Trainer Nick Zito knows what it takes to win a Kentucky Derby and he’s confident of another victory this year with Dialed In.
Dialed In (3c Mineshaft – Miss Doolittle by Storm Cat) was promoted to the second line of Kentucky Derby betting after a brilliant win in the G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on Sunday. Jockey Julien Leparoux settled the colt as much as six lengths behind the pack in the early stages before opening the throttle in the straight.
Dialed In collared Shackleford (Forestry) and To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) at the end of 1800 metres to score by a head running away.
“I’ve become attached to this horse,” Zito said. “I’ve had a lot of great horses but there’s something about this one. It’s almost impossible to do the things he’s done.”
Dialed In has won three of his four starts in a career that began with a six length victory at Churchill Downs in November. He returned this season to win the G3 Holy Bull Stakes (1600m) and then flew home for a second against older horses in a Gulfstream Park allowance event last month.
It was Zito’s third Florida Derby win following High Fly (2005) and Ice Box (2010). Dialed In will be gunning for his third Kentucky Derby triumph after Strike the Gold (1991) and Go for Gin (1994).
“The track favoured the speed horses so it was something special,” Zito said on Sunday. “We just hope he stays healthy. He has flourished in Florida during the winter so we’re not going to Kentucky right away.”
Dialed In was bred by Lane’s End Farm owner William S Farish and was purchased by Robert La Penta’s Whitehorse Stables for $475,000 at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale.
His sire Mineshaft (A P Indy) was USA Horse of the Year in 2003. He stands at Lane’s End and is a half-brother to Racetree stallion Monashee Mountain (Danzig).
Dialed In is from G2 performer Miss Doolittle and is a half-brother to stakes winner Broadway Gold (Seeking the Gold).
Zito and La Penta teamed up to win the Florida Derby for the second straight year having collected with Ice Box (Pulpit) in 2010. They are the first owner – trainer combination to score back-to-back wins in the Florida Derby since Calumet Farm and Jimmy Jones won with Gen. Duke and Tim Tam in 1957 and 1958.
Tim Tam went on to capture the Run for the Roses in 1958 and Zito believes he has the horse to break the 53 year hoodoo.
“I haven’t felt this emotional since Strike the Gold,” Zito said straight after the Florida Derby. “Dialed In is amazing and I’m blessed. I’ve thought all along he was the top three-year-old in the country and he just proved it.”