01/15/2014 4:39PM

Gulfstream Park: Gourmet Dinner tackles familiar foe in Sunshine Millions Classic

Tom Keyser
Gourmet Dinner (above) twice finished ahead of Mucho Macho Man as a 2-year-old.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The imposing presence of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man has scared away the majority of horses nominated for the $400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic. But that didn’t stop Bill Terrill, a third-generation horseman and owner of Ebert Van Company, from sending one of his own trucks up to Maryland late last week to bring Gourmet Dinner to Gulfstream Park to take on Eclipse Award finalist Mucho Macho Man on Saturday.

Gourmet Dinner and Mucho Macho Man are no strangers to one another. The two launched their careers together in a maiden dash at Calder during the summer of their 2-year-old campaigns, with Gourmet Dinner winning by a length over Mucho Macho Man. Gourmet Dinner also came out on top when the pair met here the following winter in the Grade 3 Holy Bull, finishing third behind Dialed In with Mucho Macho Man three lengths farther back in fourth.

[Sunshine Millions: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

Gourmet Dinner dropped off the Derby trail and was sidelined for a year due to nagging injuries after finishing second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. He has won just twice since, but continues to remain competitive against allowance and lower-level stakes company, most recently finishing third over a muddy track in Laurel’s Broad Brush Stakes. Gourmet Dinner is currently trained by Robert Triola.

“Of course, we know it’s a tough assignment. Mucho Macho Man’s a freak, and I’ve been watching all his works and he looks great,” Terrill said. “But things happen in horse racing. It’s going to be a short field, and we’re certainly the only one in the race who can say they’ve already finished in front of Mucho Macho Man more than once. We breed in Florida and try to represent the Florida game, and where else can you run a Florida-bred for $400,000 right now?”

Terrill said Gourmet Dinner also is doing very well. He has a win and 3 thirds in his last 4 starts, with legitimate excuses in two of those three losses.

“He tried to get through on the inside and I felt he hung a little two starts back at Parx when beaten less than a length, and he should have won the [With Anticipation] stakes this fall at Delaware, but he blew the second turn,” Terrill said. “He’s had a different outlook on life since he’s been at Fair Hill, and he’s ready to run.

“Going up against Mucho Macho Man is one thing, but he’s got a big shot against those other horses in there Saturday, second money is still $80,000, and he definitely deserves a chance.”

The Sunshine Millions Classic drew a field of just six. The others are Bernie the Maestro, Rule Number Six, and the Barry Rose-trained pair of Decaf Again and Joshua’s Comprise.

Mucho Macho Man is one of three stakes mounts Gary Stevens will have, He also will ride Old Time Hockey in the Turf and Wishing Gate in the Filly and Mare Turf for trainer Tom Proctor.

Toasting tops Distaff

In the first of six Sunshine Millions races, seven older fillies and mares will go 1 1/8 miles in the $300,000 Distaff. Toasting, beaten a head by Wedding Toast in the Grade 3 Comely in her 2013 finale, tops a field with stablemates Devil’s Cave and My Pal Chrisy, Sweet N Discreet, Dreamlicious, Sky Skier, and Burning Truth. Sweet N Discreet and My Pal Chrisy were cross-entered in the $150,000 Filly and Mare Sprint.

The most competitive of the stakes could be the $150,000 Sprint, which lured a field of nine, led by Ribo Bobo, who won 10 of his last 11 starts. He will face Sunshine State winner Star Harbour, Apriority, Fort Loudon, Black Diamond Cat, Bear Tough Tiger, Close It Out, Happy My Way, and Grande Shores.

Wishing Gate, a multiple graded stakes winner, and Silsita should vie for favoritism in the $150,000 Filly and Mare Turf. Old Time Hockey, Bad Debt, and Tune Me In are among the leading candidates in the $150,000 Turf.

Medal Count back to dirt

Trainer Dale Romans, whose barn has come alive here over the past week, said he will likely put Medal Count back on the main track despite his victory on the grass here last weekend. Medal Count, who finished 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, dead-heated with longshot Drover Road to clear his entry-level allowance condition in his turf debut Sunday.

“I’ll talk to the owners this weekend, but it’s likely he’ll go back to the dirt next time,” Romans said. “I’m not sure where that will be, although the Fountain of Youth will be one of the options we’ll discuss.”

akhiym james More than 1 year ago
This horse should be running in the Donn. I don't see why they keep plugging this race on his schedule every year. He's a Grade 1 caliber horse that should be running in the big races. He's ran in this race enough already take some chances; Donn then the Big Cap. Can someone tell me the last horse to run a aggressive campaign in the Handicap Division that was 4 and older and succeed well? Last one I can remember was Cigar
Greg Stevens More than 1 year ago
CURLIN....or was that to reserved for you?
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
$400,000 and you get scared away? idiots! Macho man is coming back too soon.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Mucho is in good form. If he wins and comes out of race. Big cap come be in future
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
If I'm Romans I'd lose Lanerie. That race shouldn't been a DH. He was my best bet of the day and new I wasn't getting no 8-1. Still think will be better over grass than dirt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mucho Macho Man would be the last horse I would bet in this race. Just look how poorly he runs anywhere but Santa Anita. It would not surprise me if he does the same as last year and just stops. He is working the same as he was leading to the same race last year. Very overrated horse. He occasionally gets lucky. Oh, m, please stop whining, you can get similar info free all over the web.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
That's funny. Overated
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
he mite not have a good track record at gulf stream but he running against horses that shouldnt be running against him. what a joke of a race. these other horses cant even win alw races. wtf
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So explain how it is he did not even finish against the race last year. Gourmet Dinner won the race last year. He sure didn't beat any of these last year!
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Horse was sick! Bad viral infection. It took almost 4months for him to return back to competing with grade1horses. Also look at his record at gulfstreampark in 2012! He won 2 races. And beat Ron the Greek! It's MUCHO TIME this Saturday!
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
MMM didnt even run last year. wasnt he pulled up or something. if its not raining and a fast track theres no way he loses this race. im not really a MMM fan its just a joke of a field hes running but you go rite a head and put your hard earned money on gourmet dinner and hope something goes wrong so MMM doesnt win and you mite have a small chance. i wish you luck
Kent C More than 1 year ago
Ron the Greek won last year. This looks like a paid advertising appearance for MMM based on the field. But of course this is horse racing so...
Kevin Tucker More than 1 year ago
Ron the greek won and it was a sloppy track which MMM doesn't like. He won the millions in '12.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Agree 24horses entered. Only 5 stepped up to challenge! MMM is in great form now! I hope he crushes this field then goes to Dubai World Cup!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
World Cup, lol, he could never win that, he struggled in 2012 to beat state breds and only won 2 of 5 in 2013. He lost 2 non graded stakes and a grade 3 before winning at Santa Anita. He is not that good. He will probably win Saturday because he only has to beat 4 other horses but there will not be a hot pace to set up for him or Gourmet Dinner. I would not be shocked if he starts looking for the barn on the back stretch, just like last year!
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
For the record. He lost Whitney. Grade 1. Ran a good 3rd. Won awesome again. I admit a subpar field! But when it counted he ran big in CLASSIC! Beat best field of the year! Dude. Larned. Flat out. WTC. Painter. And declaration of war! Live with it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well the trainers must not have that much faith. They keep running him in a state bred, non graded stakes race, that gives every Florida bred the right to enter!
Mike Reinhardt More than 1 year ago
Anonymous is so sure of his opinions, he doesn't even put his name to them. Nice internet trolling buddy, I'm wondering if you are doing this in the hopes of getting a slightly higher price on Mucho Macho Man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could care less of your opinion! I do not want my name floating around the internet for eternity, like yours will be.
Mike Reinhardt More than 1 year ago
Care less about my opinion? How much did you make on this race? Oh, right, nothing! Good job with your "handicapping" though!
m More than 1 year ago
Mike Reinhardt More than 1 year ago
Your 1 out of 5 argument is statistically irrelevant. Of course those are the most sent, because those are the stories everybody (free and plus) read. Look, I agree with your basic premise, drf + is a stupid idea. But your argument is just as stupid.
m More than 1 year ago
What are you a lawyer? look today 5 of 5....I bet I'm right and you're wrong. do you pay?
Mike Reinhardt More than 1 year ago
No, I don't pay because if you read my comment, you'd realize I said drf+ is a stupid idea, but my argument still stands and makes more sense than yours. And no, I am not a lawyer. I just like arguments that make sense. Once again, I will state the facts: Articles that are free should always be in the most read section, because everyone who visits the site can read it. This concept is not difficult, you can downvote it all you want, my logic is sound.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
It's Mucho time come Saturday! And then mr reeves and team has a big decision about Dubai cup! Good luck
Perl More than 1 year ago
He is a dirt horse. Dubai would be a mistake. But I hope they send him so that I can bet against him.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Possible but they might take a shot! Hope you didn't bet DUDE! Every time macho faces him he destroys him
John Pisiona More than 1 year ago
He's not durable enough for Dubai. The connections have handled this horse wonderfully through his career and he will stay home.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
I think your right but I believe he might take a shot