Our Sugar Bear Stable’s Gourmet Dinner, a two-time Florida Stallion Stakes winner in 2010 before being denied a sweep when second in that year’s In Reality Stakes, cleared the Calder stable gate for the first time in 20 months on Wednesday morning when arriving at the barn of trainer David Braddy in advance of a planned start in the Grade 3 Spend A Buck Handicap on October 13.
“I’ve got some horses for Billy Terrill of Our Sugar Bear and I’m just helping out with a stall and keeping an eye on the horse for him and for trainer Bruce Brown,” Braddy said. “I spoke with Billy and the plan was to run in the Spend A Buck, and what they choose to do with the horse after the race is up to them.”
Gourmet Dinner was last seen finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, with his prior start resulting in a fourth-place finish when contesting the Grade 3 Philip Iselin at Monmouth Park.
“The plan is to blow him out once before the race,” Braddy said. “But it won’t be anything too strenuous. We haven’t picked out a day for that yet; it’s up to Billy to decide.”
Gourmet Dinner made the first four starts of his career at Calder where he prevailed in the first three, including the first two legs of the 2010 Florida Stallion Stakes, before his In Reality defeat. That outing, which came on October 16, 2010, was the son of Trippi’s last local appearance.
Gourmet Dinner would go on to win the $1 million Grade 3 Delta Jackpot in November of that year but was subsequently held winless until taking the $100,000 Majestic Light at Monmouth on July 29, 2012.
DREAMING OF SOPHIA BACK ON CALDER MAIN TRACK
Four days after winning the first stake of her career, taking the $100,000 Cassidy by two lengths, the Frank C. Calabrese-owned 2-year-old filly Dreaming of Sophia made her way to the Calder main track Wednesday morning to make her first appearance on the Calder dirt since Saturday’s win.
“She went to the track for the first time today and I thought she did good,” Ramirez said. “She looked better to today than she did going into the race.”
An easy 6 ¼-length maiden winner in her second career start on August 5, Dreaming of Sophia faced some late pressure in the Cassidy Stakes, turning back what appeared to be reasonable challenges from rivals late.
“I think she learned something that day,” Ramirez said. “She had to work a bit harder late in the race and I think that was good for her. And she still won easy.”
The victory in the Cassidy was the second straight for Dreaming of Sophia, a Kentucky-bred filly that is not eligible to run in any of the 2-year-old stakes that remain on the Calder stakes schedule.
“I’m not sure where we’ll run her next,” Ramirez said. “There isn’t a race for her down here, but we don’t want to wait until Gulfstream to run her again, so we’ll look around and try to find her a spot.”
Saturday’s win in the Cassidy took on added significance for Ramirez as Dreaming of Sophia was bred by owner Calabrese and is sired by the Calabrese-campaigned two-time Grade 2 winner Lewis Michael while being out of the mare Liz On Polk Street, who also won stakes while carrying the white and black diamond silks of Calabrese.
“I really wanted to win the race for Frank,” Ramirez said. “He owned both the stallion and the mare and they both won stakes for him, so I really wanted to get a stake for her too. It was important to me.”
Ramirez also reported on the status of two-time local stakes winner Where’s Sterling, last seen finishing eighth when sent cross-continent to run in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar in late August.
“He came out of the race okay and right now he’s on the farm,” Ramirez said. “We wanted to give him some time off after that race, but he will be coming back to Calder soon, and once he’s here we’ll start getting him ready to come back at Gulfstream.”
ROSE TO GOLD TO REPRESENT CALDER; CENTOFANTI IN ALCIBIADES
The unbeaten local sensation Rose to Gold, who has won twice, both in stakes, by a combined 26 ½ lengths, will look to make a positive impression upon the national racing scene when carrying the Calder flag to battle in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland on Friday.
“We’re going to pick up the silks right now,” co-owner Alex Centofanti said as he walked to the Calder jockey’s room with his son Wednesday afternoon. “(Trainer) Sal (Santoro) is already there, he went with the horses, and my family and I will leave for Keeneland on Thursday.”
Rose to Gold, along with four other Centofanti-owned horses, shipped to Kentucky on September 25, and as a two-time winner on dirt, the filly’s start in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 1 race will mark her first appearance over a synthetic surface.
“I talked to Sal, and he says that she really likes the track,” Centofanti said. “But it’s a full field with horses coming from everywhere, so I think we’re going to need some luck.”
Rose to Gold has drawn post three in the 14-horse Alcibiades and will be ridden by local south Florida rider Jesus Rios, who travels to Keeneland later this week to retain the mount on the unbeaten filly.
“He gets in about 1 p.m. on Friday,” Centofanti said in regards to his rider’s travel itinerary. “I like that; that way all he has to do is focus on the race. He gets in and he’ll go right to the track.”
AWESOME BELLE BREEZES
Jacks or Better Farm, Inc.’s Awesome Belle, a winner of three straight stakes at the meet, breezed a half-mile in :49.40 over a wet-fast track Wednesday morning in advance of an expected start in the $75,000 Frances Genter Stakes on October 13.
The Stanley Gold-trained 3-year-old filly began her current streak with a main track victory in the Three Ring Stakes before returning with grassy triumphs in both the Crystal Rail Stakes and the Judy’s Red Shoes.
The Frances Genter, run as part of the annual Festival of the Sun program, will be run over the Calder turf at the distance of one mile.