Dialed In (Mineshaft x Miss Doolittle by Storm Cat)
Trainer: Nick Zito
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
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In sprint races there is very little room for error. Dialed In debuted at the sprint distance of six and a half furlongs at Churchill Downs. Fans bet him to favoritism against 11 other colts and he won after missing the break, blowing the first turn, racing wide and navigating through traffic. Trainer Nick Zito and anyone with a pair of eyes knew that Dialed In was going to be very special from the beginning. Click here to watch that race. I highly encourage you to do so if you haven’t already.
After his maiden breaking score the connections entered him in an allowance a little under three months later. The field was strong and included future Fountain of Youth Stakes winner, Soldat. Nick Zito had a change of heart before the race and scratched, revealing that he preferred to take on the Holy Bull Stakes instead. In that race he rallied from as far back as 15 lengths to take down the likes of Mucho Macho Man, Sweet Ducky and Gourmet Dinner. It looked like he had no chance at the half mile pole, but Dialed In made a furious move around the turn and into the stretch for a 1 1/2 length victory in the one turn mile race.
The horse racing world was buzzing over Dialed In after that win. Everyone loved him, but a big question remained. Where would he race next? At this point he had just two races and needed another one between then and the Florida Derby. I thought the Tampa Bay Derby would have been a good spot, but Nick Zito opted for an allowance optional claiming race against older horses that drew just 4 other entries. Ironically, it was Zito’s other horse, Equestrio, that won the race. The band wagon cleared significantly after that loss. Regular visitors of this site know that I was one of the few that didn’t panic. Read my post race thoughts for that one by clicking here.
Next up for Dialed In was the Florida Derby where I made him my top selection to win. The field included stars like Soldat, To Honor And Serve, Stay Thirsty and Flashpoint. It was the up and coming Shackleford that proved the greatest challenge though. Making his typical late move, Dialed In inched past the long shot to take the prestigious Grade 1 race by a head. The win was impressive in my eyes as he raced against a heavy early speed bias. Some will cite a slow final furlong, but I think they are losing sight of what really matters. He won the race and he did it in just his fourth career start and against the aforementioned heavy track bias.
Going the Kentucky Derby distance of 10 furlongs will be no problem for Dialed In. His daddy was a winner in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Woodward Stakes. He has produced route horses such as Travers runner up Fly Down, Hawthorne Gold Cup winner Redding Colliery, Greenwood Cup winner A. U. Miner and fellow 2011 Kentucky Derby contender and Arkansas Derby second place finisher Nehro. His mare, Miss Doolittle, was a two time winner sprinting and finished third in the Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga. Her half brother, Country Song, placed going 7 furlongs on the turf in the Chesham Stakes. Distance will be absolutely fine and probably an advantage for him.
Normally I like a horse with some speed, but in the Kentucky Derby that isn’t true. Closers have done very well in recent years with two of last years top four finishers rallying from 19th and 20th and the other two coming from 6th and 13th. Since 2005 three of the winners have rallied from 18th or further back ( Mine That Bird, Street Sense, Giacomo). Dialed In has the best closing kick of any contender and could be moving best of all in the late stages of the race.
The fact that this colt is so lightly raced is both a good and bad thing. It is good because there is plenty of room for him to get better, but bad because he hasn’t got much time to do it. Luckily, Dialed In is already incredibly fast and skilled with just five races under his belt. Owner Robert Lapenta, jockey Julien Leparoux, trainer Nick Zito and a legion of fans are hoping his sixth race will be the best of all.