News & Barn notes

Frankie Dettori Scheduled To Ride Six Horses For Trainer Jonathan Thomas On Saturday’s 12-Race Jersey Darby Card

May 30, 2024

After trainer Jonathan Thomas decided this week that Twirling Point would be headed to Saturday’s Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park he began formulating a plan to “make it a worthwhile day for the stable” at the Jersey Shore track.

So he has six horses entered on Saturday’s 12-race card, with an interesting added twist: Legendary jockey Frankie Dettori is listed to ride all six.

“I thought we’d give him a shot,” Thomas joked.

Twirling Point, a gelded son of Twirling Candy, is one of nine 3-year-olds entered in the 81st edition of the Jersey Derby, which will be contested at a mile on the grass.

The Augustin Stable runner was cross-entered in the Audobon Stakes on Saturday at Churchill Downs as well.

“Frankie was scheduled to ride Twirling Point at Churchill on Saturday before we decided what direction we wanted to go. It was his only mount there,” said Thomas. “Not that Twirling Point wasn’t competitive in the race at Churchill. It just seemed like this would be a better spot for him.

“So we thought we’d build a little bit of a day around shipping from Kentucky. We’re trying to make it worthwhile for our stable – and our rider.”

Thomas and Dettori are scheduled to team up in the first, seventh eighth, ninth, 11th (Jersey Derby) and 12th races on the card. Dettori is also listed to ride for trainer Scott Lake in the 10th race.

Dettori, one of the most accomplished jockeys in the history of the sport, last rode at Monmouth Park during the 2007 Breeders’ Cup.

“It’s an interesting business where you can actually be a fan of people you get to work with,” said Thomas, who won the 2022 Jersey Derby with Fuerteventura. “I’ve been a fan of Dettori’s for as long as I can remember. We were lucky enough to ride him a few times in California. Everything he rides he rides extremely well. Why wouldn’t you use him if you can?”

Dettori, known for his signature flying dismount, has ridden Twirling Point in both of the horse’s starts at 3. They combined to win an optional claimer at Santa Anita on Feb. 24 and then finished a late-running third, beaten a half-length, in the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park on March 23.

Overall, Twirling Point has a 2-1-2 line from six career starts.

“He has been keeping some pretty good company,’ said Thomas, who has moved his base to Kentucky after buying a farm there. “He just missed in the Rushaway and the horse that beat him, Trikari, went on to win the (Grade 2) American Turf. The horse he beat in his first start of the year (Formidable Man) was second in the American Turf.

“So he has been keeping some pretty stout company. We’re trying to find a race that’s a little more winnable.”

Thomas said he sees the Chad Brown-trained Move to Gold as the horse to beat in the Jersey Derby “but the one thing I do know is that we fit.”

“Does that mean he is a shoo-in? Absolutely not,” Thomas added. “Chad Brown’s horse has every reason to step forward. But we do fit here and I would be highly disappointed if he was not right there.”

First race post time on Saturday is 12:50 p.m.