Dettori Gets First Look At Del Mar


Frankie Dettori at Del Mar Tuesday | Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup

By Kelsey Riley

DEL MAR, California–Frankie Dettori touched down in San Diego on Monday night and the jockey wasted no time getting acquainted with Del Mar during his first visit to the track, taking a Simon Callaghan trainee for a spin around the dirt course just after the first renovation break.

“It’s my first time here and I brought the weather with me from the UK,” said Dettori as a persistent rain fell. “I’m very excited, I have six rides on the weekend and I’m looking forward to it. Let’s hope I get lucky.”

Dettori’s six rides are G2 Rockfel S. winner Juliet Capulet (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) in the opening Breeders’ Cup race, the GI Juvenile Fillies’ Turf; James Garfield (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) for George Scott and Bill Gredley in the GI Juvenile Turf; Mopotisim (Uncle Mo) for Doug O’Neill in the GI Distaff; defending winner Queen’s Trust (GB) (Dansili {GB}) in the GI Filly and Mare Turf; Francis Graffard’s Karar (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) in the GI Mile; and the ultimate pick up, Ulysses (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf.

“It’s Breeders’ Cup; if you don’t get excited about this there’s no point doing it,” Dettori said.

The 46-year-old Italian has picked up a ride for Callaghan on Wednesday’s card.

“I have a little race tomorrow for Simon just to get a feel of the track so it’s all systems go,” he said. Of his first feel for the track on Tuesday morning he added, “Lovely, really lovely. The dirt course rides really well. Most of my races are on the turf so we’ll get a good feel of it tomorrow.”

Dettori said he will try to avoid any extra-curriculars this week.

“The reason I’m taking some other rides is just to keep out of trouble,” he said. “I was asked to do a surfing lesson with Mike Smith, I said no I’d better not, I’ll probably end up drowning myself, and the water is still cold. It’s nice to be here and concentrating on the races, leave the partying and everything to other people.”

Dettori rolls into the Breeders’ Cup on the back of a stellar season in Europe as the regular pilot of the two top-rated horses in Europe, Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}).

“To have the best 3-year-old colt and filly in the world in the same year is absolutely mind-boggling,” he said. “John Gosden is brilliant and we’ve had a great, great year.”

The rider isn’t stopping in California, however. He jets out after the races on Saturday evening to Australia, where he has picked up the ride on defending G1 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}) on Tuesday after Damien Oliver picked up a 20-day ban.

“I’m off to Australia Saturday night, get there Monday and on Tuesday it’s the Melbourne Cup,” he said. “I’ve never won it and it’s bugging me because my wife’s mom is Australian and I’m getting pestered by the family: ‘when are you going to win it?’ I’m trying!”


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