Frankie goes to Florida and back to Hollywood
Dettori aboard Newgate after their win in the G3 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita Park (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
By Michaela Moricova
When we decided to chronicle and memorialize Frankie’s Fanfare we knew it would be exciting. After all it is Frankie Dettori and there will be a lot of winning and personality to stage those flying dismounts. While Frankie indeed did make the trip to Gulfstream Park to ride the Pegasus World Cup card, including the Turf and Dirt races he did not score any wins. When he stuck around until Thursday before returning to Santa Anita, his winter hone base, to ride one horse for Wesley Ward in an optional maiden claimer you all but knew what was going to happen. Yes, we know this is horse racing but this had all the signs of a gift and as Frankie drew Musical Design clear one could only smile and await the flying dismount.
Not much changed when Frankie went back to Hollywood and resumed riding at Santa Anita. Winning and flying dismounts. This was highlighted by Frankie’s win aboard Newgate for trainer Bob Baffert in the Grade 3 Robert L Lewis.
Frankie Dettori is a globally known star. He has achieved success in many countries worldwide, not only in horse racing powerhouses like the United Kingdom, France, or the USA but also in destinations like Mauritius or Turkey. He did not shy from visiting such places, and in this article, let’s embark on a journey through more or less obscure tracks where Frankie has left his footprint.
Exploits in the Middle East
After the introduction of the Saudi Cup in 2020, Saudi Arabia could be currently perceived as the least exotic place on this list as several US-based horses traveled there to have a go in the world’s richest race. Frankie Dettori appeared in all three editions without making an impact; however, he seized some prestigious victories in Riyadh. In 2020, Dettori piloted a heavy outsider, Dark Power, trained in Bahrain by Allan Smith, and together they scored the STC 1351 Cup over seven furlongs. In the turf race, boasting the purse of $1,000,000, Dark Power left behind several respected European horses. In 2021, he finished a close second behind Godolphin’s Space Blues.
Dettori’s agency in Qatar and its prominent racecourse in Doha relates to a single horse – Dubday. Today, the chestnut by Dubawi is thirteen years old and in the past, he enjoyed some great days in this rich country, bagging six victories at distances from a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half. Trainer Jassim Mohammed Ghazali partnered him with Frankie Dettori in 2014, and together they won four races in a span of two years, including two Emir’s Trophies in 2014 (grey silks in the midfield) and 2015. This event is considered a local G1, and even though they succeeded narrowly on both occasions, Dubday then confirmed certain classes when running to Europe. He prevailed in the UK in a G3 race and finished third in a German G1 event.
Frankie Dettori visited the Kingdom of Bahrain numerous times between 2016 and 2019 and recorded several victories aboard Shogun and Thorkhill Star. With both of them, he won The Crown Prince Cup, and together with Thorkhill Star, he scored twice in the Bahrain Gold Cup over a mile and a quarter.
Other Asian Adventures
At the beginning of the new century, the Italy-born legend showed up in the Republic of Singapore, where he most notably won the Singapore Gold Cup at the Kranji track. The turf race is held over a mile and three furlongs, while in 2001, Frankie Dettori landed it with Kutub, trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin. Neither succeeded again, but a year later, the same team conquered the Singapore Airlines International Cup with Grandera. It was the third running of a race that was discontinued in 2016.
This special administrative region officially belongs to China, while Frankie Dettori traveled there in 2002 to prevail in the Macau Derby with Royal Treasure.
In 2002, Frankie did not focus only on trying his luck in a very exotic destination but scouted less-known venues in Europe, too. For example, he visited a track called Starý Háj in Bratislava, Slovakia, located almost in the center of Europe. Not only did he win the Slovak Derby back then, piloting home Muskatsturm trained in Germany, but he also landed the Bratislavská Míľa with Czech-trained Tribal Instinct.
One of the Scandinavian countries is our next stop on the journey through Dettori’s many exploits all over the world, and it is curious to mention that Sweden belongs among countries where harness racing is way more popular than gallop races. Still, Frankie achieved a notable victory at the Bro Park track in 1996 when scoring the Bro Park Sprint Championship with Jayannpee.
The ever-so-neutral country of Switzerland is not well-known for its horse racing; however, the rich nation boasts one specialty – a meeting in Sankt Moritz on the frozen lake. Dangerous as it might sound, it is also hugely anticipated in the region, so it would not be our Italian adventurer not to try it at one point. The meeting called White Turf welcomed Dettori in 2010 and saw him delivering what was expected of him – winning one of the races, the Grand Prix Hotel Soldanella aboard Sweet Venture.
Geographically in Europe, mentally in Asia, still, Turkey is a destination that the horses of Godolphin visit regularly. As Dettori was their retained jockey, it was just a matter of time before he struck a big one there. He did so in 2009 and 2012 when bagging the Anatolia Trophy with Balius and Hunter’s Light, respectively. The G2 event is held over a mile and a quarter at the Veliefendi track in the most famous Turkish city – Istanbul.
Those fans who have ever paid close attention to horse racing in the United Arabian Emirates and the Dubai World Cup Night will know at least something about racing in the Republic of South Africa. Especially, Mick de Kock, the local trainer, has sent several exciting runners to Dubai and made quite a name for himself; however, he was not behind Dettori’s main success in South Africa. In 2017, Frankie scored the Cape Derby at Kenilworth. Together with Edict of Nantes, trained by Brett Crawford, he added another interesting triumph to his resume.
Trinidad and Tobago and Mauritius
In 2014, Frankie ventured to South America, in other words, to an island in the Caribbean – Trinidad and Tobago. Dettori absolutely destroyed the competition of the Caribbean Champion Stakes aboard Bigman in Town, while Mauritius is the last exotic country to mention in our journey. Being invited to the Champ de Mars track multiple times, Frankie quickly showed everybody there why he is considered the worldwide jockey star.
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