Derby Contenders

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Nick Zito


Zito saddled Kentucky Derby winners Strike the Gold in 1991 and Go For Gin in 1994 and trained Bird Town, who won the 2003 running of the Kentucky Oaks. He was inducted into the racing Hall of Fame in 2005. During that same year he saddled a record five starters for the Kentucky Derby, for five different owners. He has also won the Preakness with Louis Quatorze in 1996 and the Belmont twice with Birdstone in 2004, and Da’Tara in 2008.Zito got his start in horse racing as a teenager hot walking and grooming horses for trainer Buddy Jacobson, a leading trainer in New York during the 1960s. He later moved on to assistant trainer to Hall of Famer LeRoy Jolley and John Campo. In 1972 he saddled his first winner and in 1981 he scored his first graded stakes victory in the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga with Mayanesian.Zito has won over 150 stakes races in his career and has won four runnings of the Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.Born February 6, 1948 in New York City, New York.

Julien Leparoux


Leparoux is a two time Eclipse champion jockey and only the fourth to win the honor for top apprentice (2006) as well as journeyman rider (2009). He won the Shoemaker award in 2009 in recognition of his three Breeder's Cup wins that year. He is a five time Breeder's Cup winner.He grew up around racing in Chantilly, France and knew at a young age he wanted to be a jockey. Father Robert was a jockey and assistant trainer. Julien came to North American in 2003 and began working for trainer and fellow Frenchman Patrick Biancone galloping horses. Leparoux began riding in 2005 at Saratoga, but his breakout season came in 2006. He won riding titles as an apprentice at Turfway Park, Churchill Downs, and Keeneland. In 2008 he tied Pat Day's record of seven wins on a single card at Churchill Down's fall meet.Top mounts have included: Informed Decision, Forever Together, Gorella, Dialed In, Warrior’s Reward, She Be Wild, Pure Clan, and Wise Dan and Turallure. Julien Leparoux was born on July 15, 1983 and resides in Louisville, Kentucky.

Robert LaPenta


LaPenta and Zito have teamed up on three trips to the Kentucky Derby, but the closest they have come to the winner’s circle is a fifth place finish with The Cliff’s Edge in 2005.  His horse, Ice Box, finished second in the 2010 Kentucky Derby.  In 2007 LaPenta won the Eclipse Award for top two-year-old War Pass, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for that year.  Upset the 2008 Belmont Stakes with Da’Tara, who won at odds of 36-1.Introduced to horse racing by his mother, he entered racing in 1998 with basketball coach Rick Pitino and in 2001 started his own stable purchasing eight yearlings for $895,000 at sale. His horses run in the maroon and gold colors of his alma mater Iona College.LaPenta and Zito have had considerable success purchasing yearlings and later selling them as two-year-olds. One notable one is Fusaichi Samurai, who LaPenta purchased for $270,000 and sold him at sale for $4.5 million.Top runners campaigned: Andromeda’s Hero, Coal Play, The Cliff’s Edge, Cool Coal Man, Superfly, and C P West. He is the current Chairman of the board, president, and CEO of Identity Solutions, a company that specializes in protecting personal identities and assets. Resides in Westport, Connecticut.

  • Photo: Reed Palmer Photography

  • Photo: Reed Palmer Photography

  • Photo: Reed Palmer Photography

  • Photo: Reed Palmer Photography

  • Photo: Adam Coglianese

  • Photo: Adam Coglianese

  • Photo: Adam Coglianese

  • Photo: Adam Coglianese

  • Photo: Adam Coglianese

  • Photo: Adam Coglianese


Mineshaft--Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat

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  • The offspring of a late-maturing, distance-loving sire and a speedy, precocious dam, he hopes to inherit the best qualities of both.
  • Dialed In was bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish, Madeleine Pickens and Skara Glen Stables
  • Sire Mineshaft reached the peak of his powers as a four-year-old, earning Horse of the Year honors after romps in the 1 1/4-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and Suburban H. (G1), 1 3/16-mile Pimlico Special H. (G1) and 1 1/8-mile Woodward S. (G1), Ben Ali S. (G3) and New Orleans H. (G2).
  • Mineshaft is regally bred, being by 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy (himself a son of 1977 Triple Crown legend Seattle Slew) and out of Broodmare of the Year Prospectors Delite, by supersire Mr. Prospector, and he is starting to live up those bloodlines at stud.
  • Enjoyed a breakout year in 2010 by siring top performers across the distance spectrum -- Dwyer S. (G2) romper Fly Down missed narrowly in the 1 1/4-mile Travers S. (G1) and 1 1/2-mile Belmont S. (G1), and finished a rallying third in the 1 1/4-mile Breeders' Cup Classic (G1); Redding Colliery set a 1 1/8-mile track record at Laurel and stayed 1 1/4 miles to win the Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2); Discreetly Mine won the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star S. (G3), but ultimately thrived as a sprinter and concluded the season with a stunning victory in the seven-furlong King's Bishop S. (G1); and A. U. Miner made a name for himself in the marathon division.
  • Dialed In's dam, the Storm Cat mare Miss Dolittle, came to hand a lot sooner than Mineshaft. After breaking her maiden in a five-furlong dash early in her two-year-old season, she finished third in the Schuylerville S. (G2) at Saratoga. She never raced beyond six furlongs over her brief career, which ended in the spring of her three-year-old campaign.
  • Miss Dolittle has produced four winners prior to Dialed In, and three of them were sprinters, topped by Astoria S. victress Broadway Gold (by Seeking the Gold). Her only router is the stakes-placed Mambo Master (by Kingmambo), who won at up to 1 1/8 miles.
  • Miss Dolittle is herself out of Eliza, the champion two-year-old filly of 1992. As dominant as she was up to 1 1/16 miles, she lost both of her starts at 1 1/8 miles, finishing third versus males in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and runner-up in the Kentucky Oaks. Her best foal so far is Group 2-placed stakes winner Samuel Morse (by Danehill Dancer), a precocious two-year-old in Ireland last year who also appears to have distance limitations.
  • Miss Dolittle's sire, Storm Cat, ranks as an influential sire the world over, with such outstanding sons as Giant's Causeway and Tale of the Cat perpetuating the male line, but he is also a potent broodmare sire. Mares by Storm Cat have produced the likes of Sky Mesa and Jump Start, both emerging young sires bred along the same cross as Dialed In; champions Speightstown and Folklore; two-time Japanese champion Phalaenopsis; current multiple Group 1 winner Misty for Me, a European classic hopeful; reigning Grade 1 queen Harmonious; and last year's Santa Anita Derby conqueror Sidney's Candy.

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The $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (Grade I) has been added to the list of races that comprise the 2014-15 “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” The series of 35 select races – 19 “Prep Season” races and 16 “Championship Series” races – will determine which horses qualify to the 141st running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby.

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