The Florida-bred son of Trippi was a close third in the Holy Bull (G3) behind eventual Florida Derby winner Dialed In then followed that performance with a second to Soldat in the Fountain of Youth (G2). More than four lengths in the rear was major stakes winner To Honor and Serve.
Gourmet Dinner didn’t resurface in the entries for a year. “We gave him all the time he needed,” Brown said. He returned in a Gulfstream allowance sprint Feb. 9 and finished fourth on a sloppy track behind, among others, Todd Pletcher’s outstanding sprinter Travelin Man. It was only the second time in nine starts that Gourmet Dinner had failed to hit the board.
Brown didn’t want to make excuses but he said Gourmet Dinner probably needed the race. “He’s a big, heavy horse. He breezed well but it’s easier to run him into fitness.” Moreover, Gourmet Dinner was bumped at the start and Brown doesn’t feel his colt handled the track well. “It was kind of soupy that day.”
Coincidentally, Gourmet Dinner is expected to be part of Saturday’s Florida Derby Day when he makes his next start in the Sir Shackleton, one of seven stakes on the 2012 Florida Derby card.
Brown feels the Sir Shackleton could be a step toward his colt becoming a serious player in the older horse division this season. “Absolutely,” he said. “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be.”