2011 Kentucky Derby Favorites: Is Nick Zito's Dialed in the Real Deal?

Eric GalkoFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2011

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29:  Nick Zito, the trainer of Ice Box and Jackson Bend, is pictured in the barn area during the morning workouts for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Nick Zito, one of the most respected trainers in the horse racing industry, knows a thing or two about training horses for the "most exciting two minutes in sports".

He's trained two Kentucky Derby winners during his time as a trainer, though none in the past 15 years, and has had a host of others not only in the field, but contending. During the 2005 race, he trained five of the horses in the field.

His feature horse this year for the race? Dialed In.

Dialed In, who won the Florida Derby a month ago, is considered one of, if not the lead, favorite in this group for the Kentucky Derby.

While no horses this year seem to be at the all-time great level like we've seen in year's past, Dialed In is maybe as close to what we have this year as a favorite, and who has at best an outside chance to place at two of the Triple Crown races this year.

Still, things seem to fall in place for Nick Zito's Dialed In. The horse is a closer, a horse who plays way off the pace. On a dirt track like the one at Churchill Downs, having a horse that is both trained by Nick Zito, known for having horses that run well on dirt, and is able to close in a hurry around the last few turns makes him one of the favorites.

Dialed In reminds me of a former Kentucky Derby winner, expect likely more talented, at least appearance wise. Calvin Borel rode Mine That Bird in 2009, and came from 20 lengths off the pace to win the Kentucky Derby.

While Dialed In should be able to stay closer to the pack that that, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Dialed In close from 7-10 lengths in the final stretch to get into the final mix.

Uncle Mo and Mucho Macho Man are both two other horses built for this track and, in my opinion, should be two of Dialed-Ins toughest opposing horses come race day. 

However, thanks to the experience of Nick Zito as a trainer, the track built for a closer like Dialed In, and the track record and talent, my final bet would included Dialed In to at least show, likely strongly in the mix for the favorite come race day.