10/17/2012 4:10PM

Calder notes: Gourmet Dinner pointing to Carl G. Rose Classic

Coady Photography
Gourmet Dinner was scratched from the Spend a Buck on Saturday.

MIAMI – Gourmet Dinner, the marquee name on Saturday’s Festival of the Sun program until being scratched from the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap earlier that morning, could return to action here in next month’s Carl G. Rose Classic, his trainer, Bruce Brown, said by phone from New York on Wednesday.

Brown sent Gourmet Dinner to Calder earlier this month where he was under the care of local trainer David Braddy. But Brown said his father-in-law, Bill Terrill, who owns and bred Gourmet Dinner, and Braddy agreed the horse just wasn’t adapting to the local racetrack well enough to compete in the Spend a Buck.

“The scratch had nothing to do with all the rain they got there earlier that morning,” said Brown. “We’d already decided he wasn’t going to run. This horse has always been stiff and had issues in behind, and he just wasn’t getting used to that sandy racetrack down there quickly enough. It’s a lot different than the surface he was used to training over up here. There was nothing serious wrong with him, but rather than run and take a chance of hurting him, we decided to err on the side of caution and scratch.”

Gourmet Dinner was a local hero during his 2-year-old campaign in 2010, winning the first two legs of the Florida Stallion Stakes open division before finishing second as the odds-on favorite attempting to complete the series sweep in the In Reality. A stakes winner this season at Monmouth Park, Gourmet Dinner would have been the starting highweight and possible favorite had he run in the Spend a Buck.

Brown said the Carl G. Rose, a Florida-bred stakes to be run on the Nov. 10 Florida Million Day card, has been the goal for Gourmet Dinner all along.

Calabrese on a roller coaster

Owner Frank Calabrese scored big on Saturday when his $16,000 claim Verso a Verso picked up a $176,000 paycheck for her five-length victory in the My Dear Girl division of the Florida Stallion Stakes. But that success was tempered by the unexpected death 48 hours later of Christmas for Liam and the recent news that two of his top 2-year-old prospects, Dreaming of Sophia and All Her Class, will be sidelined due to ankle injuries.

Calabrese said Christmas for Liam died from complications that arose after he was gelded on Monday. Christmas for Liam, stakes placed earlier in his career with trainer Todd Pletcher, finished fifth as the 4-5 favorite against high-level optional-claiming horses here on Oct. 6.

Dreaming of Sophia, one of the top 2-year-old fillies on the grounds, won the Cassidy Stakes in her last start but suffered a chip in her ankle after returning to training and will be sidelined at least three months, according to Calabrese. The same prognosis goes for All Her Class, who has been stabled in Chicago this summer with trainer Wayne Catalano.

Calabrese did confirm that Verso a Verso will make her next start in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Princess on Nov. 17.

◗ The barn areas at both Gulfstream Park and its satellite training center, Palm Meadows, 45 miles up the turnpike in Boynton Beach, opened Thursday. The 2012-13 Gulfstream Park meet begins on Dec 1.