By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile
Dialed In broke from the outside post 9, dropped over to the rail, saved ground and then swept past the field to win the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Sunday.
Simple as it sounds, it was an impressive performance in the colt's second career start and first in a stakes race. Dialed In broke his maiden debuting during the Fall meeting at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux, the physically imposing Dialed In was timed in 1:35.19 for the mile after he stayed behind initial fractions of :23.96, :46.24 and 1:10.33. After the first quarter-mile, the colt was 10 3/4 lengths off the lead.
Dialed In finished 1 1/2 length ahead of second-finisher Sweet Ducky, who left the gate just inside the winner and got in good position while three wide down the backstretch. He vied for the lead in upper and mid-stretch.
Gourmet Dinner, the most widely-traveled one in the field, finished third after a ground-saving, stalking trip that put him in good position entering the lane, where he fought Sweet Ducky for the lead.
The post-time favorite, Mucho Macho Man, finished fourth at 2-1 odds after bumping hard with Leave of Absence in the chute and then fighting Black N Beauty for the lead into the stretch. He fell back and was beaten 4 1/2 lengths. The remaining order of finish was comprised of Black N Beauty, Leave of Absence, Printing Press, Major Gain and Ribo Bobo.
Sent off as the 5-2 second choice, Dialed In returned $7.40 to win, $4.80 to place and $3.60 to show. Before the race, trainer Nick Zito said he was appreciative the crowd had bet Dialed In down from his 6-1 morning line--and that it made him hopeful.
A change of plans led to Dialed In's start in the Holy Bull. He was to compete in an entry-level allowance at Gulfstream on Jan. 21, but when the track came up sloppy, Zito scratched him. Soldat went on to win that race.
With the $240,000 winner's share of the $400,000 purse, Dialed In earned enough graded money to make it into the Kentucky Derby most any year. In 2010, Backtalk had the lowest amount of graded earnings in the Kentucky Derby field, $225,916.
A son of Mineshaft, Dialed In is owned by Robert LaPenta. Bred in Kentucky by W. S. Farish, Madeleine Pickens and Skara Glen Stables, Mineshaft is out of the Storm Cat mare Miss Doolittle. He was purchased by LaPenta for $475,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga 2009 yearling sale.
Winning trainer Nick Zito: “He’s very special. I’ve never had a horse do this -- go from a maiden special race to jump up and win a race like the Holy Bull. I wasn’t that surprised that he was so far back early. I had a good feeling and confidence in Julien to let him be in the right place and then get into the mix. I just wanted him to get out (of the gate) clear and settle. I’m not sure what will be next. The idea is just to get him (to the Kentucky Derby).”
Winning owner Robert LaPenta: “There’s a long way to go, but this certainly puts him on the (Derby Trail). Nick did an incredible job training this horse up to this race, getting him ready and not rushing him. This had to be one of Nick’s best training jobs.”
Winning jockey Julien Leparoux: “Actually I did expect to be that far back. Nick told me just to leave him alone and drop to the rail and that’s what I did. He said just to be patient. When I asked him, he really ran on well. This is obviously a very nice horse.”
Joe Bravo (aboard Sweet Ducky): “You know with this horse is, he doesn’t win, he’s going to give you 110%. Kelly Breen has done a great job with this horse, and he ran a great race today. This was the best race of his life. We weren’t going to beat the winner today. They paid half a million for him for a reason. Hats off to Nick Zito.”
Eibar Coa (aboard Mucho Macho Man): “He was a little sharp today. He’s been working sharp and came out a little sharp. Breaking from the outside, I didn’t really have a place to cover him up, so he went a little too fast too soon. I was never able to get him to relax. At a one turn mile, that happens sometimes. I think he would have relaxed if it was two turns. He’ll be OK.”