Dialed In Favorite For Saturday's Kentucky Derby
Robert LaPenta’s Dialed In, winner of Gulfstream Park’s Florida Derby (G1) and Holy Bull (G3), was made the 4-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s 137th Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs.
The Florida Derby winner, who wintered at Gulfstream’s state-of-the-art Palm Meadows training facility and drew post position eight, could give Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito his third Kentucky Derby winner. Last year’s unbeaten juvenile champion Uncle Mo, winner of Gulfstream’s March 12 Timely Writer, was made the 9-2 second choice after drawing post No. 18 while Arkansas Derby (G1) and Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Nehro was made the 6-1 third choice and will break from post No. 19.
Saturday’s Kentucky Derby and Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) can be seen and wagered on at Gulfstream Park, which will open both days at 9:30 a.m. Gulfstream will hold drawings for 10 $500 betting vouchers on Saturday’s Derby.
Dialed In first showed his potential Nov. 12 in his lone start as a 2-year-old when he won at first asking across Churchill Downs by a half-length. He returned Jan. 30 at Gulfstream by winning the Holy Bull (G3) in just his second start, closing from ninth to win by 1 ½ lengths. After finishing second March 6 in an allowance race, the son of Mineshaft closed from last in a field of eight to win the $1 million Florida Derby by a head over Shackleford. It was Zito’s third Florida Derby.
“I’m just confident with a horse like this,” Zito said. “To me he’s a special horse. He always tries so hard, it’s nice to have a horse like that. You know he’s going to put in his run. I’m always confident when I have a horse like this – confident, but not overconfident.”
Dialed In is one of several horses in Saturday’s Derby who wintered at Palm Meadows. Horses from Palm Meadows have won the Kentucky Derby four of the last five years and five of the last eight.
Soldat, another winter resident of Palm Meadows, is listed at 12-1 in the morning line after drawing post No. 17. He finished a disappointing fifth as the favorite in the Florida Derby. But the son of War Front, who finished second Nov. 6 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2), was an impressive gate-to-wire winner Feb. 26 of the Fountain of Youth (G2).
Shackleford, trained by Dale Romans throughout the winter at Gulfstream, finished a game second in the Florida Derby to Dialed In after setting the pace at odds of $68.90-1. The colt has trained well at Churchill Downs the past two weeks and is expected to be on or close to the pace going into the first turn. Shackleford will break from post 14 and is 12-1.
Mucho Macho Man, who also spent the winter training at Gulfstream, comes into the Derby as one of the top contenders off a victory Feb. 19 in the Risen Star (G2) and a third-place finish March 26 in the Louisiana Derby (G2) despite losing a shoe leaving the starting gate. The Kathy Ritvo-trained colt is 12-1 and will break from post 13.
Louisiana Derby winner Pants On Fire spent the winter for trainer Kelly Breen at Palm Meadows. He was beaten by Mucho Macho Man in the Risen Star by seven lengths.
Live Oak Plantation’s Brilliant Speed raced twice over the turf at Gulfstream this winter, finishing second by a nose in the Dania Beach and third by a neck in the Hallandale Beach. The son of Dynaformer then went to Keeneland where he closed from last in a field of 12 to win the Blue Grass (G1) by a nose.
The Saturday program at Churchill Downs is full of Gulfstream alumni.
The $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) features the popular Gulfstream star Little Mike, who won three graded stakes races over the winter, as well as Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) winner Teaks NorthMac Diarmida (G2) winner Prince Will I Am, Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap runner-up Smart Bid, and Court Vision, winner of the 2010 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.
Hilda’s Passion, winner of Gulfstream’s Inside Information (G2) and Hurricane Bertie (G3), will be one of the favorites in the $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1). She’ll be joined by Inside Information runner-up Amen Hallelujah and 2010 Sweetest Chant victor Sassy Image.
Never Retreat, winner of Gulfstream’s Honey Fox (G3), leads a field of 11 in the $200,000 Churchill Downs Distaff Mile (G2). She’ll be joined by Zapparition, second in The Very One (G3), Aviate, third in the Honey Fox, and Gulfstream allowance winner Tapitsfly.
The $300,000 Churchill Downs (G2) will feature two-time Gulfstream winner Apriority, second in the Carter (G1), Sir Shackleton winner Capt. Candyman Can. The $100,000 Twin Spiresturf Sprint (G3) will be led by Mr. Prospector (G3) second-place finisher Custom for Carlos and Bridgetown, winner of a March 18 allowance race.