Dialed In to Get Baptism by 'Fire' in 2012 Return

Dialed In to Get Baptism by 'Fire' in 2012 Return

03/02/2012

By Ed Gray

BOYNTON BEACH, FL – Dialed In will make his first start in more than eight months in Saturday’s seventh race at Gulfstream Park, but Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito found no easy spot for his 2011 Florida Derby champion’s return in the $67,1000 optional claiming allowance.

Dialed In, the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a field of eight, will meet Pants on Fire, the 2011 Louisiana Derby victor who will also be making his first start in 2012 in the mile race.

“Where do you get the Florida Derby winner and the Louisiana Derby winner in an allowance race? Only here,” Zito said of the pair of $1 million-race winners. “You never see it anywhere else, never. But we’ve got to get him back.”

Dialed In, who hasn’t raced since finishing fourth in the Preakness Stakes, was favored in last year’s Kentucky Derby on the strength of his late-closing victories in the Holy Bull (G3) and the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream. After getting squeezed at the start of the Run for the Roses, the son of Mineshaft closed from 19th and last to finish eighth. He also trailed the 14-horse Preakness field after early trouble before closing strongly to finish fourth.

Dialed In was subsequently discovered to have a chip in his right knee that required season-ending surgery. Robert LaPenta’s 4-year-old has been training well for his return at Palm Meadows Training Center.

“His workouts are good, but we didn’t crank him, crank him, crank him. This isn’t a Grade 1. But he’s cranked up enough to run, and he’s logged a lot of miles galloping,” Zito said. “The good thing is that he’s got a good bottom.”

Zito said he hasn’t set a schedule for Dialed In beyond Saturday’s allowance. “He’s a fan favorite. He’s a beautiful horse, a beautiful animal. I’m blessed to have him. We’re trying basically to get him back and get him started,” he said. “If all goes well, I’m sure I’ll figure something out.” Gulfstream Park’s leading jockey Javier Castellano will ride Dialed In for the first time Saturday.