LOUISVILLE, Ky. Dialed In was made the early 4-1 favorite for the Kentucky Derby after drawing the favorable No. 8 post, with Uncle Mo as the second choice in a full field of 20 horses.
Trained by two-time Derby winner Nick Zito, Dialed In has won three of four career races. Owner Robert LaPenta let out a cheer when the post was drawn Wednesday.
Its a big thing, and he deserves it, said Zito, referring to his horses 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 well be happy. Things are doing all right.
Things havent 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 months Wood Memorial.
Owner Mike Repole has said if Uncle Mo isnt sufficiently recovered, then he wont run in Saturdays 1-1/4-mile Derby. However, trainer Todd Pletcher said Uncle Mo might be able to win even if hes at less than his best.
But were committed to bringing him over there at 100 percent; anything less than that, we wont accept, he said.
Uncle Mo, who was last years 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 today.
Ive always said I think hes 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 hes the Uncle Mo from the Breeders Cup or the Champagne or even the Timely Writer, hes the horse to beat.
Uncle Mo would have to overcome a bit of history. Only one horse since 1900 has come out of the No. 18 hole to win, and that was Gato Del Sol in 1982.
Still, Pletcher and Repole were relieved to have avoided the rail.
We had this overlying fear we were going to get the 1, the trainer said. Once it was anything besides that, we were happy.