Triola Believes In Gourmet Dinner
January 16, 2014 09:27am
Gourmet Dinner
Photo: Coady photography

Gourmet Dinner, one of five horses set to challenge Florida-bred fan favorite Mucho Macho Man in Saturday’s $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, blew out three furlongs on Gulfstream Park’s main track Thursday morning.            

Trainer Bob Triola sent the 6-year-old son of Trippi out shortly after the second renovation break ended at 9 a.m. His wife and assistant, Nancy, was aboard for the move.            

“He’s good. He just went an easy three-eighths of a mile to open his head up and let him stretch his legs a little bit,” Triola said. “He blows out before every race, just to take the edge off him. He’s a good-feeling horse and he’s in really good form right now.”            

Gourmet Dinner has one win and three thirds in his last four starts since late September, most recently finishing fifth in the Broad Brush Stakes at Laurel Park on Dec. 7.            

“Really, his last four races he could have won them all,” Triola said. “He was down inside at Parx two races back and nobody wins on the inside at Parx. In the stakes, the winner got away with an easy lead and he had no kind of a pace to run at.”            

Based with Triola at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, Gourmet Dinner is the only other graded stakes winner in the Sunshine Millions Classic besides Mucho Macho Man, who he beat in their only two head-to-head meetings in 2010 and 2011.            

“He’s been very comfortable here. He’s run well over the racetrack, and he’s good. He’s ready to go,” Triola said. “Don’t get me wrong; we’re not delusional thinking we’re here to beat this horse. But it’s a lot of money and it’s a restricted race. The opportunity is there. He’s ready to run, so what the hell. We’ll take a shot. For everybody involved, it’s the right thing to do.”            

Triola and Gourmet Dinner got reacquainted with the Kathy Ritvo-trained Mucho Macho Man when the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner recuperated from a viral infection at Fair Hill .            

“We’ve been around a long time and we know him. He was up with us in the spring,” Triola said. “He’s a beautiful horse, and she’s (trainer Kathy Ritvo) has done a fantastic job. To be second to him would be no disgrace.”            

Triola is no stranger to stranger to South Florida having run horses here in the 1980s, and still owns the condo he bought near Gulfstream in 1981. Among his most notable horses were Lover’s Trust, a multiple stakes winner he also bred in Florida who finished fourth in the Flamingo (G1) at Hialeah in 1988, and Dancin Renee, a multiple stakes winner who went 14-for-21 lifetime including the Honorable Miss (G3) at Saratoga in 1997.           

“It’s been a while. I’ll be walking around and people see me and say, ‘Where have you been?' ” Triola said. “It’s good to be back.”            



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