Florida invader Gourmet Dinner, fresh off a big win in last month's $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III), looks to take another big bite out of the rich 2010 juvenile pie in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) at Hollywood Park Dec. 18.
At odds of 20-1, Gourmet Dinner drew off for a 2 1/4-length win in Louisiana's Nov. 20 Jackpot at 1 1/16 miles for his fourth triumph in five lifetime starts.
Gourmet Dinner arrived at Hollywood on the evening of Dec. 14 for the 1 1/16-mile CashCall Futurity, which will be contested over Hollywood's Cushion Track. The race is the ninth race on the program with a probable post of 4:37 p.m. PST.
Trained by Steve Standridge, who earned his first victory of the year in the Jackpot, the Calder-based 2-year-old son of Trippi is owned by William J. Terrill's Our Sugar Bear Stable. Sebastian Madrid, who has ridden Gourmet Dinner in every one of his races, also plans to make the trip to Southern California. Gourmet Dinner figures to be one of the favorites in an even field of 10.
“I don’t think the synthetic will bother him,” said Standridge Dec. 15 of Gourmet Dinner, whose previous starts have all been on dirt. “We thought he was a grass horse all along.
“He’s definitely going to be off the pace, probably six or seven lengths back,” Standridge said. “He will probably have a minor blowout tomorrow (Dec. 16) to get a feel of the track."
Gourmet Dinner won the first three races of his career, including victories in a pair of Florida Stallion Stakes, before finishing second in the final leg of the series, the In Reality Stakes Oct. 16. That was his first try around two turns and he rebounded from that nicely to control the Delta Jackpot after being taken in hand early.
Standridge took over training of Gourmet Dinner prior to the In Reality after Peter Gulyas saddled him earlier.
Gourmet Dinner, who drew post 7 in the field of 10, has earned $809,660 in his brief career. Terrill, who owns the horse with his wife Bernadette, co-bred the bay colt with Ocala Stud. He purchased him for $40,000 out of the 2-year-old sale at Ocala in April.
The colt can cap a banner year for Florida-bred 2-year-olds. Unbeaten Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner Awesome Feather appears a cinch to win the Eclipse Award in her division. Ocala Stud also bred Turbulent Descent, who extended her unbeaten streak to three with a victory in the $412,250 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) Dec. 11.
Also in from Florida is Rustler Hustler, winner of a pair of minor grass stakes at Monmouth and Belmont parks in his most recent starts. Rick Dutrow Jr. recently took over the conditioning of the son of Ecton Park owned by Paul Pompa Jr. and Golden Goose Enterprises. Rustler Hustler enters the race with three wins in five starts this year and earnings of $144,470. Ramon Dominguez has the call.
Leading the local contingent is Comma to the Top, seeking his third stakes win of the Autumn meet and his fifth consecutive victory overall. He drew the far outside post.
Owned by Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum and Kevin Tsujihara and trained by Peter Miller, Comma to the Top began the meet with a gate-to-wire romp by 6 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Real Quiet Stakes Nov. 6. He returned three weeks later to again show the way in his turf debut in the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT), winning by 1 3/4 lengths.
Corey Nakatani, who is seeking his first Futurity score, retains the mount on the Florida-bred Bwana Charlie gelding.
J P's Gusto is the sole participant with a grade I on his resume. The son of Successful Appeal captured the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) at seven furlongs by 4 1/2 lengths Sept. 8. He is winless in two subsequent tries at two turns, finishing second in Oak Tree's Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) prior to a sixth-place effort in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) in his first race on dirt Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.
Trained by David Hofmans for Gem Stable, J P’s Gusto has won four of seven, including a pair of stakes at Hollywood this summer, and banked $387,360.
Clubhouse Ride, coming off a third in the Delta Downs Jackpot, will be making the 10th start of his career for Six-S Racing Stable and Mike Petralia and trainer Craig Lewis. A two-time winner with six in-the-money performances and earnings of $197,550, the Candy Ride colt finished six lengths behind Gourmet Dinner.
J. Paul Reddam, who is the founder of the loan company that sponsors the Futurity, is the majority owner of High Level Jeff, a son of Vindication trained by Doug O’Neill. Also owned in part by his former trainer Steve Dwoskin, High Level Jeff was fifth as the favorite in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III) when debuting for O’Neill and Reddam.
A first-out winner on the Del Mar turf Aug. 25, Ronin Dax is back home after two fifth-place showings in grade III events at Woodbine and Churchill Downs.
Slammer Time will be trying to become the first California Cup Juvenile winner to capture the Futurity. The Grand Slam colt is trained by Gary Mandella for owner Alto Racing.
Second in the Prevue after an impressive maiden-winning debut, Industry Leader tries two turns for the first time. The son of Cherokee Run is trained by Kristin Mulhall, looking to become the first female trainer to win the Futurity.
Completing the cast is Riveting Reason, owned and bred by trainer Myung Kwon Cho. Third in both the Del Mar Futurity and the Norfolk, the Fusaichi Pegasus colt broke his maiden in his sixth start Nov. 25.
$750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I, Race 9, 4:37 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles (Synthetic)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Ronin Dax (KY), M E Smith, R Troeger
2. J P's Gusto (KY), J Talamo, D E Hofmans
3. Rustler Hustler (PA), R A Dominguez, R E Dutrow, Jr.
4. Slammer Time (CA), D R Flores, G Mandella
5. High Level Jeff (KY), J Rosario, D F O'Neill
6. Clubhouse Ride (KY), P A Valenzuela, C A Lewis
7. Gourmet Dinner (FL), S O Madrid, S W Standridge
8. Riveting Reason (KY), A Quinonez, M K Cho
9. Industry Leader (KY), R Bejarano, K Mulhall
10. Comma to the Top (FL), C S Nakatani, P Miller
All carry 121 pounds.
Blinkers off: Ronin Dax