01/31/2011 4:05PM

Zito mulls what's next for Holy Bull winner Dialed In

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Adam Coglianese
Trainer Nick Zito said Dialed In would stay on the Derby trail in Florida.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.– After winning Sunday’s Grade 3 Holy Bull with Dialed In, trainer Nick Zito’s biggest problem now isn’t getting into the Kentucky Derby. It’s figuring out how to get there.

Dialed In rose to the upper echelon of the 3-year-old division after rallying from last to a decisive 1 1/2-length victory over Sweet Ducky and a strong field in the Holy Bull. The win, for which he received a Beyer Speed Figure of 96, was worth $240,000 in graded earnings to Dialed In, all but assuring him a spot in this year’s Derby field. Watch Replay: Holy Bull >>

“It gets tricky from here,” Zito said Monday morning from Palm Meadows, where Dialed In is stabled. “We already got the money, now I have to figure what to do next. I’m not shipping this horse, he’s staying here, that’s number one. Whatever we figure out, it will be here. That’s the trail to the Derby for this horse. We know he likes to train here and know he likes the track at Gulfstream.”

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Among Zito’s options are to bring Dialed In back in the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 26 or find another race to use as a prep for the Grade 1 Florida Derby on April 3. He could also train Dialed In up to the Florida Derby but that would then mean going into the Kentucky Derby with just three career starts and only one in more than three months.

“If I decide I want more time between the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth, I’d be in trouble if I don’t get another race before the Florida Derby,” said Zito. “The ideal situation would be if we could get an overnight stakes during the first week of March, since he’s already got the earnings. We’ll just have to play it by ear, see how he does and what develops.”

Another factor which could play into any decisions made regarding Dialed In’s itinerary is the fact that a victory in the Florida Derby would make him eligible for a $5.5 million bonus should he also go on to capture the Preakness.

The Fountain of Youth is also an option for Dialed In’s three most immediate victims in the Holy Bull, Sweet Ducky, Gourmet Dinner and Mucho Macho Man.

Trainer Kelly Breen was uncommitted as to whether he will send Sweet Ducky into to the Fountain of Youth or just wait for the Florida Derby instead.

“We’ll have to see how much this race knocked him out, maybe wait a workout or two, before making any definite decisions,” said Breen. “We don’t want to try and make every dance and not have a fresh horse for the Florida Derby.”

Trainer Steve Standridge was extremely pleased with the way Gourmet Dinner performed to finish third, just a head behind Sweet Ducky, especially after breaking from post 1 out of the one-mile chute.

“No question the post cost us second but that’s just the luck of the draw,” said Standridge. “He ran well and came back good, that’s the main thing. We’ll wait for him to get back to the track for a few days before sitting down and talking about where to aim next. We have the luxury of enough money to get into the Derby but he is the type of horse who just loves to train and run.”

Trainer Kathy Ritvo said the Fountain of Youth will likely be the next stop for Mucho Macho Man, who forced a lively pace before faltering late to finish fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the Holy Bull.

“He was a little keyed up and closer to the pace than expected,” said Ritvo. “I’ve been toying with the idea of taking the blinkers off him in the morning and hopefully with that and a race under his belt he’ll be able to settle better in the Fountain of Youth.”