08/10/2010 2:41PM

Gourmet Dinner proving a sound purchase

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Jim Lisa
Gourmet Dinner (4) wins the Dr. Fager.

MIAMI – William Terrill was half-owner of Gourmet Dinner when the 2-year-old entered the ring at the OBS April Sales in Ocala. By the time the colt left the ring, Terrill owned 100 per cent of the youngster, a son of Trippi, who in four short months has more than won out his purchase price of $40,000 after capturing his first two career starts, including Saturday’s $75,000 Dr. Fager Stakes at Calder.

Terrill, the son of longtime horseman William “Red” Terrill, who trained such notable Grade 1 winners as Turnback the Alarm and Pretty Discreet, bred Gourmet Dinner with longtime partner Michael O’Farrell of Ocala Stud.

“My dad used Ocala Stud for years to break the babies, and Michael and I went partners in some mares,” said Terril,l who also owns Ebert Van Co. “I always try to buy some 2-year-olds at the sales and I put a value of between $50,000 and $60,000 on this colt. So I felt I got a bargain when I got him for $40,000. Especially since I was essentially bidding only fifty cents on the dollar, already being half-owner at the time.”

Terrill sent the colt to Calder to be trained by Peter Guylas and longtime friend Steve Standridge. Gourmet Dinner made his debut in a loaded, six-furlong maiden special weight race on July 17 and rallied from off the pace to defeat another well-regarded first time starter, Mucho Macho Man, by a length while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 79 in the process.

“We entertained the idea of bringing him right up to Saratoga for the Special off his maiden win but decided to keep him down there for the first leg of the Stallion Stakes instead,” said Terrill. “We worked him for the race with another of Pete and Steve’s good 2-year-olds, the filly Because I Like It who will run in the Adirondack this weekend at Saratoga, and they both worked extremely well. And since he worked so well over the racetrack, we felt it was best just to leave him down there for one more race.”

A torrential downpour that struck the area about an hour before the main event turned the track to a sea of slop for the Dr. Fager. But the wet going did not faze Gourmet Dinner, who rallied from near the rear of the pack to a half-length decision under veteran rider Sebastian Madrid.

“Sebastian said Gourmet Dinner didn’t know what was happening at first, because he’d never raced or even worked in the slop before,” said Terrill. “He wasn’t grabbing the track or picking up the bit. But he said after he hit him once he got right to business. Sebastian is as good as any rider down there and he really loves this horse. He rode him with great confidence the other day and I think, in light of the conditions, that’s what made the difference.”

Gourmet Dinner will likely be favored if he stays in town for the second leg of the Stallion Stakes, the seven furlong Affirmed, on Aug. 28 but Terrill said he is strongly considering bringing the undefeated colt up to Saratoga for the Grade 1 Hopeful the following weekend.

“At the moment I’m leaning towards the Hopeful,” said Terrill. “I think he’s good enough to compete in that race and the timing is right so it also gives us plenty of time to bring him back to Florida for the final leg of the Stallion Stakes if need be.”

Gozzip Girl joins Wolfson pack

Trainer Marty Wolfson’s latest addition to his arsenal of stars is Gozzip Girl, whose r é sum é includes a victory in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park when with Tom Albertrani at 3.

Wolfson will send Gozzip Girl, a daughter of Dynaformer owned by Farnsworth Farm, back to the West Coast for her next start in Sunday’s Grade 2 John Mabee Stakes over the Del Mar turf course. Wolfson said he’s also contemplating sending Grade 3 winner Speak Easy Gal out for the Mabee.