JC / Railbird

Frankie Dettori

Woodbine Wrap-Up

The horse, the jockey, and, of course, the roast beef sandwich. It’s Canadian International day 2012, as seen by Ernie Munick:

A few odds and ends from International weekend …

Next Question will be the sole Breeders’ Cup Challenge winner from Sunday to ship to Santa Anita. Prepping for the Turf Sprint in the Nearctic Stakes worked for Regally Ready in 2011, but Next Question will have to contend with the downhill turf course and reproduce the best race of his career to win.

Is there a bigger international racing star than Frankie Dettori? People love him. They love his exuberance. They love his flying leap. It’s no exaggeration that the second loudest cheer of International day, after the cheer at the International finish, came from the crowd when the rider launched himself off Joshua Tree in the Woodbine winner’s circle.

The roast beef sandwich sold in the grandstand really was as good as it looks in Ernie’s video, but the dishes and desserts — seasonal cold salads and roasted vegetables, short rib sliders and spicy shrimp and fava bean croquettes, pumpkin brûlée and florentines dipped in chocolate — turned out by the Woodbine kitchen, headed by chefs Joseph Lesch and Michael Mortensen, and served at the Canadian International draw luncheon and cocktail party, were exceptional. I haven’t eaten so well at a racetrack, ever.

Also notable was Chef Joseph’s chocolate plum cake.

And the avocado panna cotta, part of the raw bar spread.

My thanks to Woodbine media coordinator Keith McCalmont (@tripledeadheat) for inviting me to visit, and to everyone I met for their hospitality. It was a terrific weekend, and I hope to make it back next year.

Every Winner’s Circle a Stage

Frankie Dettori, “the housewives’ favourite jockey,” on his most famous move:

“Everyone associates me with the dismount,” admits Dettori, who perfected it with seven winners in one famous Saturday at Ascot in 1993. “I’m the slave to my own act now. I do it because children on school holidays, perhaps having a day out at Lingfield, expect me to. It’s part of the thing I’ve created. I can’t get out of it.”

Flashback to 2008: About that award-winning Dettori dismount photo.

On the subject of ebullient jockeys: John Scheinman profiles Calvin Borel on BC360. “At Churchill, trainers stand in line like I’m selling ice cream,” says agent Jerry Hissam of his client. “At Saratoga …”