with a lot of questions. He will need to improve upon that final quarter from last time, but expect him to be much better here.
2 STIMULUS PLAN Tough trip last time, but he did come home nicely. He hasn’t been bad lately and is worth a look. But, that 2 for 49 lifetime mark scares me away from win consideration.
3 DULL ROAR He has been just even in his last pair and will need to improve on that to win. Faces softer this time, but will use underneath.
4 SIX GUN Looks like the horse to beat given his recent form and class relief. He has more speed than most of these as well. Imagine Bongiorno will try to take them wire to wire. Just hate taking 2-1 on a horse who was 30-1 last time.
5 SOME MAJOR BEACH If I am going to try and beat the favorite, this horse has the most appeal. That is mainly due to the upside of this being his third start off the bench. Granted, he has missed a month since his last race. Just trying an upside angle here.
6 MAJOR BLUE COAT Beaten double digits in each of his last two starts. That makes him a tough sell for me. Still a longshot.
7 THISGUYSAROCKSTAR Lone win this year came against lesser at Monti. His last effort wasn’t very good. Looking elsewhere.
8 NABBER AGAIN Another that just is not in very good form right now. He doesn’t have much speed either. Seems up against it here.
9 SPRINGHILL ALIBI Lightly raced for a seven year old. He has a right to improve on that last mike, but think a minor award is his ceiling.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 4-6-5-2
H Horse Comment
1 CAPOZZO Improved effort last time. That said, he faces a really select group here and have to imagine he is racing for a minor award.
2 MISTER VIRGIN The 11 runner-up efforts to just 3 wins is concerning. But, this horse races his guts out. I don’t think he can beat the top contenders, but respect him enough to use a bit.
3 ROCK STAR Moves up off a nice win against a decent field. This group obviously is much stronger and he will need even more now.
4 BETTOR’S EDGE His season certainly hasn’t gone as his connections would have hoped. Looking to get a confidence builder into him before the Haughton eliminations next week. Should be ready for more.
5 ART HISTORY Nearly went down at Mohawk. It’s possible that we have found out where his ceiling is. He is not quite as good as his stablemates Rockeyed Optimist and Doo Wop Hanover. Could challenge the chalk here, though.
6 MELMERBY BEACH Nice win on the ship down last time. Faces a tough group here but he seems to be pretty sharp right now. Will likely push the pace with this draw. Cannot be dismissed.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 4-6-2-5
H Horse Comment
1 GREAT SOUL Didn’t handle the move up very well last time. Out-raced his odds two starts back. This field is rather top-heavy. A longshot.
2 SOPRAVVISSUTO Bad trip two back, made a mistake last time. Do we forgive that, or do we move on? Tough call here. Demand value.
3 STORMIN RUSTLER His speed should put him in play from the start. Good win two starts back. Note, Ginsburg goes elsewhere though.
4 PALM’S BEACH Better last time, but will still need to improve to make his presence felt here. Takes back, sits, tries to rally for a share.
5 GRENLOCH Not bad last time. Still just two wins over the last two years and appears more likely to finish underneath than win this.
6 ACELO HANOVER Hasn’t raced in a month which is a concern. But, he just looks better than these on paper as well. The one to beat.
7 GONE NUCLEAR Squandered a pocket trip last time. It is hard for me to get excited off that performance. Wait and see approach.
8 PERFECT TERROR Even effort last time. He is another that will have to improve off his latest. Looking to others in this spot.
9 SMELLTHECOLORNINE Not bad last time, but he still hasn’t put forth a race this year that can win this. Will look for further improvement.
10 JOE ROCKS Impossible for me to pick a horse who finished last at the bottom level at Ocean Downs last time. Post 10, too. Longshot.