Dettori Supremely Guides Country Grammer in GII San Antonio

December 26, 2022

Dettori does his trademark jump from the saddle after his victory aboard Country Grammer. (Benoit Photo)

Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif—It’s on to the desert. Country Grammer, Thoroughbred racing’s leading active money earner with $11.1 million, dominated five rivals in taking Monday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Antonio Stakes with European-based superstar jockey.

Lanfranco (Frankie) Dettori aboard and thus set the stage for a return to the middle east, where he finished second in the $20 million Saudi Cup and was victorious in the $12 million Dubai World Cup earlier this year.

Attentive to the pace while hung four-deep around the first turn, Country Grammer, who was reunited with Dettori today for the first time since his win in Dubai four starts back on March 26, took command three-wide at the quarter pole under aggressive handling and was long gone three sixteenths of a mile from home in a rousing win.

“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. 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 excitedly said.

“Thirty five years went like a flash. 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 carries jockey Lanfranco Dettori to victory in the Grade II $200,000 San Antonio Stakes Monday, December 26, 2022 on opening day at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA. Benoit Photo

Most recently a close second to stablemate Defunded here in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes Oct. 1, Country Grammer was off at 3-5 and paid $3.20, $2.40 and $2.10.

“This horse is training better than he ever has, and he likes a deeper racetrack. 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,” Baffert said. “I’m just blessed the owners gave me the horse to train, and I have a great staff backing me.”

Owned by Commonwealth Thoroughbreds, LLC, Winstar Farm, LLC and Zedan Racing Stables, Inc., Country Grammer, a 5-year-old full horse by Tonalist out of the Forestry mare Arabian Song, is now 14-5-5-1. With today’s winner’s share of $120,000, he boosted his earnings to $11,277,320.

Stilleto Boy, who sat second to pacesetter Hopkins to the quarter pole, put a short head in front for an instant, but was immediately vanquished by the winner while finishing second, 3 ½ lengths clear of Heywoods Beach.

Off at 5-1 with Mike Smith, Stilleto Boy paid $4.00 and $2.60.

Ridden by Ramon Vazquez, Heywoods Beach was off at 9-1 and paid $2.80 to show.

Fractions on the race were 22.76, 46.16, 1:10.35 and 1:36.57

Country Star, Dwight Yoakam, Presented the trophy of San Antonio: “I’m excited to be here. Our family home is here in Southern California and what do you do the day after Christmas? You go to Opening Day at Santa Anita. It’s the fun thing to do,” Yoakam said.

“I have a two-and-a-half-year-old son and he loves the horses. We keep three back home including my wife’s jumper and a trail horse. We tried to breed a Mr. Prospector, but he bowed a tendon. I had racehorses in the 90’s. I had a horse at Hollywood Park, and he won a mile turf race at 83-1. That was quite a thrill.”

Incredible run by @PastTheWire continues with a 4/1 winner in GP 5th Race!!!

Rick St. Pierre @rstp354 View testimonials