Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Dettori to States

Frankie Dettori is planning a winter campaign in America, with the rider looking to base himself at Santa Anita.

The Italian has been a regular in Dubai in the winter months over recent years but after honing his craft as a teenager at the California track, he is keen to seize the opportunity to revisit his old haunt.

Dettori, who rides at the Breeders’ Cup meeting at Keeneland this weekend, will head out to America in December and is relishing the test.

He told Nick Luck’s Daily podcast: “I think I’m going to spend possibly the winter in California, at Santa Anita where I started many years ago as a young boy. I did four lovely winters there in the late 80s.

“I’ve been doing my winters in Dubai the last few years but this opportunity came, I’m getting a lot of requests to come over from trainers, so I thought why not give it a go. It’s a place I’m a big fan of and I’m very fond of Santa Anita.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and this is the plan for the winter.”

Santa Anita’s meeting kicks off on December 26 with a clutch of Grade One contests, so Dettori will forego family festivities to make sure he is ready for action.

He added: “I talked to my family and my wife and I told them I will not spend Christmas with them, but my kids are not young any more so they don’t really care about Christmas Day – all they want is a present!

“I will go just before Christmas and I will start riding on the opening day, which is Boxing Day, with some amazing races and spend a good chunk of the winter, who knows what it will bring, and I’m looking forward to it.

“If you’re going to do it, do it properly – that’s why I’m starting on the first day. And who knows, I may find a nice three-year-old who heads to Churchill Downs for the first Saturday in May.”

Gulfstream Park hosts the richly-endowed Pegasus World Cup fixture in January and Dettori would be open to a trip to Florida, with the Saudi Cup meeting in February also on his radar.

“I’m keeping all my options open, I’m going there with a clean slate and looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

“If the opportunity comes to go for the Pegasus, I’ve been there before, then obviously it’s a massive day in Saudi at the end of February so I’ll also be doing that. Basically I will base myself in California and move my way around if I have to.” 

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