02/16/2011 6:22PM

Gourmet Dinner drills for Fountain of Youth

Coady Photography
Gourmet Dinner worked four furlongs in 47.61 seconds at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday morning in preparation for the Fountain of Youth.

Gourmet Dinner, who has already earned his way into the Kentucky Derby field by virtue of his victory in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot, worked four furlongs in 47.61 seconds here Wednesday morning in his last serious prep for the Fountain of Youth. With regular rider Sebastian Madrid aboard, Gourmet Dinner posted splits of 12.05 and 24.18, completing his final quarter-mile in 23.43.

“He worked good, finished strong,” trainer Steve Standridge said. “He’s certainly fit enough, and we didn’t want him doing too much today. He’ll probably come back and have an easy blowout next week.”

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Gourmet Dinner launched his 3-year-old campaign with a game third-place finish behind Dialed In in the Grade 3 Holy Bull.

Soaring Empire eyes Gulfstream Handicap

Trainer Cam Gambolati said Soaring Empire came back none the worse for wear, despite his eventful journey in Saturday’s Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint Handicap. Soaring Empire reared in the gate – tossing jockey Jose Lezcano on his back – just prior to the start of the race, broke slow once being re-loaded, and fell too far back to catch upset winner Tackleberry while bravely fighting on to get up by a nose for second as the odds-on favorite.

“We actually took him over to the gate to school the day before the race, and he just stood there like an old cow,” Gambolati said. “Fortunately, he came back fine. He just had one little ding on him.”

Gambolati said Soaring Empire, who defeated a strong field that included Rule and Morning Line in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope early in the meet, will get an opportunity to avenge Saturday’s setback when returning in the one-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 12.

“We’ll run him right back here,” Gambolati said. “He likes the track, and it’s so much easier to just walk him over to run rather than having to ship.”

Trainer Luis Olivares has already said Tackleberry is being pointed to the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap.

Sweet N Sour Nina upsets Acting Happy

Sweet N Sour Nina registered a mild upset in Wednesday’s featured third race, rallying to defeat the 1-2 Acting Happy in a second-level optional claiming race at 1 1/8 miles. Rajiv Maragh rode Sweet N Sour Nina to victory for trainer Peter Walder, who claimed the winner for $50,000 last October at Keeneland.

Acting Happy was making her first start since finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. Trainer Rick Dutrow brought Eclipse Award-winning jockey Ramon Dominguez down from New York to ride the Grade 2 winner.