Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gourmet Dinner hits Jackpot; class tops $3 million

Finishing second for the first time must have whet the winning appetite for GOURMET DINNER, because on Saturday at Delta Downs, the 2-year-old colt hoarded the glutton's share of a $1 million buffet.

The Trippi colt, a member of my 187-horse "class" of 2010 juvenile sales tips, "made a huge move on the turn and roared through the stretch" to score at 20/1 under Sebastian Madrid in the Delta Downs Jackpot S.-G3. Gourmet Dinner becomes the second graded stakes-winner from the class, and the $600,000 first-place check he cashed both vaults him well into the earnings lead among my sales tips with $809,660 banked, but also pushes the class' earnings over $3 million for their collective juvenile season.

Gourmet Dinner, a 2-year-old bred by Ocala Stud and William J. Terrill and campaigned by Terrill's Our Sugar Bear Stable, was 3-for-3 with a pair of Florida Stallion Series stakes wins before finishing second by a length to fellow sales-tip REPRIZED HALO in the high-dollar Florida Stallion In Reality Stakes at Calder on Oct. 16.

On Saturday at Delta, he was lightly regarded in a field led by 5/2 favorite Bug Juice and featuring other top selections in Sweet Ducky (3.3/1), Rush Now (3.6/1) and Classic Legacy (4.7/1). None of those would finish better than fourth.

Gourmet Dinner broke from the rail in the mile and a sixteenth test over fast dirt, and settled into a stalking position in sixth place, only a couple of lengths off the lead set by Bug Juice in fractions of 22.66 and 46.56. Gourmet Dinner wasn't involved in the near-disaster caused when fellow 20/1 long-shot Aces N Kings bolted from his inside position, blowing the far turn and carrying 8/1 Blue Laser and uber-long-shot Dreamsrunwild (102/1) out with him, not to mention losing his rider, Calvin Borel, who broke his jaw in the fall. And as the field turned for home, Gourmet Dinner grabbed the lead by a length and a half, then drew off to win by 2 1/4, in a final time of 1:45.23.

Finishing second to Gourmet Dinner was a Calder rival who has trailed him home before, 48/1 Decisive Moment, while Clubhouse Ride came home third at nearly 14/1.

The colt was trained for the victory by Steven Standridge. It was the first training victory of 2010 for Standridge, who served as an assistant trainer to Peter Gulyas, the trainer of record for Gourmet Dinner's first three victorious starts, which came before Standridge decided to hang his own shingle.

I tabbed Gourmet Dinner when he was catalogued as Hip 277 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April auction of 2-year-olds in training. He was entered in the sale to dissolve the breeding partnership of Ocala Stud and Terrill, but Terrill's agent Bruce Brown was the high-bidder (at what now was obviously a paltry $40,000) and gained sole ownership of the horse Terrill co-bred.

After breaking maiden at first asking, Gourmet Dinner collected victories in two installments of the Florida Stallion Series -- first in the Dr. Fager Stakes, and then the Affirmed Stakes. Had Reprized Halo not spoiled the party with his 46/1 shocker in the In Reality Stakes, I believe Standridge and Terrill might have followed the lead of Calder-based filly Awesome Feather and pointed Gourmet Dinner toward the Breeders' Cup Juvenile S.-G1 at Churchill.

Awesome Feather won the B.C. Juvenile Fillies to run her freshman-season record to 6-for-6 and establish herself as the likely runaway winner of the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly. Now with his decisive win at Delta, Gourmet Dinner and Decisive Moment are further evidence that this year's Calder juveniles are perhaps a stronger group than some observers might have credited them a month or two ago.

My interest in Gourmet Dinner was piqued by his 21.3 quarter-mile breeze, but more important, his dam Potluck Dinner (Pentelicus-Romantic Dinner, by Who's For Dinner) overcame her own lackluster, one-start track career to be a fine producer. She has borne two other stakes horses in GASTON A. and I'mroyallyMecke'd, plus a winner of 15 races for $163K in Crazybrook and a $219K-earner in On The Rail.

And as more than just an oh-by-the-way, Gourmet Dinner is a close cousin to another sales-tip who thus far is the group's only Grade 1 winner. He and $35,000 OBSAPR purchase RIGOLETTA (Concerto-Almost Aprom Queen) share second dam Romantic Dinner. Rigoletta was the 33/1 upsetter of Tell A Kelly in the Oak Leaf S.-G1 on synthetic at Hollywood Park, punching her own ticket to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies before a minor splint injury derailed her bid.

Two graded-stakes winners with about $1 million earned in their freshman seasons, bought for a combined $75,000 at OBSAPR. Perhaps this female family shouldn't be so overlooked at sales to come.

With two new winners on the weekend, my 2010 sales-tip class has 54 maiden-breakers from 187 total selections (21.9 percent) and 107 starters (38.3 percent).

As noted, Gourmet Dinner, who was the first of the class to become a stakes winner, joins his cousin Rigoletta as the two graded-stakes winners from the group. There are five stakes winners from the class (the other two besides Reprized Halo are FISCAL POLICY, who was unplaced Saturday in the $500,000 Delta Downs Princess S.-G3, and PULGARCITO), which equals 2.7 percent of all selections and 4.7 percent of those to race. The class boasts 12 total stakes-placed horses, for 6.4 percent.

The 107 sales-tips to start have combined for 54 wins from 358 starts (15.1 percent), with another 68 "place" finishes (34.1 percent in the exacta) and 39 "show" finishes (45 percent in the money).

With the windfall from Gourmet Dinner's "Jackpot," total class earnings have reached $3,003,429. That's $8,389 per start, and an average of $28,609 per starter. Considering about $6.4 million was bid on the horses I recommended on that list of 187 (not including those withdrawn from sales), the class has earned back nearly half of what was spent on it at auction; no small thanks to Gourmet Dinner.

Follow the performance of all 187 sales-picks, and a few pans, at this former post.


  1. You should talk to my brother. He was floating on his Gourmet Dinner exacta a couple of days ago.

  2. Holy cow, Noelle. That was a $759.80 exacta, for anybody who boxed (or went a cold 1-7) on the two Calder horses.

    Quite a score!


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