Delta Force

The $1,000,000 Delta Jackpot (gr. III) often throws up a later-developing youngster who has been flying under the radar. This time it was a more exposed type who got the job done. Calder shipper Gourmet Dinner was making his fifth career start, and had already won two stakes—the Dr. Fager Stakes and Affirmed Stakes—before suffering his first defeat in the October 16 In Reality Stakes, his two turn debut.

Gourmet Dinner is a son of Trippi, who had been vying with Montbrook for leadership of the Florida stallion colony prior to his export to South Africa. Trippi is by the record-breaking Leading Freshman Sire End Sweep (by Forty Niner). He did win the Flamingo Stakes (gr. III) over nine furlongs early in his three-year-old season, but subsequently did his best work as a sprinter, taking the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I), Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II), and Riva Ridge Stakes (gr. II). Purchased for stud duty in Kentucky, he remained in training at four, but failed to win in four starts, and was re-routed to Florida. His general record shows him to have been a very useful sire of fast, precocious horses, rather than a progenitor of great class, although to be fair, he wouldn’t have covered the strongest books of mares. He does have another very good two-year-old this year in R Heat Lightning, successful in the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) and runner-up in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). His other graded winners are the Kelso Handicap (gr. II) victor Trippi’s Storm; Jealous Again, successful in the Queen Mary Stakes (gr. II) at Royal Ascot; and Miss Macy Sue, successful in the Winning Colors Stakes (gr. III).

Gourmet Dinner is the second major two-year-old stakes winner this year for his immediate family, as his dam is half sister to the Montbrook mare Almost Aprom Queen, herself dam of Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) victress Rigoletta. In female line the family goes back to Clover Lane (fifth dam), winner of the Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes, and half sister to the granddam of Deputy Minister. The fourth dam, Dr. Fager’s daughter Cricket Club, is also ancestress of grade I winners Collect the Cash and Stately Victor.

Gourmet Dinner (TrueNicks A++) is one of three stakes winners sired by End Sweep or a son from just 11 starters out of mares by Pentelicus (sprinting three-parts-brother to Unbridled). Here the pedigree is more interesting, as the sire and broodmare sire are both Mr. Prospector/In Reality crosses, so a “parallel pattern.” There are also two crosses of Dr. Fager (by Rough’n Tumble, the broodmare sire of In Reality), and another of Intentionally (sire of In Reality) in the dam. Overall, this doesn’t look like the background of a classic distance horse, but there is no reason that Gourmet Dinner shouldn’t continue to make his presence felt at around a mile next year. Before leaving Gourmet Dinner, we’ll also give a quick call to the runner-up, another Florida-bred, Decisive Moment. He is from the first crop of the Storm Cat horse With Distinction (TrueNicks,SRO), and is another version of a parallel pattern, as Storm Cat, and his broodmare sire, Dehere, are both Northern Dancer/Secretariat crosses.

The $500,000 Delta Princess Stakes (gr. III) supplied the first stakes winner for freshman sire Flower Alley (TrueNicks,SRO) in the shape of the progressive Bouquet Booth. Bouquet Booth is out of Toll Order, who is by Loup Sauvage (top-class middle-distance four-year-old in France). Coincidentally, like Gourmet Dinner, there is another very good current runner in the second dam, as Toll Order is a half sister to the dam of Havre de Grace, one of the best three-year-old fillies of 2010 (for good measure, she’s also half sister to the dams of multiple grade I winner Riskaverse and graded stakes-winning sprinter Tasteyville).

Bouquet Booth is rated A++ by TrueNicks and is one of two stakes winners bred on a Distorted Humor (TrueNicks,SRO)/Riverman cross from only seven starters. This is actually a very clever mating. Distorted Humor’s dam is Northern Dancer/Mr. Leader (Hail to Reason/Djeddah); Flower Alley’s second dam is by Sadler’s Wells, who is Northern Dancer/Bold Reason (Hail to Reason/Djeddah). Broodmare sire Loup Sauvage is a grandson of Never Bend (by Nasrullah, three-parts-brother to Royal Charger, the grandsire of Hail to Reason and a half brother to Bold Reason, the broodmare sire of Sadler’s Wells), and out of a mare by Nureyev, a three-parts-brother to Sadler’s Wells. The next dam is by Topsider, who is by the same sire—Northern Dancer—as Nureyev and Sadler's Wells, and from the same Rough Shod II family.

There was also a pair of juvenile stakes on the Jackpot undercard. The Louisiana Jewel Stakes saw Tensas Punch become the third stakes winner from the first crop of War Front (TrueNicks,SRO) (by Danzig). Tensas Punch (TrueNicks A++) is out of a mare by the Two Punch (TrueNicks,SRO) horse, Pulling Punches, and is one of two stakes winners from only eight starters sired by War Front out of Mr. Prospector line mares (War Front is out himself out of a mare by the Mr. Prospector line horse, Rubiano). The dam is half sister to the good Victory Gallop (TrueNicks) filly Galloping Gal, going back to the Calumet family that produced Alydar, Our Mims and Raise A Cup.

Winner of the Louisiana Legacy Stakes was Fort Hood, a son of Lone Star Sky (by Conquistador Cielo), out of Ramp Up, a Boundary daughter of a half sister to CCA Oaks (gr. I) and Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) victress Wayward Lass. This one is rated A+ on the Mr. Prospector/Boundary cross, which has already produced seven stakes winners from seven different branches of the Mr. Prospector line.

Still with the juvenile division, we should also note that the Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III) saw Premier Pegasus take his record to three-for-three with a 1½ lengths win. Bred, owned, and trained by Cho Myung Kwon, Premier Pegasus is by Fusaichi Pegasus (TrueNicks,SRO) and out of the Summer Squall mare Squall Linda, making him a half brother to Street Hero (TrueNicks,SRO), who scored his only victory by defeating subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner and Champion Two-Year-Old Midshipman (TrueNicks,SRO) in the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I). Street Hero is by Street Cry (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO), whose sire Machiavellian is by Mr. Prospector out of a Halo mare, inbred to Almahmoud. Fusaichi Pegasus is by Mr. Prospector, and his dam is out of a Halo mare and inbred to Almahmoud. This gets more interesting when we look at the pedigree of Squall Linda’s dam, stakes winner Glimmer Glass. She is by The Axe II (who has pedigree similarities to Almahmoud and the dam of Halo; and Halo/The Axe II combine well), and her granddam is a three-parts-sister to Turn-to (grandsire of Halo). For good measure, Glimmer Glass is out of a mare by Ambiorix II, a half-brother to the dam of Turn-to.

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