12/10/2010 4:41PM

Good work earns Gourmet Dinner trip to California for CashCall Futurity

Coady Photography
Gourmet Dinner, winning the Delta Downs Jackpot, will ship from Calder to California for the CashCall Futurity.

MIAMI – Gourmet Dinner has already won a $1 million race and owns a near-perfect record. But the winner of last month’s Delta Jackpot has yet to get the kind of respect due a 2-year-old who has already all but assured himself a spot in the 2011 Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Steve Standridge and owner William Terrill will try to get Gourmet Dinner some of that respect next week when they send their star from his Calder base to Hollywood Park for the $750,000 CashCall Futurity.

Gourmet Dinner solidified his reservations for Tuesday’s cross-country flight from Miami to Southern California after working four furlongs in 48.75 seconds with regular rider Sebastian Madrid aboard shortly after the renovation break here Friday. Gourmet Dinner breezed in company with Because I Like It and pulled away from his workmate by about four lengths after completing his final furlong in 12.21 over a cuppy and slow racetrack.

“If he’s good in the morning we’re going to take him to California,” trainer Steve Standridge said of his one-horse stable about an hour after the work. “I thought he worked well today. He usually doesn’t go in company and the filly wasn’t the best workmate in the world because she’s just coming back from a layoff but she hung with him for three-eighths. I just wanted to make sure he got a decent work. I didn’t want him going too slow.”

Gourmet Dinner has won 4 of 5 starts with his only setback a second-place finish in the finale of the Florida Stallions Stakes in his two-turn debut. Gourmet Dinner wore blinkers for the first time when he rallied to a 2 1/4-length triumph in the Delta Jackpot on Nov. 20.

“We decided to send him to the CashCall because he figures to be one of the choices in there and it’s a Grade 1 race worth $750,000,” Standridge explained. “Under those circumstances I think you have to go.”

Standridge said the other option would have been to wait for the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 30, which also meant turning Gourmet Dinner back to a one-turn mile.

“It will probably be too close to come back in the Holy Bull if we run in California so if all goes well next week we’ll probably just give him a break and wait for the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby,” said Standridge.

Gourmet Dinner has put Standridge back in the spotlight for the first time since he campaigned Mach Ride several years ago. Mach Ride won the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap here in 2007 and earned himself a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint after finishing a troubled fourth in the Grade 2 Vosburgh later that fall. But a foot abscess that developed less than a week before the Breeders’ Cup forced him to miss the Sprint. He was never the same horse again, making only three subsequent starts before being retired late last year.

“He was just a stone sprinter and missing out on the Breeders’ Cup was definitely the biggest disappointment of my career,” said Standridge. “Having a good horse again like Gourmet Dinner has really been fun and very exciting up to this point.”

Centeno decides to focus on Tampa

Daniel Centeno has been atop the standings in the race for the 2010-11 Tropical at Calder riding championship since the meet began but will give up any chance to win the title when he switches his tack over to Tampa Bay Downs on a permanent basis beginning next week. Centeno, who was scheduled to ride on Saturday’s opening-day card at Tampa, will finish out his local stay by accepting mounts here on both Sunday and Monday’s programs.

“It’s just too hard for both of us to be in two places at the same time,” said Centeno’s agent, Dan Mellul. “Naturally it would have been a great honor for him to have won the Tropical title but his main business now and throughout the winter is at Tampa and that’s where we’re going to stay. Daniel and I would both like to thank all the horsemen who gave us so many opportunities and supported us here during the meet.”

Another local mainstay who will move his tack to Tampa on a permanent basis this winter is Daniel Coa, who was named aboard Trippi’s Sailor for trainer Peter Guylas in Saturday’s opening-day feature, the $75,000 Lightning City Stakes.

“This is my first time riding regularly at Tampa and I’m really looking forward to staying there during the entire meet this winter,” said Coa, whose cousin Eibar Coa is the defending Tropical at Calder riding champion.