Dialed In Is Early Kentucky Derby Favorite
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY (AP) — Dialed In was made the early 4-1 favorite for the Kentucky Derby, with Uncle Mo as the second choice in a full field of 20 horses.
Trained by two-time Derby winner Nick Zito, Dialed In drew the No. 8 post on Wednesday. Ten horses have won from that position, the last being 50-1 shocker Mine That Bird two years ago. Ill-fated Barbaro also broke from the No. 8 post to win in 2006.
“It’s a big thing, and he deserves it,” Zito said, referring to his horse’s status as the favorite.
Three times in the last seven runnings the favorite has worn the garland of roses, most recently Big Brown in 2008.
“So far, so good,” Zito said. “If he has another couple of good days we’ll be happy. Things are doing all right.”
Things haven’t been going so well for Uncle Mo, who drew the No. 18 post, three slots from the outside. The colt is being treated for a gastrointestinal infection, which was blamed for his stunning first-ever defeat in last month’s Wood Memorial.
Owner Mike Repole has said if Uncle Mo isn’t sufficiently recovered, then he won’t run in Saturday’s 1 1/4-mile Derby. However, trainer Todd Pletcher said Uncle Mo might be able to win even if he’s at less than his best.
“But we’re committed to bringing him over there at 100 percent, anything less than that, we won’t accept,” he said.
Uncle Mo, who was last year’s 2-year-old champion, jogged a mile around the dirt track at Churchill Downs on Wednesday and later stood in the starting gate to familiarize himself with the surroundings. He is scheduled to gallop on Thursday.
“I’ve always said I think he’s the best horse of his generation,” Pletcher said. “We proved that last year and identified what we thought was the reason for the poor performance in the Wood. I think if he shows up and he’s the Uncle Mo from the Breeders’ Cup or the Champagne or even the Timely Writer, he’s the horse to beat.”
Only one horse since 1900 has come out of the No. 18 hole to win and that was Gato Del Sol in 1982.
Repole’s other colt, Stay Thirsty, landed in the No. 4 post and is 20-1 on the morning line set by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.
Todd Pletcher trains both Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty. He ended an 0 for 24 skid in the Derby last year when Super Saver won from the No. 4 post.
Nehro was the third choice at 6-1. The other 17 horses were all listed at double-digit odds.
Arkansas Derby winner Archarcharch drew the unfavorable No. 1 post along the inside rail. That position did in last year’s Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky, who was blocked behind horses and finished sixth for trainer Bob Baffert.
The No. 1 post was the last position revealed during the draw, creating suspense until the very end for nervous owners, trainers and jockeys who didn’t want to be trapped down there.
The draw was a traditional pill pull in which horses’ entries are pulled at the same time as a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from the starting gate.
Archarcharch and Baffert’s Midnight Interlude were the co-fourth choices.
The other trainer with two starters is Mike Maker, who will saddle Twinspired and Derby Kitten.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)