Race Reviews

  • Week Of 7/20 - 7/26
  • SU20
  • MO21
  • TU22
  • WE23
  • TH24
  • FR25
  • SA26
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 26, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 5-4-6-7
H Horse Comment
1 AXIOM HANOVER Stepping up into a tougher spot off just an OK effort. He gets a new pilot tonight, but I still think he will needs to improve.
2 J C ONTHEBEACH Had some pace at the end of his mile. The Merton to Pierce angle is interesting. Inclined to give him an exotics look.
3 LISTOWEL Stepping up off a win at Yonkers. Rallied well there. This will be tougher and Gingras does choose off. Want to see a start.
4 MIGHTY YOUNG JOE War horse has been facing better just about all year. Figures to be prominent with this class relief. Logical player.
5 ROCKNROLL REALITY I think this horse will be in The New Jersey Classic next week. Facing older here. A wild card in this spot. I like.
6 DAVID’S DREAM Driver change to Gingras is going to attract plenty of attention. Also getting a slight class drop. Not much value lies here.
7 UP UP AND OUT Exits the same race as David’s Dream and will offer a better price. Is at the mercy of pace and trip, but he can be a factor.
8 IDEAL MAGIC Interesting spot for this three year old. Couldn’t have finished much faster last time. Top 2 from there won Adios Elims.
9 ANDRWEW LUCK Also exiting the Ontario Success race. Tough post and Gingras does go elsewhere. Getting mixed signals in this spot.
10 SPARKY MARK Large purchase from the January sale has not been as sharp. Better in his last few, but I want to see a start here first.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 4-10-5-8
H Horse Comment
1 LADYLAND Has broken stride a couple of times now. Is a half-sister to Tiz To Dream ($666k – 1:50.2). $62,000 Lexington-select yearling.
2 INJEANOUS STYLE Not as precocious as most Takter two year olds at this time of the year. A kin to pair of 6-figure earners. Dam is a full-sister to Artiscape ($1.4 Million – 1:49.3). Family of Delinquent Account. Seems to need some time, but could be one to watch.
3 SAWYER Half-sister to Escape The News ($666k). Likely that she needed a race off sick scratch. Big driver change to make note of here.
4 SHE’S A HOT MESS First foal from the dam. This is the extended family of the great Three Diamonds. Connections seem to love her and clearly have her aiming for the grand circuit. She is incredibly fast. My guess, this filly has a big season ahead of her.
5 HOLLYROCKER This filly is from the family of Bettor’s Delight ($2.5M) and Roll With Joe ($1.8M) as her dam is a kin to both. She is making slow and steady progress, but if she keeps getting better, she will be a major factor. Top contender here.
6 SINGLE ME Family of Cam Swifty ($1M). Beaten by a nice filly in her last pair. Campbell does go elsewhere though. Not a huge fan here.
7 COVER MODEL First foal from an unraced dam. Dam is a kin to Fashion Heart ($412k). Has not yet raced back to her first start yet.
8 DELI BECH A kin to both Artstanding ($742k) and Little Miss Dragon ($767k) so there is plenty of pedigree here. Dropping out of a pair of Sire Stakes events for this and this is Campbell’s choice, so there is some upside here.
9 ROCKNROLL OLIVIA Full-sister to Metro winner Simply Busienss ($880k). Comes from the magnificent Cathedra line, which includes Cabrini Hanover ($1.3 Million) and Western Shooter ($904k). I have to imagine her pedigree will show up eventually.
10 WICKED LITTLE MIX A kin to Cabana Fever ($472k). Dam is a kin to Lady Macbeach who was a nice mare. She did make a break last time but she showed talent in her first start. Never love post 10, but this filly should be right there.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-8-9
H Horse Comment
1 DREAMS BEACHBOY Dam was a nice race-mare, earning $453k. Goes out for major connections and cost $150,000 at Harrisburg. Clearly possesses some talent and has a bright future. Looms the first half of a strong entry for Alagna.
1A MOHEGAN BLUE CHIP A kin to Ryder Blue Chip ($191k). Dam earned $431k as well. I like the progress she showed in her second start.
2 URBAN HANOVER A kin to a pair of 6-figure earners. Gelding has not fired his best shot yet and Callahan chooses off. Watching this one.
3 VEGAS ROCKS Comes from the family of Stonebridge Kisses ($1M). Seems to be figuring this out. Further improvement appears likely.
4 BADIX HANOVER Full-brother to Big Jim ($1.5M). Things didn’t work out in the Sire Stakes. Have a feeling we haven’t seen best yet.
5 MR CENSI Homebred is light on pedigree. Not sure how much softer than the NJSS this is. But, he can keep getting better. Mixed feelings.
6 BATTLE CRUISER A full-sister to Marty Party ($582k). Gelding is showing good progress. Really liked his rally at Pocono. Using in exotics.
7 DUDE’S THE MAN All three siblings are winners. From the family of Delinquent Account ($1M), who produced Artiscape ($1.4M). Sears chooses off and he made a break at Saratoga, but his Vernon mile hinted at ability.
8 PAPARAZZI HANOVER A kin to Pirouette Hanover ($608k). Dam was a nice mare, earning $269k. Colt is exiting a very fast event at Pocono. This was Sears’ choice of three. Guessing we haven’t seen the best of him yet.
9 WESTERN PIONEER From the family of $1.7 Million earner Noble Ability. Colt has plenty of speed. Change of tactics last time showed he can finish a bit as well. Loses Sears here though. Mixed feelings from post 10.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 6-2A-7-5
H Horse Comment
1 KRISPY APPLE Winless in 13 starts this year. Just one qualifier since the Roses Are Red. Hard to pick her to win. No value in this entry.
1A SHELLISCAPE Breeders Crown winner has not been able to duplicate her form against the best this season. Draws outside too. Not sold.
1B ANNDROVETTE Mare just does not do her best work at The Meadowlands. Just one lifetime win here, which is very surprising. I don’t see her blasting from this wide starting slot as well. I think she will be passing horses late, but not enough of them to win.
2 SHEBESTINGIN She was good last week. Went a very tough trip and didn’t toss in the towel. This mare has gone some huge miles in her career and I expect that she should be aggressive from here. Kicks off a very formidable entry. Prime player.
2A SOMWHEROVRARAINBOW Added Lasix in The Golden Girls and still tired. That’s a bit of a concern, especially considering the short price she will offer. I do expect her to bounce back here, but I don’t want to take the short price in the win column.
3 CHARISMA HANOVER I think her last start showed that she is a cut below the best of these. Would need a perfect storm to beat these.
4 AUNT CAROLINE Gets another crack against the best and I expect her to be better. Still, I am not sold she can jump up and win this race.
5 JERSEYLICIOUS She out-performed expectations rallying to be 3rd at 70-1 last time. Perfect post for her, given her preferred racing style. I am not sure if ‘Rainbow is blasting, so I could see her right behind that mare in a live flow. I think she gets a big piece of it.
6 MATTIE TERROR GIRL Could not have been finishing any better last time. If Zeron can keep her closer, which is not easy to do from this spot, I think she can win this race. I am frankly surprised at how good this mare actually is. Will make her my pick!
7 DROP THE BALL The good Drop The Ball showed up last time. If she duplicates that effort, she is a win contender. But you never know what you are going to get with this mare and the post is tricky. That said, off her last mile she is hard to dismiss.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 4-2-3-5
H Horse Comment
1 NITO NITTANY Exits a 6th place effort while 57-1 in a C-1 event. She needed that race though and is back in with her age/sex. A share.
1A HARLEY MOMMA Beaten quite a way by Cooler Schooner in that qualifier. Despite showing a PASS win, I think she is a cut below the best.
2 DESIGNED TO BE She was locked in and in tight quarters for much of the race by a longshot that was going first over. She found clearance nearing three-quarters, but simply had too much ground to make up. Will take plenty of action off that mile.
3 SHAKE IT CERRY Pierce took full advantage of her main rivals being stuck in some bad spots, strolled through a 30.1 second panel before kicking clear on the turn. I would be surprised if that scenario played out again. Still, she is a contender regardless.
4 COOLER SCHOONER This filly can always jump up with a monster mile and trot away from the field. But she is risky and quite unpredicatable. That said, the price will be right and a prep may be the place to side with her speed. Note, Dave Miller is now in the sulky.
5 LIFETIME PURSUIT She was stuck behind a stalled longshot in The Del Miller. Forced three-wide while over six lengths off the lead. That said, when they got to racing, she was out-kicked by Designed To Be and Heaven’s Door. An exotics contender.
6 TWEET ME She rallied well past a few fillies last time to grab the nickel. Still believe she is a cut below the best in here. Longshot again.
7 CEE BEE YES She was compromised by both pace and trip in the Del Miller, so that part of her race doesn’t concern me. What does concern me is that she couldn’t keep up with Lifetime Pursuit and was out-kicked by Tweet Me. Needs to show her best again.
8 VANITY MATTERS Crushed a much softer group when last seen. Certainly sharpened up for this, but this is a very tough assignment.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 7-4-6-5
H Horse Comment
1 FRANKIES DRAGON Goes from beating Grab Your Keys to facing the best pacer in training. Yikes. This spot looks impossibly tough.
2 SUNFIRE BLUE CHIP He had a great three year old campaign, but has been slow into stride this season. That said, he was better last time.
3 WAKE UP PETER He has become a real hard-knocking horse who always seems to come with a solid effort. Tough trip last time and Odds On Equuleus is just really sharp right now, especially with the trip he had. He has a chance to get a piece of this.
4 GOLDEN RECEIVER Put the knee spreaders back on last time and it made all the difference. He was good in that spot. Looked more comfortable than he typically is in the pocket as well. Gets Callahan back as well. We know he is blasting!
5 THINKING OUT LOUD Going first over against The Captain in a 53 half mile is a brave thing to do. They only went a :28 third panel, which helped him stay in the race. Wouldn’t be surprised if Campell tries to follow Golden Receiver off the gate.
6 CAPTAINTREACHEROUS He was dead game as usual last time. But you just aren’t going to beat Sweet Lou when he has that trip. I wish I knew what Tetrick is going to do here. I am guess off that tough mile, he takes back and makes one late move.
7 SWEET LOU Unlike the strategy I anticipate for the Captain, I think it is important for Pierce to keep Sweet Lou sharp and on his toes. Expecting him to be forwardly placed, asserting himself on the lead down the backstretch and never looking back.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 2-1-4-6
H Horse Comment
1 MARKET SHARE If you watched The Maple Leaf, you know how loaded he was coming to the wire. It appears that Market Share has gotten back to his best. That said, I am not sure he is worth the short price he will offer, but he is the horse to beat.
2 YOUR SO VAIN He couldn’t have been more impressive shattering the World Record in The Hambletonian Maturity. Launched to the lead by Ake. Gets a monstrous test now at the top level of the sport, but off his last he deserves it and he gets my vote as well.
3 SPIDER BLUE CHIP Last year’s Breeders Crown winner has broken stride in the same spot in all three starts. Need to see him stay flat.
4 INTIMIDATE Got back to his best wining The Maple leaf. It appears that he is a different horse than we saw in The Cutler Final. Always does his best work off a helmet and I could see him on Market Share’s back in here. Logical win contender.
5 SEVRUGA He is in the sale on Sunday. That is important because I have to imagine connections want to show he can still go with the best. They need him to make the final and I expect Marcus Miller to be firing off the gate tonight.
6 ARCHANGEL I am tossing out the break in the slop. I also think the miscue at Pocono was a product of him being trotted off his feet in that world record mile. He will be really overlooked in this spot and does have some appeal as a price.
7 ROYALTY FOR LIFE Toss out the Maturity as he was picked off by Spider. Beaten by two good horses last time. I can see him improving, but will it be enough. Interesting to note, two Hambletonian winners squaring off for the first time in 50 years.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 6-7-5-4
H Horse Comment
1 HACIENDA Solid effort last time showing good speed and finishing up nicely. There are 5 last out winners in here, so the price will be right.
2 LEGENDS LUCK The move to Pierce is an intriguing one, although Ginsburg did choose off. Winless this year. Include in some exotics.
3 SEEK THE DRAGON Rawlings to Tetrick is interesting. Tough trip last time and was only 3-1. I would be inclined to use him at a price.
4 JOHNNY Z He also went a big mile and was 7/5 in that spot. The price will be better this time and he is one of many win contenders here.
5 ETHAN HANOVER Campbell with a tough chose and sides here. Really liked his effort and the most improvement is massive. Top player.
6 JINS DRAGON Loses Campbell, but he was very impressive last time. May be tracking Ethan Hanover here which is a good place to be.
7 ONLY THE LONELY Here is the speed of the seed. Is Marcus can find a way to steal a cheap fraction, he is a threat to wire this field.
8 OPEN WATER The field he beat in June doesn’t stack up well here. He had some pace late last week, but others have more appeal now.
9 BALLINROBE He got away with a soft second quarter last time, which I think aided him. Now draws outside and things will be tougher.
10 A FOOL FOR MARK Nice win last time, but I think he is coming out of the softer division and now has post 10 as well. Looking elsewhere.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 9-5-1-3
H Horse Comment
1 ROCKEYED OPTIMIST Imagine he is headed for the NJ Classic off this. Fits well at this level. Expecting Campbell to put him in play early.
2 BETTOR BELIEVE IT The Excelsior series in New York has not been particularly strong this year. Siding against those exiting that series.
3 PERSPECTIVE Making his first start since October. Exits a strong qualifier, but I have to wonder if he needs a race. Mixed feelings here.
4 DEVIL’S ARCADE Lone win came against a soft bunch at Pocono. This race is a bit top heavy, but still skeptical of this gelding here.
5 LET’S FOAL AROUND He has been racing in some very tough condition events. Interesting to see Callahan here. Has the look of a player.
6 NATIVE LIGHTS Adds Lasix for this which gives him some appeal. Is still 1 for 23 in his career. I may toss in the bottom of exotics.
7 PROVENANCE In the sale on Sunday. Winless in 10 starts and exiting the Excelsior series. Last couple aren’t bad. Maybe a share of this.
8 THEREISPACEFORUS Chalking Gingras’ opting here to the connections of the horse. He is in the sale as well. The 0 for 19 scares me off.
9 EARTHSHAKER Clearly sports the best form of any of these coming into the race. Connections may be thinking NJ Class here as well.
10 WELL TO DO Has picked up checks at a consistent basis, but the lone win in 18 starts is a concern. Note, he does get Sears now.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 7-8-1-4
H Horse Comment
1 ALEX BULLVILLE He was OK last time, albeit a bit disappointing. Catches a softer spot this week and merits consideration for the win.
2 STONEBRIDGE TONIC Tough trip last time, but he raced admirably. Interesting to see Miller get the call now. Some longshot appeal.
3 SMART ROKKER He was 131-1 last time and although he rallied for the nickel, I am going to be siding against this time around.
4 LEG UP Showed speed last time as the favorite but tired. This consolation is a bit softer, but I am still sliding him underneath in here.
5 ANDWIN HANOVER Did well to earn a check at 101-1 last time. I didn’t see enough to consider him on the win-end though. Not sold.
6 RELENTLESS DREAMER I thought he should have been better last time. He may sweep by them from here, but I won’t take a short price.
7 CAVIART KEY He was good last time. Showed speed at both ends of the mile. Now gets Tetrick in the bike as well. Many things to like.
8 WILLY MUCHA Sears got him a solid check in a C-Notes Final two starts back. Now in a consolation with Sears back. That adds appeal.
9 MATTADOR D He was left with a bit too much to do. Love seeing Gingras in the bike, but I am afraid he may suffer the same fate here.
10 SHAMDEROCK I think the line looks better than the race actually was. Wit ht he trip he had, he should have won. Don’t like the draw.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 5-7-3-8
H Horse Comment
1 MISTER HERBIE You aren’t winning from 16 lengths off a soft pace at this level, so toss out the Maple Leaf Final. He wasn’t bad in the elimination, but he would need his best race of the year if he is going to win this race.
2 WISHING STONE It would appear that he isn’t back to his best yet. Just didn’t offer much pop in the Maple Leaf at all. Tough to endorse.
3 SWEET JUSTICE He is back to his best form. Went a big mile last time and was chased down by a trotter that is going to make some noise this year in Master Of Law. I am not sure he can threaten Sebastian, but he is a key player.
4 UNCLE PETER Just couldn’t quite matchup with The Europeans and unfortunately he meets one of their best in here. That said, he was racing against some very good horses there including Nahar. He is a total wild card in this spot and I don’t really know what to expect.
5 SEBASTIAN K Tasted defeat for the first time. Consensus is, he didn’t like the off-going, which is consistent with his European form. I think Svanstedt rated him too much. A 1:00 middle-half isn’t necessary for him. Tonight, I expect he goes right down the road.
6 APPOMATTOX He is a cut below the best of these and his lack of speed makes things tough. Perhaps he can pass a couple of them.
7 ARCH MADNESS He might be the biggest threat to Sebastian off his last mile. He is good for a string of races that are awesome each year. That last mile could be the beginning of that string. Can’t pick him to win, but I think he completes the exacta.
8 CREATINE Tough draw for him in the Maple Leaf. Never got into the race. Toss it out. Elimination wasn’t bad. A little concerned he will be left with too much to do once again, but he needs to make it into the Final, so you don’t want to be last turning for home.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 2-7-5-1
H Horse Comment
1 HILLBILLY HANOVER He went a good mile two starts back behind Golden Receiver. Expect Gingras to be aggressive here. Logical.
2 COBALT MAN He went a good mile last time but is facing a strong group here. That said, make note of his race two starts back. The pick.
3 BULLET BOB Just an even try last time. He would need to take a big step forward to contend with the best of these. A longshot here.
4 ASLAN Out-raced his odds at this level in June. He has kept in pretty solid form and adds some value to the exotics in this spot. Including.
5 IAM BONASERA He might be wildly overbet off that 25.4 final quarter. He can win this race, for sure. But make sure the price is right here.
6 DADDY MAC Good win two starts back and the move to Tetrick will attract some money. I think this is a tougher spot for him though.
7 DOVUTO HANOVER He is the best horse in the race and has been facing better. Likely to be the one flying late. The price will be short.
8 URGENT ACTION I liked his qualifier and he was a nice winner when last seen here. He may need a race of the 6 week layoff. Tough call.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 10-5-2-6
H Horse Comment
1 DON’T BLAME HER She was better in her most recent start and Sears sticks around to drive her. Wouldn’t be shocked by improvement.
2 BALLINEEN Solid effort last time and the move to Gingras is an interesting one. Has plenty of upside as she won’t be the favorite here.
3 CHEYENNE MIRIAM I am guessing everyone is off the bandwagon now. So that means she will probably win. Still, I am looking elsewhere.
4 RX JOLT She has been OK lately, but I still think she would need to take a step forward to win. Not impossible, so I will include this time.
5 LET HER ROCK Favored from the second tier and won. Now, a perfect draw. Should offer a better price than the mare to her outside.
6 ELLEOFNXAMPLE Rallied well in her most recent start to score. I think Let Her Rock may get the jump on her this time. Short price looms.
7 MISS MACHQUEEN Caught a bad shuffle last time and rallied well. Note the move back to Zeron now. I could see her hitting the ticket.
8 JARNAC She still isn’t winning and now she has tailed off as well. She’ll offer a price, but I can’t possibly pick her on top this time around.
9 EMBASSY SEELSTER Not bad last time. Her best move is to save ground and rally. That might leave her with work to do from here.
10 KZ BEACH GIRL This mare is sharp and I think she has the speed to overcome the draw. Pierce from the 10 hole in the nightcap, yes!