Trainer Arnaud Delacour said Thursday that the 4-year-old gelding will be pointed to the $250,000 Dinner Party (G2) for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the grass May 21 at historic Pimlico Race Course on the undercard of the 147th Preakness Stakes (G1).
This year will mark the 121st running of the Dinner Party, Pimlico’s oldest stakes race and the eighth-oldest in the country. It debuted in 1870 and was won by Preakness, the Hall of Famer for whom the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown is named.
“I’ll be looking at the Dinner Party,” Delacour said. “It seems like he’s very efficient on firm turf or firmer turf. He’s won on soft [ground] in France, but we never thought that was to his liking. I’m probably going to aim him to the Dinner Party depending on the weather.”
Based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., Delacour said the $500,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1) May 30 at Santa Anita would be the backup plan for Chez Pierre. Now 5-0, Chez Pierre was bred in France where he made his first three starts before capturing his U.S. debut in March at Tampa Bay Downs.
“Logistically it’s way easier to run in the Dinner Party than it is to run at Santa Anita. That would be our first choice, but I want to make sure the ground is to his liking,” he said. “He’s the kind of horse that gets you excited to go to the barn every day and see him run, and you don’t mind taking chances with that kind of horse because they’re solid. It’s definitely a great joy.”
Chez Pierre went off the 4-5 favorite in the one-mile Clark over six others including multiple graded-stakes winner Field Pass, beating that rival by 5 ½ lengths in 1:34.83 over a firm All Along turf course.
“I was very pleased with that. It looked like the number came back pretty strong, as well,” Delacour said. “I would say as expected because it was a fast pace, so the numbers are always good when that happens, but it was definitely a good performance.”
Field Pass won last summer’s Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3) by a neck over Ramsey Solution with the Delacour-trained Talk Or Listen another 1 ½ lengths back in third. Talk Or Listen also ran second by a length to Field Pass’ stablemate Somelikeithotbrown in the 2021 Dinner Party.
“Chez Pierre was training so much better than Talk Or Listen I thought that if he just duplicated what he was showing in the morning, he should be able to beat Field Pass,” Delacour said. “I didn’t know he was going to win by [5 ½] lengths, but I thought he would run well.”
Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club