Dettori To Ride Country Grammer in San Antonio

December 23, 2022

Country Grammer under Flavien Prat battles Royal Ship (BRZ) with Mike Smith up in the Hollywood Gold Cup and wins by a head at Santa Anita May 31, 2021. (Benoit Photo)

Early First Post At 11 A.M., San Antonio Is One Of Six Stakes On Classic Meet Opening Day

Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.—North America’s leading active money earner, the Bob Baffert-trained Country Grammer will be reunited with European superstar jockey Frankie Dettori as he heads Monday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Antonio Stakes, which has attracted a field of six 3-year-olds and up and is one of six graded stakes on Santa Anita’s 11-race opening day card.

Dettori, 52, announced this past Saturday that 2023 will be his final year in the saddle and that he’ll ride full-time at Santa Anita for approximately the first 2 ½ months of the new year. He further noted that his incredible 36-year run in the saddle will conclude at The Great Race Place with the 40th running of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 3 & 4.

In his lone pairing with the legendary Dettori, Country Grammer swept to a 1 ¾ length victory in the Grade I, $12 million Dubai World Cup four starts back on May 26, his lone win from five starts this year. An agonizing second, beaten a half-length in the world’s richest race, the $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 26, Country Grammer, who is 5-1-4-0 this year, has thus banked $10,780,000 in 2022, contributing mightily to his career earnings total of $11,157,320

Owned by Zedan Stables, Inc., Winstar Farm LLC and Commonwealth Thoroughbreds, LLC, Country Grammer, a 5-year-old full horse by Tonalist, is 13-4-5-1 overall.

The speed of the San Antonio field would appear to be Hopkins, a lightly raced 4-year-old colt by Quality Road who is stretching out for the first time and is one of three Baffert trainees in the lineup.

A gate to wire seven-furlong maiden winner two starts back on Oct. 23, Hopkins, who has two wins and as many seconds from four starts, comes off a half-length allowance score as six furlongs Nov. 26 and will thus be seeking his third win in a row in what will be his initial stakes engagement.

A $900,000 Keeneland September Yearling, Hopkins is owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, et al. He will again be ridden by regular pilot Juan Hernandez.

John Sadler and Hronis Racing, LLC, will send out long-fused Heywoods Beach, a winner of the Grade III Tokyo City Cup at a mile and one half here two starts back and who was most recently second going a mile and five eighths in a Grade II stakes at Keeneland Nov. 4.

A 5-year-old full horse by Speightstown, Heywoods Beach is 21-5-3-3 overall and will be ridden for the fifth time in a row by Ramon Vazquez.

Special early first post time for an 11-race card that includes six graded stakes on Monday is at 11 a.m. Admission gates open at 9 a.m.

Big score for @AmWager customers. @jonathanstettin does it again!

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