Nick Zito kept waiting for the moment to come. He kept watching his horse, Dialed In, at the back of the pack, and figured he was going to make a charge. Dialed In is a closer, after all, and he won the Florida Derby in impressive fashion with a strong finish, so why should the Kentucky Derby be any different?
Unfortunately for Zito, the charge never came. Of all the horses in the field, Dialed In seemed like the safest bet to at least hit the board, but the burst he showed in previous races just wasn't there, and the Derby favorite finished a disappointing eighth.
"He was back of the pack," Zito said. "He was dead last and they just never came back."
Zito was trying to become the seventh trainer in history to win his third Derby, but his horse just didn't have the speed everyone thought he would. He didn't appear to have been jostled around or blocked by anyone during the race. He just fell too far back and the pack never came back to him.
"He had a good trip," said jockey Julien Leparoux. "It went the way we planned it in the back, but they just didn't back up to us today."
Inexperience didn't matter
Surprisingly, it was a good day for horses who had not run on dirt prior to the Kentucky Derby. Not only did Animal Kingdom become the first ever horse to win the race despite without having competed on dirt, but Master of Hounds — a European horse who was mostly regarded as a turf runner, and didn't even arrive in Kentucky until a few days before the race — finished a strong fifth.
"I really like him," jockey Garrett Gomez said. "It was a great run for his first time on dirt. We had a really good trip. He ran sensationally through the dirt. I'm looking forward to riding him in the Belmont Stakes."
Archarcharch gave everyone a scare when he pulled up lame near the finish line and had to be carted off the track in an ambulance after the race. But at least for now, the injury doesn't look like it will be life threatening, and he might even race again, according to on-call veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage.
"He's in no distress at all," Bramlage said. "He walked right on the ambulance. He was lame when he pulled up but it wasn't a situation where he was in that much trouble."
Bramlage said x-rays showed the horse had fractured a bone in his front left leg, and that the injury will require surgery, but it's possible he could fully recover.