01/30/2011 7:49PM

Dialed In drops far back, finishes fast to take Holy Bull

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Joe Ganley/Equi-Sport
Dialed In rallied from far back under Julien Leparoux to take Sunday's Grade 3 Holy Bull.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -   Things didn’t go exactly as trainer Nick Zito had planned for his top 3-year-old prospect Dialed In. But they turned out even better than he could have expected Sunday at Gulfstream Park after Dialed In rallied from far back to register an impressive 1 1/2-length victory over Sweet Ducky in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes.

Zito had hoped to start Dialed In’s 3-year-old campaign nine days earlier going 1 1/8 miles in a first-level allowance race, but a sloppy track prompted the two-time Kentucky Derby- winning trainer to scratch and await the one-mile Holy Bull. He made that decision even though Dialed In would be making only his second career start against a field of more experienced, stakes-tested rivals that included 2-1 favorite Mucho Macho Man and the Grade 3, Delta Jackpot winner Gourmet Dinner.

But Dialed In, a son of Mineshaft owned by Robert LaPenta, proved more than equal to the task. Even after dropping nearly 15 lengths off the pace during the opening quarter-mile of the Grade 3 Holy Bull. Dialed In began to improve his position under jockey Julien Leparoux while saving ground around the turn, angled out well wide while continuing his bid entering the stretch, then seemed to hit another gear once switching leads at the sixteenth pole, quickly overtaking the  leaders to win going away.

Sweet Ducky raced well placed just off the early pace, moved four-wide to engage for command and turning into the stretch, forged to a short advantage near the eighth pole and continued on gamely to outlast Gourmet Dinner by a head for second. Mucho Macho Man disputed the rapid pace and remained in contention through late stretch before weakening near the end to finish fourth.

Black N Beauty, Leave of Absence, Printing Press, Major Gain, and Ribo Bobo completed the order of finish.

Dialed In ($7.40) picked up $240,000 in graded earnings for winning the Holy Bull, virtually assuring himself a spot in this year’s Kentucky Derby field. Final time for the mile over a fast track was 1:35.19.

“What a horse!,” Zito exclaimed. “I’ve never had a horse do this. Break his maiden and then go into a stakes race like the Holy Bull and do what he did. To do something like that is very special.”

Zito said he plans to take things nice and slow as Dialed In proceeds along the Derby trail.

“I’m going to put this in proper perspective this time,” said Zito. “We came so close with Ice Box last year. Now that we know we’re going to get there this year we’ll just take a cool, calm approach before deciding what to do next. Hopefully there will be no bumps in the road..”

By winning the Holy Bull, Dialed In also became eligible for the Preakness 5.5 bonus which would award him a $5.5 million bonus if he can win the Grade 1 Florida Derby here on April 3 and then the Preakness on May 21.