Florida invaders Gourmet Dinner and Rustler Hustler exercised on the Hollywood Park main track Wednesday morning after being flown to California 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 Sebastian Madrid.
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 Heights High 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. “Red” Terrill.
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.
Autism Awareness was supplemented for $1,500 to the $75,000-added On Trust Handicap, closing-day feature for California-breds at 7 ½ furlongs Sunday.
Autism Awareness was assigned 115 pounds and could join a lineup expected to include Cayambe, 118; Mobilized, Alonso Quinonez, 118; Amazombie, Mike Smith, 117; Earnednevergiven, David Flores, 116; A Lil Dumaani, Patrick Valenzuela, 115; The Bat Signal, Joe Talamo, 115; Nikki’sgoldensteed, Garrett Gomez, 113; and Red Defense, Joel Rosario, 113.
Defending champion Jockey Joel Rosario all but mathematically sewed up another riding championship at the Autumn Meet. With four days remaining, Rosario has 39 wins, 12 more than Rafael Bejarano and 13 ahead of Joe Talamo.
Rosario, a 25-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, has swept both the Spring/Summer and Autumn meets here the last two years and captured six of the last 10 stops on the major Southern California circuit.
Doug O’Neill holds a 14-13 lead over John Sadler in a tight trainer race, and both entered several horses during the final four cards. The two have dominated statistics here in recent years. They have combined to win the last eight meets at Hollywood Park since 2006. Sadler has won three, including the Autumn meet last year. O’Neill has won nine meets locally since 2002, including four Autumn titles in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.
FINISH LINES—Joy Scott, who was unseated shortly after the start of the last race Sunday, showed no ill effects in the stable area Wednesday. “I was back on horses Monday morning,” said the resilient 52-year-old veteran. “The track jarred me real hard when I landed, and I got kicked just below the ribs. After I sat up in the ambulance, I didn’t hurt any more, but they said to go to the hospital (Centinela) just to be safe. The doctor there examined me and said I didn’t need any X-rays and released me.”…*Vincent Timphony*, who saddled Wild Again to an upset victory in the first Breeders’ Cup Classic here in 1984, died Monday at Arcadia Methodist Hospital after a series of strokes and respiratory illness. He was 76…Christian Santiago Reyes, Eclipse Award-winning jockey in 2009, was back working horses here Wednesday. He has not ridden since September at Fairplex Park after serving a suspension and vacationing at his home in Puerto Rico.
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