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Breeders Cup 2015
Royal Ascot 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Nick Zito Can Go the Distance

Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 9

It’s been a few years since Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito experienced that most magical moment of seeing his horse cross the Kentucky Derby wire before all the rest. 17 years to be exact.

Back then, Zito won it twice in a span of four runnings with Strike the Gold in 1991 and Go For Gin in 1994, but he’s had no winners since. It has not been for a lack of trying. Last year he had Ice Box come flying down the lane for 2nd. Five years before that, the native New Yorker sent the favorite Bellamy Road to the Derby, only to see him tire and finish a disappointing 7th. Don’t be too sad for the 63-year-old conditioner, though, for Nicholas P. Zito remains one of America’s top trainers, and one who has proven time and time again, he knows how to get a horse ready for the rigors of the Triple Crown.

Zito first became well known at his craft back in 1990, when he brought a speedy son of Slew O’ Gold, named Thirty Six Red to the Belmont. As the winner of the Wood Memorial, he was known as a colt with talent, but few expected him to get the Belmont distance. After a 2nd place finish in the 12 furlong Test of Champions, Zito’s prominence in the industry rose. When he guided Strike the Gold to a Derby win and a near miss in the Belmont the following spring, he became a star.

Since then, Zito has continued to flourish in the Spring Classics. In 1994, it was Go For Gin who skipped home over a sloppy track to give his trainer a second Derby triumph. In 1996, his Louis Quatorze rebounded from a Kentucky Derby debacle, to run one of the fastest editions of the Preakness ever run. Proving that distance is seldom a problem for his horses, Zito conditioned longshot Birdstone to power home late to send millions of Smarty Jones’ fans home unhappy in the 2004 Belmont. Then in 2008, Zito pulled off an even bigger shocker as Da’ Tara went wire-to wire in the 2008 Belmont.

Just last year, Zito displayed his prowess in the Spring Classics by sending a different horse off to a big performance in each leg of the Triple Crown. Ice Box ran a career best in the Derby, while Jackson Bend likely outran his distance limitations when he just missed 2nd in the Preakness, and then Fly Down was a somewhat unlucky runner-up in the Belmont. None of those three entered the Triple Crown with the credentials that Zito’s present charge will bring to Louisville in 2011.

This year, Zito brings a colt that he has more faith in than any other horse he has had in years. In Dialed In, he has a well bred colt that has done little wrong so far in his career. He is already the winner of two graded stakes in his brief four-race career, including a victory in the Grade 1 Florida Derby in his most recent start. He also has a win over the Churchill Downs oval in his debut last November. Zito promises that Dialed In will not be short in the Kentucky Derby. I find it easy to believe what the veteran trainer says.

Some will say that the son of Mineshaft is too slow, or benefited from other horse’s poor performances, or even that he can’t go the distance. Knowing the history of his trainer in the Triple Crown, I tend to look at those concerns with a grain of salt. When Nick Zito likes a horse this much, I pay attention. He is one trainer who has proven he can get his horses prepared to handle the distance.



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Older Comments about Nick Zito Can Go the Distance ...

I think 7/1 for the favorite to go off at is very realistic. Last year we had Lucky who was very consistent and Super Saver go off similar. With the doubts people are casting on Mo, I can definitely see it around there again for the favorite.
i trust Nick Zito 100%, it is now on the hands of Julien Leparaoux, how he is going to manouvare the horse.
i put money on both horses in previous races, Dialed In bring me money but not Nehro, in Lousiana derby i put $200.00 on Nehro, but he lost by hd, and i lost my money, it was 35/1 shot, i was 100% sure that day he was gpoing to win the Lousiana derby? but it was bad luck.
Great article!
I am not sure if Dialed In is the horse, but there is no trainer I would have rather train my potential Derby winner. While other trainers seem to train for a mile, Nick knows how to his horses ready for the longer distances.
I cant see uncle mo being 5-1 maybe 6-1 if, he does next weeks work on three legs. DI should be the same. Both horse need the "good trip" to win
He may, but I'm wondering what the favorite might be this year ... is 7-1 possible?
Dialed In will almost certainly take too much Derby action. In an evenly matched field I cannot see myself backing a horse coming from the clouds. He needs everything to go right to win and kudos to Zito if he gets the job done but it will be without my money.
At a mile I do not think he is slow at all. In fact I would not call him slow. I just feel that either he is a miler or that his moves are very ill timed. He makes these huge middle moves then flattens out. The only race he did not do that in this year was the Holly Bull. If his moves are ill timed than if he's allowed to wait a little longer before unleasing that kick he will be a huge threat. If not, then I would stick to mile races, so that he can still make that move and have enough left in the stretch.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Exceller Fund. Brian also consults for leading contest site Derby Wars, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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