April 25, 2011

Based upon his late-closing victory in the G1 Florida Derby, Dialed In has established himself as a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender. Those interested in horse betting consider various factors when selecting horses they think can traverse the 10-furlong Derby distance: running style, workouts, post position and previous form chiefly come into play. Breeding also plays a huge role, and being a son of multiple 10-furlong G1 winner Mineshaft certainly suggests Dialed In won’t have a problem covering the distance. However, this $475k Keeneland yearling purchase also has a lot going for him on his damside, particularly in terms of class.

While his dam Miss Doolittle never won beyond 6 furlongs, she was G2-placed (Schuylerville) as a juvenile. His half-sister Broadway Gold (Seeking the Gold) was precocious, winning her juvenile debut by 11-lengths, and then capturing the Astoria next out. However, like her dam, she couldn’t stretch out beyond a sprint, and neither did his half-brothers Hometown Boy (Came Home) or Backstabber (Elusive Quality). Only another half-brother Mambo Master (Kingmambo) won beyond 8-furlongs, both on turf and on dirt.

The real class in this family, though, is Dialed In’s second dam, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies champion Eliza. In the space of little more than 3 months, Eliza went from winning her debut at Del Mar going 5.5 furlongs, to being G3 runner-up in the 7-furlong Sorrento, to crushing the 8-furlong G2 Arlington-Washington Lassie by 12 lengths, and finally winning the G2 Alcibiades going 8.5 furlongs before capturing the Breeders’ Cup in a new stakes record time:

As a 3-year-old, Eliza captured the G1 Santa Anita Oaks first up, a performance impressive enough for her connections to attempt open company for the first time, intent of following the path of 1988 Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors who captured both the Santa Anita Oaks and Santa Anita Derby. Caught and passed in the stretch, Eliza finished third, less than a length back of Personal Hope and Union City in the 9-furlong G1 Santa Anita Derby. It ended any thought of running her in the Kentucky Derby, according to owner Allen Paulson , who had two colts aimed that way already, Corby and Diazo. Her jockey Pat Valenzuela commented post-race:

"I thought if I could open up a clear margin entering the stretch, she would go on and we could win it. I could feel the last eighth of a mile that (Gary Stevens') horse was pretty strong and mine was starting to weaken. My filly ran a game race. She tried so hard. If Mr. Paulson wants to run her in the Oaks, I think that's a slam dunk." (LA Times, April 4, 1993)

Alas, that didn’t happen, as 81,882 race goers saw Ogden Mills Phipps’ Dispute run her down late, while odds-on favorite Eliza barely hung on for second against 34-1 Quinpool ridden by Julie Krone. Unfortunately, in four subsequent races Eliza only hit the board once—finishing third in the 6.5 furlong June Darling Handicap at Del Mar.

With that all in mind, it does appear Dialed In's damside may limit his ability to get that extra furlong, but combined with strong stamina sires (like his own Mineshaft), there’s also some promising indicators, such as his dam’s half-sister producing Attempted Humor (Distorted Humor), who finished third, a mere length back, in the 12-furlong G2 San Luis Obispo Handicap on turf. Overall, Dialed In doesn't have the strongest stamina pedigree in the field, but it's certainly one about which to be excited. And what a tribute it would be to his granddam Eliza.


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