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Bunny's Derby Darlings: Dialed In
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Bunny's Derby Darlings is a series on my favorite Kentucky Derby contenders.† Read the earlier parts of the series at:†

Part Five:† Dialed In

The Mineshaft colt out of a Storm Cat mare, Miss Doolittle, is a very impressive horse.† He has always been striking, selling for $475,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga 2009 Select Yearling Sale, also being one of my top choices.† Dialed In seems to be improving through his four race career.†

Dialed Inís first start at Churchill Downs was 6 Ĺ furlongs against a twelve horse field.† Though he ran at the back of the pack for the majority of the race, he appeared very spirited for the entire running. He showed the ability to handle a large field, and was capable of going wide.† I am glad he ran well at Churchill Downs, proving he could get a grip on the dirt track that many successful dirt horses never seem to handle.

After a commanding Holy Bull win in January, Dialed In made his next start in a one and one eighth mile allowance against older horses at Gulfstream.† When they broke from the gates, it was beginning to rain, and Dialed In was slowly brought to the back of the pack by the only jockey who has ever ridden him, Julien Leparoux.† During the early fractions of the race, Dialed In did not seem as comfortable as he was in the Holy Bull.† When asked for run, he accelerated powerfully, but failed to catch his stablemate, the four year old Equestrio.† The slow pace made it difficult for a come-from-behind win. Even putting in a fast last eighth of a mile, and carrying seven pounds less than Equestrio, Dialed In was still unable to seal the deal.

He certainly silenced any doubts last Saturday by winning the Florida Derby.† The track was rated fast, and the whole field was off to a good start.† I was impressed by Dialed Inís start in particular; he seemed quite composed, and those first few strides were smooth.

When Leparoux took him directly to the rail, Dialed In lost some ground on the field, dropping back fourteen lengths from the pacemakers, Shackelford and To Honor And Serve.† He remained comfortable in that spot for the majority of the race, but began to gain ground as they ran into the final turn.†

Leparoux had to take him about six paths wide, but that didnít slow Dialed In from advancing on the leaders.† With his fluid stride, he was eating up track, heading towards 68-1 shot, Shackelford.† Dialed In nipped Shackelford at the wire, who performed gallantly, finishing 6 ĺ lengths ahead of the third placer, To Honor And Serve. In a post-race interview with HRTV, trainer Nick Zito passionately stated, ďI haven't been this emotional since (1991 Kentucky Derby winner) Strike the Gold.† Once in a while special horses come around, and he's a special horse.Ē

Dialed In has an impeccable pedigree for the Classic distance.† In 2003, his sire, Mineshaft, won the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Woodward Stakes, and the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.†† His broodmare sire is Storm Cat, known as one of the most successful sires of all time.† Some of his outstanding progeny includes Giantís Causeway, and 2009 Breedersí Cup Ladiesí Classic winner, Life Is Sweet.

Owner Robert LaPenta said, "He just has an incredible heart and unbelievable talent.''

For this yearís Kentucky Derby, Dialed In will be a strong contender.† I like how he can hang off the pace, and compete well even with dirt in his face.† Dialed In has proven that he can go wide, which is a strong possibility, with a large Derby field.† Dialed In is the equivalent of a super-model with a high IQ; he has star-quality, speed and beauty.

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