After his surprise victory in the $125,000 Affirmed Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes, trainer Joe Calascibetta entered D’nied Permission in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes with tempered expectations, knowing that his combatants that day, specifically Itsmyluckyday and Sr. Quisqueyano would be tough. What the veteran conditioner didn’t expect was for the son of D’Wildcat to drop his rider shortly after the post parade and run off, essentially costing the gelding any shot at success.
“I’m not trying to make excuses, because in this game you could make them all day,” Calascibetta said of the incident that occurred prior to D’nied Permission’s fourth-place finish. “But I think that was part of the reason he didn’t run as good as he could have; I think that took a little out of him.
“I’m still not entirely sure what happened,” Calascibetta continued. “I guess he got spooked and he got away from the pony, unseated the rider, and ran off for about an eighth of a mile. It wasn’t anything bad, and afterwards he was fine, but you don’t want to see that going into a race.”
Tracking the pace from fifth that day, D’nied Permission made a mild move at the head of the stretch but was never finding his best strides late and was beaten nearly nine lengths when crossing the wire fourth, well in back of top-two finishers Itsmyluckyday and Sr. Quisqueyano and a neck shy of Joshua’s Comprise in third.
Despite that star-crossed performance, Calascibetta is encouraged in advance of Saturday’s $300,000-estimated In Reality, the final leg of the 2012 Florida Stallion Stakes.
“I think getting a two-turn race in him last time is going to help,” Calascibetta said of the one mile and 70-yard Foolish Pleasure. “And I like the way the race shapes up. It looks like there is enough speed in there that they could go quick up front and then back up on us. That is why were lucky to have a rider like (Luis) Saez for the race.
“It sounds cliché, but he has a clock in his head, and he’ll be able to tell if their going too slow and he needs to be aggressive or if the pace is quick and he can just sit back and wait.”
With D’nied Permission, Calascibetta will be making his third appearance in the In Reality, with his best previous finish a third-place run by Megacles in 1999.
DECISIVE MOMENT AND GORUMET DINNER RENEW ACQUAINTANCES
It has been nearly 23 months since Gourmet Dinner and Decisive Moment met on track, with 2 ¼ lengths separating the pair in the 2010 running of the $1 million Delta Jackpot, but the colts will return to Calder, where each started his career, to renew a rivalry that had gone dormant when running in the Grade 3 Spend A Buck Handicap.
Gourmet Dinner began his career at Calder on July 17, 2010, where he was a one-length winner at first asking, besting eventual three-time Grade 2 winner Mucho Macho Man. One week later, on July 24, Decisive Moment was unveiled to a head victory, getting passed late before showing determination to come on again and prevail.
From there, the two colts met for the first time in the $75,000 Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes, a race won by Gourmet Dinner with Decisive Monument crossing the wire an impeded fourth, placed third by the stewards after getting bumped hard by a rival in the stretch.
Gourmet Dinner would return to win the Affirmed Division of the Stallion Stakes, a race skipped by Decisive Moment, before the pair was reunited in the In Reality, where Gourmet Dinner was denied a series sweep when finishing second to Motin, one length ahead of Decisive Moment in third.
The two colts then traveled to Delta Downs for the $1 million Delta Jackpot where they would meet one last time, with Gourmet Dinner taking home top prize at odds of 20-1 and Decisive Moment the surprise runner-up at 48-1.
Following the Delta Jackpot, both Gourmet Dinner and Decisive Moment split ways in pursuit of the 2011 Kentucky Derby, with only Decisive Moment making it successfully to Louisville, parlaying a win in the $250,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes and a second in the Grade 3 Spiral into a 14th-place run in the Derby.
Gourmet Dinner, who had shipped to California to close his juvenile season with a fourth in the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity, began his 3-year-old season with a third in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes and a second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth before getting knocked off the Derby trail with a shin injury.