Nick Zito Gets His Derby Contender

Melissa Bauer-HerzogCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2011

Zito after Birdstone's 2004 Belmont (G1) win.
Zito after Birdstone's 2004 Belmont (G1) win.Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Nick Zito initially wasn’t happy to skip an allowance with his three-year-old son of Mineshaft to run in the Holy Bull (G3) nine days later.  Throwing an impressive debut winner into a stakes, in only his second start, isn’t something Zito does often. 

But a tick over one minute and thirty five seconds after Dialed In broke from the gate, Zito was happy he took the risk.

Dialed In became one of the Derby favorites after making a late surge from fifth (15 lengths behind the leaders) to first late in the race, showing that he will love the longer distances that come in the spring. 

“Actually I did expect to be that far back,” said rider Julien Leparoux when asked about the horse’s dramatic closing style. “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.”

Dialed In has a pedigree that begs for the Derby distance, with his sire being a son of A.P.. Indy and his dam (Miss Doolittle) a daughter of Storm Cat.  The dark bay colt currently has enough earnings to get in the gate on the first Saturday in May and it is not known when his next prep race will be.

“He’s very special,” Zito said. “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 clear and settle. I’m not sure what will be next. The idea is just to get him to the Derby”

2010's Garden State Stakes winner Sweet Ducky finished a length and a half behind Dialed In with G3 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes winner Gourmet Dinner third by a head. Neither horse’s camp has said where the colts will prep next out, but it is almost guaranteed they will try to avoid the undefeated monster Zito has created.