Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do we have 'Dinner' reservations for Sept. 24?

A table-scrap of evidence has surfaced suggesting that a horse once on the Kentucky Derby trail, might finally be on the comeback trail.

GOURMET DINNER is among the 44 nominations received July 4 for the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby-G2, to be run at Parx Racing on Sept. 24, entered by owners Our Sugar Bear Stable and trainer Bruce R. Brown.

The bay son of Trippi-Potluck Dinner, by Pentelicus, more than earned his way into the Derby field by winning the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes as a 2-year-old. He earned some fans with his consistent performances and determined efforts in hitting the board behind Dialed In and Sweet Ducky in the Holy Bull S.-G3 and Soldat in the Fountain of Youth S.-G2 at age 3.

Then, Gourmet Dinner was whisked from the Derby's table in March, just as he was expected to be training up to the Florida Derby. His rather silent connections finally confirmed that the horse had suffered a "minor injury" and needed time off. After more than four months out of training, it is unlikely that Gourmet Dinner's connections would pay the fee to nominate him for a big race in September if the horse had no chance at all of being back in action by then.

Considering I was on this horse's bandwagon before he ever ran a race, let alone earned $989,660 -- tipping the son of as a top prospect out of the Ocala April sale, where he brought $40,000 as Hip 277 -- I was among those most eagerly awaiting another taste from a reheated Gourmet Dinner.

This week's announcement of nominations to the Pennsylvania Derby -- a list that also includes Preakness winner Shackleford, a Zayat trio of Jaycito, Joe Vann and Prayer for Relief, and Repole stablemates Stay Thirsty and Uncle Mo -- piques my appetite.

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