05/21/2011 7:46PM

Preakness: Dialed In falls short in Pimlico bonus try

Tom Keyser
Nick Zito tends to Dialed In following his fourth-place finish in the Preakness.

BALTIMORE - The connections of Dialed In missed out on a huge payday as their colt’s late run fell 4 1/4 lengths short in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

They were eligible for a $5.5 million bonus if Dialed In could add the Preakness to earlier victories in the Holy Bull Stakes and the Florida Derby - both at Gulfstream Park - but Dialed In got squeezed at the start and could not sustain his late rally, finishing fourth behind Shackleford, the horse he ran down to win the Florida Derby in April.

The bonus was put up by Frank Stronach’s MI Developments, which owns both Gulfstream Park and Pimlico. Robert LaPenta, the owner of Dialed In, would have been eligible for $5 million of that bonus.

"Disappointed," said Nick Zito, who would have been eligible for a $500,000 bonus as the winning trainer. "It would have been great, could have took care of a lot of things. I got to be thankful; he’s a wonderful horse."

Zito reported that Dialed In came out of the Preakness with cuts on both hind ankles, though they didn’t seem to be more than superficial. Zito believes those cuts may have happened at the start of the race when Mucho Macho Man, who broke one slot inside Dialed In, came out into him.

Dialed In, under Julien Leparoux, was in the back of the back - one position behind Animal Kingdom - as the early fractions were solid. The quarter went in 22.69 seconds and the half-mile went in 46.87 seconds.

Dialed In was 21 lengths behind after the opening quarter and 16 3/4 lengths back after the half-mile. Dialed In still trailed the field around the far turn, but was following Animal Kingdom, who began to launch his bid under John Velazquez leaving the half-mile pole.

While Dialed In did make up a lot of ground in the stretch, it wasn’t enough.

"He got squeezed a little bit leaving there, he just didn’t really put me in the race," Leparoux said. "On the backside he felt really comfortable behind Animal Kingdom. I just followed him through everybody around the last turn and he kicked on to the finish."

Zito said he was disappointed that Dialed In had trouble at the start.

"He got squeezed and I’m a little disappointed in that," Zito said. "You can’t lose those lengths. On the other hand, he came with his run."

After finishing eighth as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Preakness with Dialed In, Zito said he would not rule out running the horse back in the Belmont Stakes on June 11. Zito said Dialed In would ship to Saratoga on Sunday and that he would discuss the future with LaPenta.

"I really want to take a hard look," said Zito, who has won the Belmont Stakes twice. "Let me talk to Bob, let me see what’s going on. It’s got to be day-by-day. Boy, he had a really good shot today. It’s one of those things. He still ran his race. He wasn’t disgraced.’"