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Dettori Steals the Show at Saratoga (Video)

Dettori 615 X 400
Photo: Emma-Louise Kerwin (Goodtosoft.co.uk)
On a perfect summer afternoon, Saratoga Race Course played host to 25,612 guests as it opened its 2014 meeting with Fashion Alert taking a heart-pounding edition of the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes and international riding sensation Frankie Dettori capturing two races on his first-ever visit to the Spa.

 

The opening-day crowd enjoyed the many improvements to the Spa for the 146th race meeting, including 750 new high-definition television sets, an enhanced sound system, improved wireless capabilities and a new entertainment area for families.

 

On-track handle at Saratoga for the 10-race card was $2,846,970. Combined handle, including downstate wagering, was $4,235,167.  All sources handle was $14,916,986.

 

"Today's great weather, coupled with record season pass sales and the new amenities in place throughout this historic race course, is a great start to the 2014 Saratoga meet," said Chris Kay, President and CEO of The New York Racing Association.

 

Fashion Alert, trained by Todd Pletcher, remained undefeated as she picked up her second stakes win in as many starts as she outdueled Take Charge Brandi to win the 96th running of the Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies. Later on the card, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott sent out Tourist to take the $100,000 Sir Cat, with the winning trophy presented by Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.

 

Jose Ortiz won three races to emerge atop the jockey standings as the battle for the Angel Cordero, Jr. riding title got underway, but the star of the day was Italian jockey Frankie Dettori, who was riding at Saratoga for the first time at the behest of trainer Wesley Ward.

 

The flamboyant rider won race 8 aboard the Ward-trained Aventure Love in his second mount of the afternoon, and then returned to win the 10th and final race aboard Jet Majesty, also trained by Ward. The 43-year-old Dettori delighted the crowd by performing his signature flying dismount in the winner's circle after both races.

 

"When I rode, I thought I was in Disney World, there were so many people," said Dettori, who arrived in Saratoga Springs early Friday afternoon after riding in Istanbul on Wednesday and England on Thursday night. "I thought maybe I got the wrong venue. It's nice to see people at the races. It's very warm - the people make the atmosphere. There's a lot of warmth here.

 

"I am only here until Monday," he added, "but I may come back."

 

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