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Frankie Dettori: Dazzling Santa Anita display sees six of the best for Italian jockey

Frankie Dettori bagged six winners on a remarkable night at Santa Anita; the star jockey landed the Santa Anita Oaks on Nothing Like You, but was narrowly beaten in the Santa Anita Derby on Imagination

Frankie Dettori celebrates atop Inspiral after winning the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf
Image: Frankie Dettori celebrates atop Inspiral after winning the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf

Frankie Dettori fell just short of producing an American version of his famous magnificent seven when riding six straight winners on the Santa Anita Derby card.

The Italian memorably won every race at Ascot back in September 1996, on a day which cost British bookmakers an estimated £40m.

Now based across the Atlantic after abandoning plans to retire last year, Dettori looked set to rewrite the record books when rattling off six consecutive victories on Saturday night, including a Santa Anita Oaks triumph.

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Sadly, he couldn't add to his tally from four more rides but it was still a special occasion for the 53-year-old.

He stated: "I adore this place and to be able to say that I won six races on Derby day is beyond my wildest dreams.

"I don't know how to put it into words. Is it real? Am I dreaming? Is this really happening? It's incredible. I just don't know what to say."

After missing out on Dancing with Maxine in the opening race, Dettori began his hot streak with maiden winner Ball Don't Lie.

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Frankie Dettori drinks in the noise from the Ascot crowd after victory on King Of Steel
Image: Frankie Dettori drinks in the noise from the Ascot crowd after victory on King Of Steel

He then struck on Recinto Rompere in a claiming race before landing the $125,000 Evening Jewel Stakes with Roberta's Love at big odds.

After that success, Dettori said: "I was surprised, she jumped like a rocket and within 50 yards we were clear of the field and at the rail. I thought if nobody hassled with me, I'd be very hard to catch and that was the case. We went right up to the line.

"I tried to just save as much ground as I could - the filly is ultra-consistent and was very well prepared. There were some good fillies in the race, but she put up a good performance."

Frankie Dettori takes in the love from the Ascot crowd one last time
Image: Frankie Dettori takes in the love from the Ascot crowd one last time

Next up came another maiden winner in Kathynmarissa and Dettori then partnered Nothing Like You to victory in the $300,000 Grade Two Santa Anita Oaks.

She was regarded as trainer Bob Baffert's second string behind odds-on favourite Kinza but swept past her stablemate entering the home straight and ultimately romped home by seven and a half lengths.

"The filly didn't like the kick-back too much last time but I was lucky to get a decent break and could take up a decent position where I wasn't getting any kick-back," said Dettori.

"I was fully loaded at the quarter pole, I just needed a bit of room and she took off.

"What can you say about Bob Baffert, he's a genius and just lets me do what I do best and we got the job done. We've got a good working relationship - he trains them and I ride them, so we'll keep it that way."

Baffert added on the Santa Anita website: "He's just a phenom. He is world-class and has brought his talent to every stage. He's just that good."

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Dettori's sixth straight success soon followed when Royal Charter, a former William Haggas inmate now trained by Leonard Powell, swept to victory on her American debut.

The veteran did not have a ride in race eight and then had to settle for third place on board Getthemoney in the Grade Three Monrovia Stakes.

A narrow second on the Baffert-trained favourite Imagination in the $750,000 Grade One Santa Anita Derby was the closest Dettori came to reaching seventh heaven again.

That blow was at least softened by losing out to compatriot Antonio Fresu, who dedicated his first Grade One victory in America to fellow Italian Stefano Cherchi, who tragically died from injuries suffered in a fall in Australia recently.

Dettori finished unplaced on Ottoman Prince, formerly handled by Sir Mark Prescott, and Last Call London as he came up one short of the track record of seven wins at a meeting, set by Laffit Pincay Jr back in March 1987.

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