Photo: Coady photography
Victories in consecutive stakes could be on the menu for
Gourmet Dinner when he returns to Monmouth Park to take on six rivals in
Saturday’s Grade 3 $150,000 Philip Iselin Stakes.
The 4-year-old son of Trippi, who is based in New York with
trainer Bruce Brown, certainly feels at home at the Jersey Shore. In his last
race, he captured the $100,000 Majestic Light Stakes on the Haskell
Invitational under card and the win was his first since November 2010 when he
took the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot as a 2-year-old.
The Iselin, which is 1/16 of a mile longer than the Majestic
Light, will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the main track and Gourmet Dinner
will match up again with Ponzi Scheme, who missed by only a neck, and Small
Town Talk, the third place finisher, here on July 29. Eldaafer, Self Control,
Toby’s Corner and San Pablo
round out the rest of the field.
The Iselin will be Eldaafer’s first race since he faded to
last in the Grade 1 $500,000 United Nations Handicap run at 1 3/8 miles on the
turf here on July 7. The 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner fired a pair of
bullet workouts on Monmouth’s main track while prepping for the Iselin.
“He’s bright-eyed, healthy, happy and ready to go. He’s got
fire coming out of him,” said trainer Diane Alvarado.
That was not the case after the United Nations.
“He came out of the United Nations and he was sick,”
Alvarado said. “He had a temperature and two days after the race it was up to
103 (degrees). From the way he ran, I knew there had to be something wrong with
him. He had trained too good to run like that.”
Eldaafer, who was second in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap at
1 ½ miles on the Belmont Park dirt two starts back, is known as a router but
Alvarado said that the distance of the Iselin will suit him perfectly.