'Going Into This Hopeful': White Abarrio Gets Another Shot After Haskell Dud - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Going Into This Hopeful’: White Abarrio Gets Another Shot After Haskell Dud

Haskell Stakes contender White Abarrio walks the shedrow with groom Eduardo Diaz after arriving from South Florida on Wednesday morning. Trained by Saffie Joseph, the Florida Derby champion will compete in Saturday’s $1,000,000 Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, NJ. Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. can't get the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Stakes out of his mind.

For the life of him, he can't figure out what happened to White Abarrio in the signature race of the summer meeting at Monmouth Park.

White Abarrio, owned by C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable, ran a dud in the Haskell, finishing seventh in the field of eight. He was beaten 34 1/2 lengths by Cyberknife.

Now, here comes another chance. Joseph has entered White Abarrio in Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million betPARX Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing. The son of Race Day has much to prove to his trainer and just about everyone else who follows horse racing when he enters the starting gate for the 1 1/8-mile Derby. His odds reflect that as he is 8-1 on the morning line.

“We are going into this hopeful,” said Joseph, who will also saddle Skippylongstocking in Derby. “It's hard to go over there with confidence after that (Haskell). When a horse runs like that, it puts a question in the back of your mind.”

White Abarrio has won four of eight career starts and all of the wins have come at his home track at Gulfstream Park.

After the Haskell, Joseph said White Abarrio was checked from head to toe and nothing was remiss. The race was one that disappointed the trainer but also one that could not be explained.

“He didn't show up the last time, and, since that last race, we have freshened him,” Joseph said.

He kept the horse, as well as Skippylongstocking, at Saratoga Race Course after that meet ended, calling it a “vacation.”

Since then, he said White Abarrio has trained “as good as he has ever trained.”

Both horses will ship to Parx on Friday.

“If White Abarrio shows up, it's a tough race,” Joseph said. “We know he is capable. At Saratoga, we kept building him up and we are happy coming into the Parx race. We are coming with a fresh horse.”

White Abarrio will get a new rider as Luis Saez will be on board for the first time. Joel Rosaro rode him in the Haskell and Tyler Gaffalione was his jockey in the four races before that.

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