08/07/2013 1:25PM

Del Mar: Tasty Treat story continues in Daisycutter

Benoit & Associates
Tasty Treat returned from injury and won this Del Mar allowance race on July 18.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Jeranimo might be the best-known horse in trainer Mike Pender’s barn, but it would be hard to top Tasty Treat as the most courageous. Tasty Treat, a 4-year-old filly, has worked her way back to the races after being seriously injured earlier this year. When she won an allowance race at Del Mar on July 18, “there were tears flowing,” Pender said.

“For a nonwinners-of-two race, you wouldn’t think you’d get so emotional,” Pender said. “She’s the sweetest, kindest horse. She’s stolen all our hearts.”

Tasty Treat is 2 for 2 over Del Mar’s turf and has won 6 of 16 lifetime. She’ll attempt to improve on those figures at Del Mar on Friday, when she runs in the $90,000 Daisycutter Handicap, a five-furlong turf sprint for older females.

A victory would continue her improbable comeback. Tasty Treat was turned out at the end of 2012 and then “everything that you could dream could go wrong went wrong,” Pender said.

Tasty Treat did not adapt to being away from the track.

“We had trouble keeping weight on her,” Pender said.

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And then in March, once back in training, Tasty Treat got loose after a workout at Betfair Hollywood Park and ran full speed into a pole in the stable area, opening a two-foot long gash near her shoulder.

“She took about 90 stitches, and then the stitches wouldn’t hold,” Pender said. “It was a long road. We had to wait for the wound to heal naturally, but, lo and behold, 45 days later you wouldn’t have known she had the accident.”

Tasty Treat finally returned to the races on June 21 and was second going six furlongs at Hollywood Park. Then came the Del Mar win over the same course and distance as the Daisycutter. Pender said it was a rewarding win for him and owners Brian, Rhonda, and Tom Cunningham.

“The Cunninghams are low maintenance, so easy to work with,” he said. “It’s a pleasure winning for them.”

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

There are nine entered in the Daisycutter, but a maximum of eight can start over the narrow course.

Tasty Treat figures to be tested right from the start by Kinz Funky Monkey, who starts just inside her and also has sharp early speed. Kinz Funky Monkey returned from a nine-month layoff to win the Manhattan Beach at Hollywood Park on June 8 in her turf debut.

“She had a little bit of a foot problem after that race, so she missed a couple of works, but I was really pleased with her last two works,” said Pete Eurton, who trains Kinz Funky Monkey.

Belle de Lune is the most obvious late threat, having rallied for a win in a second-level allowance field here July 18, though her time was significantly slower than that of Tasty Treat in the other division of that race.