ARCADIA — Country Grammer, perhaps prepping for the $20 million Saudi Cup in February, toyed with five others in Monday’s $200,000 Grade II San Antonio Stakes as Santa Anita opened its 47-day Classic Meet.
Given an almost three-month layoff by trainer Bob Baffert following a second-place showing in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 1, Country Grammer beat Stilleto Boy by 4½ lengths while running the mile and a sixteenth in 1: 43.45 as the 3-5 favorite.
Frankie Dettori, riding full time at Santa Anita for the first time since his career began in 1987, was aboard for the victory. He rode Country Grammer when the 5-year-old son of Tonalist won the Dubai World Cup by 1¾ lengths on March 26.
It was Baffert’s third victory of the day.
“Thirty-five years went like a flash,” said the 52-year-old Dettori, who plans to retire at the end of 2023. “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.”
LA HABRA STAKES
Fun to Dream, the second choice at 5-2 ridden by Juan Hernandez, gave Baffert his fourth victory on the card, outlasting Awake At Midnyte by three-quarters of a length in the $300,000 Grade I sprint for 3-year-old fillies. The victory was the Cal-bred daughter of Arrogate’s third in a row and fifth in six starts. The final time for 7 furlongs was 1: 21.99.
Rhea Moon, with Hernandez in the saddle, closed from ninth to win the $300,000 Grade I race for 3-year-old fillies on the grass. Trained by Philip D’Amato, the daughter of Starspangledbanner beat School Dance by a head while running the mile and a quarter in 2: 00.75. She’s won four of nine and never finished worse than third in her starts.
SAN GABRIEL STAKES
Hernandez guided Dicey Mo Chara to victory over 21-1 longshot Flashiest in the $200,000 Grade II race for 3-year-olds and older on the turf. Sent postward at 7-2, the 4-year-old Adaay gelding prevailed by a half-length for his fourth victory in 17 starts. The top two finishers are both trained by Leonard Powell. The final time was 1: 47.78 for the mile and an eighth.
One More Bid, a 16-1 longshot ridden by Ramon Vazquez, outlasted 8-5 favorite Balnikhov by a nose to win the $200,000 race for 3-year-olds on the turf and give trainer Ryan Hanson his first Grade II victory. The final time for the 1 mile was 1: 33.67.