- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2011

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Dialed In has a chance to become the Six-Million-Dollar Horse.

A win in the $1 million Preakness Stakes on May 21 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore would net Dialed In a $5.5 million bonus, in addition to the $600,000 winner’s share.

Dialed In is eligible for the bonus thanks to earlier 2011 victories in the Holy Bull Stakes and the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. MI Developments, parent company of Pimlico and Gulfstream, put up the bonus.

The potential $6.1 million in single-race earnings for Dialed In would set a North American record, eclipsing the $5.884 million earned by Smarty Jones in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Nick Zito said the potential for a lucrative payday isn’t his focus and that the bonus won’t alter his preparations for Dialed In, who was favored in the Kentucky Derby but finished eighth.

“For me, honestly, I’m telling you now — you could give mine to charity, as long as the feed man don’t mind,” Zito said. “He could take his and you could give the rest to charity. … You’ve got to pay your bills, that’s what it’s about. But I’m blessed, as you know, and I’m not going to change. I’m just grateful to have the horse.”

Zito said a workout before the Preakness was unlikely for the Robert LaPenta-owned son of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft. He plans to have jockey Julien Leparoux gallop the horse early next week before the colt flies to Maryland on May 18 but that nature ultimately would guide that decision.

“We’ll just keep watching the weather,” Zito said. “I guess you’ve got to be careful for $6 million, right? So we’ll just try and be as careful as we can.”

Zito denied any assertions that he was more interested in winning the Preakness $5.5 million bonus than what would have been his third Kentucky Derby.

Zito’s take would be $500,000 of the $5.5 million bonus, with the rest going to LaPenta.

“I can look you right through the eye, into your grandparents, into their forefathers. That’s not me,” he said.

“There’s no guarantees in racing, number one. So nobody’s that smart, including me. Second of all, the Derby, in my opinion, is worth three times that amount.”

Dialed In, the bettor’s top choice in the Kentucky Derby at 5-1, was squeezed somewhat at the start, and the notorious late runner was last of 19 horses after three-quarters of a mile.

The 1:13.40 time for the leaders of the race at that point was the slowest since 1947, meaning closers like Dialed In would be at a disadvantage because front-runners figured to have energy left for the final furlongs.

Dialed In began making his run, finishing the last half-mile in a little more than 47 seconds, a fractional time that racetrackers have suggested is the fastest since Secretariat came home in 46 2/5 seconds to win in 1973.

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