Country Grammer, reunited with Frankie Dettori for the first time since winning the G1 Dubai World Cup in March, strode home an easy winner of the GII San Antonio S. at Santa Anita Monday. Sent off the 3-5 favorite, Country Grammer was hustled from his outside post by Dettori, but was unable to match the speed of his inside rivals and was caught four wide into the first turn as Hopkins (Quality Road) took the early lead and was in front through fractions of :22.76 and :46.16. Country Grammar rolled up three wide into the far turn and grabbed the lead into the stretch before bursting clear to an easy victory.
“I'm spending the winter here and on day one riding here, on one of the best horses in the world, the pressure was on,” Dettori admitted. “I felt it but the horse was in great form, and I was able to enjoy the scream of the crowd and it is nice to be back at Santa Anita. What a place! What a crowd, it's amazing.”
Dettori has announced 2023 will be his final year in the saddle.
“Thirty five years went like a flash,” the Italian said. “I've got to make these last 12 months the best that I can and enjoy it. Most of all I've had a great career, and this is where it all started, and this is where it will finish.”
Country Grammer, purchased as a 4-year-old by WinStar Farm from the dispersal of the late Paul Pompa for $110,000 at the 2021 Keeneland January sale, ended his 2021 campaign with a win in May 31 GI Hollywood Gold Cup. He resurfaced nine months later to finish second in the Feb. 26 G1 Saudi Cup and went one better in the World Cup at Meydan a month later. The 5-year-old returned stateside to be second in the July 30 GII San Diego H. and was beaten 19 lengths when second behind Flightline (Tapit) in the Sept. 3 GI TVG Pacific Classic. He was making his first start since finishing second in the Oct. 1GI Aweso me Again S.
“This horse is training better than he ever has, and he likes a deeper racetrack,” winning trainer Bob Baffert said. “This horse has brought us so much joy when things were down. He always shows up. It was nice of Frankie Dettori to win one like that. He's such a great rider, and it's his last year to be part of it. I'm just blessed the owners gave me the horse to train, and I have a great staff backing me.”
Arabian Song, in foal to Wicked Strong, sold for $5,000 at the 2018 Keeneland November sale and was exported to Saudi Arabia. She has a 3-year-old filly by that sire racing in Saudi Arabia and has an unnamed 2-year-old colt by Saint Anddan. Under Country Grammar's third dam, Willstar, is Group 1 winner Etoile Montante (Miswaki), as well as the dams of Grade I winner Obligatory (Curlin) and multiple graded winner Bonny South (Munnings).
Monday, Santa Anita
SAN ANTONIO S.-GII, $200,500, Santa Anita, 12-26, 3yo/up, 1 1/16m, 1:43.45, ft.
1–COUNTRY GRAMMER, 123, h, 5, by Tonalist
1st Dam: Arabian Song, by Forestry
2nd Dam: Prima Centauri, by Distant View
3rd Dam: Willstar, by Nureyev
($60,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP; $450,000 2yo '19 OBSAPR; $110,000
4yo '21 KEEJAN). O-Commonwealth Thoroughbreds, LLC,
Winstar Farm LLC and Zedan Racing Stables, Inc.; B-Scott
& Debbie Pierce (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Lanfranco Dettori.
$120,000. Lifetime Record: 14-5-5-1, $11,277,320. *1/2 to
Joyful Cadence (Runhappy), SW & MGSP, $546,155. Werk Nick
Rating: A+. Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or the
Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Stilleto Boy, 123, g, 4, Shackleford–Rosie's Ransom, by
Marquetry. ($420,000 3yo '21 FTKHRA). O-Steve Moger;
B-John & Iveta Kerber (KY); T-Ed Moger, Jr. $40,000.
3–Heywoods Beach, 123, h, 5, Speightstown–Unfold the Rose,
by Catienus. ($150,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP; $190,000 RNA 2yo '19
FTFMAR; $180,000 2yo '19 OBSOPN). O-Hronis Racing LLC;
B-SF Bloodstock LLC (KY); T-John W. Sadler. $24,000.
Margins: 4HF, 3HF, 1 1/4. Odds: 0.60, 5.00, 9.30.
Also Ran: Breakfast Ride, Hudson Ridge, Hopkins.
Click for the Equibase.com chart or the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
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