Photo: Hollywood Park
Florida invaders Gourmet Dinner and Rustler Hustler
exercised on the Hollywood Park main track Wednesday morning after being flown
Tuesday for the $750,000-guaranteed CashCall Futurity, a Grade I test for
2-year-olds on Cushion Track Saturday.
Gourmet Dinner, based at Calder with trainer Steve
Standridge, and Rustler Hustler, stabled at Gulfstream with conditioner Rick
Dutrow, arrived here at 6:30 p.m. after a flight that originated in West Palm Beach, Fla.,
stopped in New Orleans and landed in Ontario.
Gourmet Dinner, victorious in the rich Delta Jackpot
Stakes in Louisiana for his fourth victory in five starts on November 20,
figures to be one of the favorites in a field of 10 with regular rider
Gourmet Dinner, a Florida-bred colt by Trippi out of
the Pentelicus mare Potluck Dinner, hopes to provide his connections with
another prime rib celebration.
“I don’t think the synthetic will bother him,” said
Standridge of the colt 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,” continued Standridge. “He will probably have a
minor blowout tomorrow (Thursday) to get a feel of the track.
“He’s probably the best horse I’ve had,” said
Standridge, who has trained for 25 years, mostly in Florida. “I had a good sprinter a couple
years ago, Mach Pride, who won a Grade II at Calder and finished fourth in a
couple of Grade I’s in New York. But he was a stone sprinter. This one can run
two turns. In the back of ouf minds, we’re thinking (Breeders’ Cup) Classic
down the road.’’
Standridge credits jockey Darrel McHargue for his
start in the sport. “I went to school with Darrel at Western
School in Oklahoma
City,” said Standridge. “When he started riding, I
followed him to the barns.”
Standridge hopes for better luck with Gourmet Dinner
than he had with the first horse he flew to California. “I shipped Mach Ride out a
couple of years ago to run in the Sunshine Millions at Santa Anita, but he
popped an abscess and didn’t run,” said Standridge.
William J. Terrill, who co-bred the horse and owns
him with his wife Bernadette under the name Our Sugar Bear Stable, also hopes
for a better show in a return to California.
“My father trained Secret Prince,” said Terrill in reference to the longshot
seventh-place finisher in the 1983 Hollywood Futurity trained by William V.
Terrill, who divides his year between Florida and New
York, owns Ebert, a trucking company that transports
horses. He explained that he bred the colt in partnership with Mike O’Farrell’s
Ocala Stud and bought him out of the Ocala
2-year-old sale in April for $40,000. Gourmet Dinner has earned $809,660.
Terrill said he was also the underbidder on Rigoletta, winner of the Oak Leaf
Stakes here in October.
Gourmet Dinner hopes to cap a banner year for
Florida-bred 2-year-olds. Unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner
Awesome Feather appears a cinch to win the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old
filly. Ocala Stud also bred Turbulent Descent, who extended her unbeaten streak
to three with a victory in the $412,250 Hollywood Starlet, a Grade I, Dec. 11.
Rustler Hustler, supervised by Dutrow’s brother Chip,
jogged on the main track under exercise rider David Meah. The Pennsylvania-bred
son of Ecton Park has won his last two starts on turf
in stakes at Monmouth and Belmont, respectively.