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The following post appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.

Now the winner in three of his four starts, including Sunday’s Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, Dialed In has risen from winner of a maiden special to G1 victor in three quick steps. The colt’s rise has been so precipitous that trainer Nick Zito seemed almost apologetic for raising the colt so quickly in class.

In truth, the conservative-minded Zito has tended to work his stock through conditions and place them in classic competition only after quite a bit of seasoning. But Dialed In has demanded a somewhat different approach.

The nice-looking bay colt has a pedigree that swoons with a delirious mixture of stamina and speed, but Dialed In seemed even as a young horse to have combined all the best elements of those forebears, as attested by his auction price of $475,000 at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale.

By a Horse of the Year, Dialed In is out of a highly pedigreed mare from a family with intense speed and precocious development.

The sire of the Florida Derby winner is champion Mineshaft, a son of Horse of the Year A.P. Indy and the outstanding producer Prospectors Delite, by Mr. Prospector. In addition to winning the G1 Acorn and Ashland stakes on the racetrack, Prospectors Delite produced five stakes winners from five foals, including the G1 winners Mineshaft and his full sister Tomisue’s Delight.
Mineshaft was a May 17 foal, unraced at 2, and sent to race in Europe, where he gained experience over turf, which did not appear to his liking. Returned to race in the States at 4, Mineshaft won seven of nine starts, including four G1s (Jockey Club Gold Cup, Woodward, Suburban, and Pimlico Special), and was named champion older horse and Horse of the Year.

In contrast to Mineshaft, Dialed In’s dam, Miss Doolittle showed speed and class at 2, when she ran second in the G2 Schuylerville at Saratoga. Furthermore, both Miss Doolitle’s sire and dam were top-class 2-year-olds. Sire Storm Cat was nearly champion of his age, losing narrowly to champion Tasso (by Fappiano) in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and dam Eliza was champion of her division at 2 when she was victorious in the BC Juvenile Fillies.

As a broodmare, Eliza has been good but nothing like as dominant as she proved on the racetrack. To date, her best racer has been Samuel Morse (Danehill Dancer), winner at G2 level in Europe.

The speedier of two top-class horses produced by the outstanding broodmare Daring Bidder, Eliza is a half-sister to Dinard (Strawberry Road). Allen Paulson bred both Eliza and the Santa Anita Derby winner, and his wife Madeleine bred Miss Doolittle, who sold for $1.3 million at the 1999 Keeneland July select sale and raced for W.S. Farish, Paulson, and Skara Glen Stable.

Eliza is one of three champions by the important stallion Mt. Livermore, a son of Blushing Groom who stood his entire career at Gainesway Farm, like his sire. The other Eclipse Award winners by Mt. Livermore are Housebuster and Orientate.

There is a great deal of obvious speed in Miss Doolittle’s ancestors, and the mare passed along some speed and class with a stakes winner and a stakes-placed racer from her first two foals.

But when sent through the ring at last year’s Keeneland November sale, the good-looking and powerfully made mare brought only $85,000 in foal to Horse of the Year Curlin. At the time, I told an associate, “that man has made his money already.”

And Dialed In wasn’t even the winner of a maiden at the time.

The buyer was Arindel Farm, owned by Alan Cohen, which purchased 11 broodmares at the auction, including such major performers and producers as Solvig, Dat You Miz Blue, and Sara’s Success, as well as Miss Doolittle.

The Ocala breeding and racing operation has more than 30 broodmares at present, with Miss Doolittle being the star of the day. Cohen said the mare “foaled a filly Feb. 7, and it is gorgeous, the nicest foal we have, and she looks like Curlin.”

Cohen noted the farm has several nice foals already this year, called the Curlin half-sister to Dialed In a “standout.” Furthermore, the owner said Miss Doolittle is back in foal to Mineshaft with a full sibling to Dialed In after being checked in foal a week ago.

Cohen said, “We love the horse and love the sport. We’ve been in the business for a while and had decided to buy some more nice ones at Keeneland. And it’s really great we were able to get that kind of horse.”

One reason Cohen believes he was able to collect such quality stock for realistic prices is that “we wanted to race some more, and we take a chance on the 10-, 11-, and 12-year-old mares. Mares with performance on the track and as producers. We figure they will continue to produce nice babies, and because basically we are breeding to race and not to sell, the commercial consideration didn’t matter to us.”

Arindel will produce about 20 racehorses a year for Cohen’s stable, and the operation in Ocala will focus on racing its stock, selling a few and racing most.

Will the Curlin filly out of Miss Doolittle prove a tough decision to race or sell? Somehow, I doubt it.