Frankie’s Fanfare Part 5: Frankie Goes To Florida

January 28, 2023

Dettori dismounts at Santa Anita and lands at Gulfstream Park. (Benoit Photo)

~ Graham Motion has four turf starters on Pegasus Championship Day, two piloted by Dettori
~ Dettori has mounts in 12 of 13 races on the Pegasus Day card

By Maribeth Kalinich
UPDATED 1/29/2024 10:39 AM

Jockey Frankie Dettori left his Southern California roost at Santa Anita for South Florida to ride on Pegasus Championship weekend at Gulfstream Park. He will be riding in 12 of the 13 races on the card on the Pegasus World Cup Invitational presented by Bacarat day. 

What is classically Frankie is he is riding in two turf races on two French-breds. This time, the jaunty jock gets the leg up from conditioner Graham Motion who is entering his 30th year as a trainer. Dettori is entering his last as he plans to retire from the saddle after this year’s Breeders’ Cup. 

Motion said he booked Dettori to ride because he has the same agent as some of his other riders—Velazquez and Lopez. He also said he wasn’t going to give Dettori much instruction on the day, just let him ride the race, he knows what he’s doing. 

Hopefully Motion will get to see that famous Dettori dismount in the winner’s circle.

Pao Alto (FR) will start in the $200,000 G3 William L McKnight and Hurricane Dream (FR) challenges in the $1 million G1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. According to Motion, both horses have similar riding styles and like to run in mid-pack.

Wertheimer and Frere’s Pao Alto made his first U.S. start placing second in the Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Sept. 10, 2022, a racetrack where Motion started his career.

The 6-year-old broke his maiden at Longchamp Sept. 5, 2019, following up with a win in the Grand Criterium de Bordeaux at Bordeaux Le Bouscat. The chestnut gelding won his 3-year-old campaign debut in the G3 Prix la Force at Longchamp May 14, 2020. 

Continuing to be stakes placed, Pao Alto wrapped up his French career with a victory at Doha in the G2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup, third in the G3 Prix Edmond Blanc and fifth in G2 Prix du Muguet, the latter two at Saint-Cloud, familiar turf for Dettori.

The son of two German-breds, Intello out of the Dashing Blade (GB) mare Peaceful Love, Pao Alto was bred by La Motteraye Earl & M. Gerrard Ferron. 

The chestnut gelding has five wins in 21 starts with three seconds and five thirds with $348,945 in earnings.

In training at Palm Meadows, Pao Alto’s latest breeze was five furlongs on Jan. 20 in 1.:02.80. 

Pao Alto goes off at 8-1 morning line odds breaking from post three against two Mike Maker trainees that a co-favorites at 9/2. Temple brakes from post 6 with stablemate Red Knight goes off from post 11.

Maker’s Wicked Fast breaks from post 12 at 20-1.

The McKinight is race 9 on a 13-race card and post time is 3:01 p.m. ET. 

Team Valor’s Hurricane Dream is making his first U. S. Start at Gulfstream on Saturday. 

The son of Hurricane Cat out of the Shalimar (FR) mare Siyouni (FR) made his last start at Longchamp n the G2 Qatar Prix Dollar on Oct. 1 finishing seventh but his previous start was quite notable. Sept. 4 at G2 Baden Baden he placed second in the Brunner Oettingen Rennen with Frankie Dettori in the irons.

“Yes, Frankie [Dettori] has ridden [Hurricane Dream] before and knows the horse so I’m lucky in that respect,” said Motion. 

Prior to Baden Baden the chestnut gelding placed in the G3 La Coupeat Longchamp and finished third in the G3 Prix du Muguet at Sanit-Cloud.

When talking about the longer distance in the Turf Invitational Motion remarked: “Hurricane Dream has been running at a mile, mile and an eighth and I think he will like the distance (1 1/2 miles). “

Hurricane Dream has had two works in January at Palm Meadows, both five furlongs. Jan. 13, he breezed in 1:04.60 and on Jan. 22 he worked a bulled in .58 flat. Although Graham said they had cones up and the horses were all along the rail that may have made the times faster, but still … 

The 6-year-old has won six out of 18 starts with four seconds and one third earning $187,505. 

The French-bred goes from barrier number 5 at 15-1 challenging favored 7-year-old Ivar (BRZ) at 5/2 and City Man trained by Christophe Clement at 4-1 in post 12.

Speaking Scout in his Jan. 22 work at Santa Anita before heading to Gulfstream Park. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Hurricane Dream also runs in the Turf Invitational against stablemate Eclipse Thoroughbred Partner’s Speaking Scout ridden by Paco Lopez at 8-1. 

The 4-year-old gelding is the recent winner of the G1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar on Dec. 3, 2022. He placed second in the G2 Twilight Derby Oct. 29 at Santa Anita and won the Hawthorne Derby Oct. 1. These performances were welcome follow-ups to his seventh place G3 Dueling Grounds Derby performance Sept. 5 at Kentucky Downs. 

The Mr Speaker gelding was bred in Kentucky by Mike Abraham. He is out of the Pleasant Tap mare Miss Scout.

The bay was sold at the Keeneland 2019 November Breeding Stock sale for $10,000 and then at the Ocala 2020 October Breeders Yearling Sale for $3,000. A real bargain considering Speaking Scout already has earnings of over half a million dollars. 

Speaking Scout has four wins out of 14 starts with four seconds. 

He has had three works in January—two at Santa Anita on dirt and one at Palm Meadows on turf: Jan. 8, four furlongs handily in 49.80; Jan. 14 four furlongs handily in 48.20; and Jan. 22 five furlongs breezing in :58 flat.

Motion, being a turf specialist (I told him he needs to own the title), has a European style to his training and running style. And, he has used a rabbit in races before such as in the 2005 Man o’ War with Shake the Bank and Better Talk Now.

Being that this is Hurricane Dream’s first U. S. start could he be a rabbit for Speaking Scout? We’ll have to wait and see.

The Motion trainee Lisheen will start in the $150,000 G3 La Prevoyante at 8-1.

In a field of eight that includes fellow Maryland-bred My Candy Girl breaking from post 8 at 12-1 under Paco Lopez, British-bred Transient at 4-1 under Tyler Gaffalione trained by Safe Joseph, Jr. breaks from post 6.

Graded stakes placed Shamrock Farm’s Lisheen was bred in Maryland by Timothy Rooney. The 5-year-old bay mare is by super sire Into Mischief by More Than Ready mare Waltzing Cat. 

With massive experience Lisheen actually made her last start at 1 1/2 miles on the all-weather track at Gulfstream placing second in the Via Borghese on Dec. 17, 2022.

In her prior start at Laurel Park the month before she placed on dirt at 1 1/8 miles also placing second. With two fourths and a fifth place in allowances at Belmont at the Big A and Saratoga respectively, Lisheen won another allowance at Laurel on July 15 at a mile on turf.

Under regular jockey Jorge Ruiz, Lisheen usually runs mid-pack and then mounts a stretch run. Look for this style in the La Prevoyante on Saturday. 

Lisheen has two wins from 18 starts with five seconds and two third places collecting $179,228 in purse money. 

She has had two January works at Palm Meadows, both breezing five furlongs: Jan. 11 in 1:05.80 and Jan. 20 in 1:02.80. The La Prevoyante is at 1 1/2 miles.

Records and Races

Graham Motion at Gulfstream Park. (Ryan Thompson)

Motion, whose Herringswell Stables is based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Cecil County, Maryland, currently has horses running at Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park. The seasoned conditioner won his first race at Laurel Park in March 1993 with Bounding Daisy.

Motion won the 2011 Kentucky Derby and 2013 Dubai World Cup wins with Animal Kingdom; and four Breeders’ Cup with Better Talk Now (2004 BC Turf Sprint), Shared Account (2010 BC Filly and Mare Turf), Main Sequence (BC Turf, Also Eclipse Older Male) and daughter of Shared Account, Sharing (2019 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf).

Dettori’s first win came at the age of 16 in Turin in November 1986. He has won 21 British Classics and more than 3,300 races in Great Britain. He has 14 Breeders’ Cup wins, six editons of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), and four Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) victories to his credit.

Dettori rode Wednesday at Gulfstream for the first time since 2020 getting acclimated to the track. He set the pace aboard Union Dolly in Race 7, a mile turf stakes for older fillies and mares, before weakening late to finish a close third.

Dettori has ridden in three editions of the Pegasus World Cup 2018-2020 without success, but he did visit the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle in 2018 aboard Dale Romans-trained Sportscaster in an undercard race, delighting fans with his trademark flying dismount.

Dettori has mounts in all but one race on Pegasus Championship Day 13-race card.

In addition to Motions two horses, the feisty Frankie rides Seimpre Elegante in race 1 and Twelve Volt Man in the Whispering Angel race 10, the G3 Fred W. Hooper, for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. in two turf allowance races, $86,000 and $87,000 purses respectively.

Frankie Dettori and his Fanfare, JTW Equine Images, Past The Wire
Frankie Dettori. (JTW Equine Images/Past The Wire)

In race 4, a $100,000 handicap on AWT, Dettori gets a leg up from Jonathan Thomas aboard Corelli, and in race 7, a $86,000 turf allowance, on Wolfie’s Dynaghost.

Ronald Spatz has Dettori on his Love Her Lots in race 4, a $100,000 handicap on AWT. Brendan Walsh on Nerves of Steel in race 5, a $100,000 allowance on turf. 

Dettori starts for Shug McGaughey aboard Smokin’ T in race 7, a $100,000 handicap on the AWT.

For the piece de resistance, Dettori rides Last Samuri for D. Wayne Lukas in the marquee event, the G1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational. 

Last Samuri is winless in his six starts for Lukas but has finished in the top three in half those races, all of them stakes. In his most recent start, he was second by a neck to Bal Harbour in the $200,000 Tinsel Stakes on Dec. 17 at Oaklawn. The Pegasus will be Last Samurai’s the 10th graded stakes appearance.

“[Last Samuri] has had some recency in his races and he’s in top form,” Lukas said. “He’s a strong closer and being dead-fit and everything, we thought it was worth taking a shot. There seems to be an abundance of speed. We are realistic, but we think that if he finishes like he normally does we can get a big chunk of it.”

Lukas has had one Pegasus starter, Calumet Farm’s Bravazo, who was fourth in 2019.

Dettori has now had 380 North American starts with 51 wins, 34 seconds and 43 firsts collecting $35,923,701 in purses. He has already had 31 starts with four wins, four seconds and seven third places adding $246,750 to his overall total.

With 12 starts on Saturday he is sure to add to his total stats. Wherever he finishes, this will be his last ride in the Pegasus. 

Read more about Frankie Dettori’s journey through his last year in the saddle in Past The Wire’s feature “Frankie’s Fanfare.” To read Part 1 with links to Parts 2-4 click here.

Brought to you by Team Valor

Contributing Authors

MariBeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Past the Wire

Maribeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Graphic Designer

Maribeth Kalinich grew up in a family with a love for horses, a passion for Thoroughbred horse racing and a taste for playing the ponies....

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