White Abarrio Pulls Off 6-1 Upset In Holy Bull - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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White Abarrio Pulls Off 6-1 Upset In Holy Bull

White Abarrio

C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable's White Abarrio took advantage of a favorable pace scenario to win Saturday's Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes by about five lengths, upsetting the nine-strong field as the fifth choice at odds of 6-1. Unraced since his third-place finish in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 27, White Abarrio reiterated his preference for the Gulfstream surface over which the colt won his first two races.

The 3-year-old son of Race Day pressed the early pace and took command turning for home, pulling away under Tyler Gaffalione to complete 1 1/16 miles over Gulfstream's fast main track in 1:42.80. Trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., White Abarrio's victory earned him 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

After missing the break, Mucho Macho Man Stakes winner Simplification (7-2) rallied in the lane to hold the place over late-running 8-5 favorite Mo Donegal in third. Galt, the full brother to champion Songbird, finished fourth, while Cajun's Magic was fifth.

“It was a big performance,” Joseph said of his winner. “We were ahead of schedule all the time and then he got sick and we missed two works. We ended up going from being ahead of schedule to being behind. Quality horses overcome those things.

“He trains like a horse that will handle a distance, but until they do, you never know for sure. I thought the [Kentucky] Jockey Club was a great education. He showed he could get two turns and today he answered it emphatically.”

Breaking near the outside of the field, White Abarrio was very sharp out of the gate and was able to make it over to the two-path to stalk unexpected pacesetter Galt. Simplification, the speed of the race on paper, was forced to make his run from seventh after missing the start.

White Abarrio kept up the pressure on Galt through fractions of :23.93 and :47.31, drawing even with that rival around the far turn. In the short run to the first wire, Gaffalione kept White Abarrio busy as the colt easily pulled away from the field to win by about five lengths. Simplification made his way up to second, and while never threatening the winner he was game to hold off the very late run from favorite Mo Donegal and secure the place. Galt faded to finish fourth.

It was an ideal trip,” Gaffalione said. “The horse broke sharply and put me where I wanted to be. He settled nicely on the backside and when I called on him, he gave me another gear and finished the job well.

“I don't think distance is going to be a problem. He was just hitting his best stride down the lane and, galloping out, I had a really difficult time pulling him up. I was calling for the outrider.”

Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, White Abarrio is out of the unplaced Into Mischief mare Catching Diamonds, who is a half-sister to multiple Group 3 winner Cool Cowboy. Purchased for $7,500 as a yearling at the OBS Winter sale, the colt returned to the OBS ring in March to command a final bid of $40,000. Now a three-time winner from four starts, White Abarrio boasts earnings of over $240,000.

“I would say off this, the ball is in our court, why not go straight to the [G1] Florida Derby [April 2]?” Joseph suggested. “It gives him good spacing, and …if he makes the Kentucky Derby it will be his third race [this year]. That would be ideal right now, but we'll talk it over whether to go to the [G2] Fountain of Youth [March 5] or not.”

Additional Quotes from Placed Connections:

 Jockey Javier Castellano (Simplification, 2nd): “I'm not disappointed at all. I'm very satisfied the way he did it. I know we expected to be on the lead, but we learned something. He's starting to develop himself, and the good thing it seems to me that he doesn't have to be on the lead. He proved that he can come from behind, also. The first time going two turns, he did it and he did it really well. He finished up really good. The other horse, he got the jump and unfortunately we had the bad break.”

“He didn't break sharp out of the gate. There was so much noise and everybody screaming 'no' and he backed up a little bit. When he backed up they opened the gate. It was the wrong time when they opened the door and he didn't break sharp. But I don't have anything negative with the horse. I'm very positive on the horse. I think he's going to move forward. He was running at the end and he was galloping out good. I think he's a really nice horse. He put himself right behind horses and I let him feel the dirt in the face and then angled out a little bit to give him a little break and keep track of the horses. He did it really well.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher (Mo Donegal, 3rd): “I thought he finished really well, it just took him a little while to get out in the clear and get going. The last hundred yards he was making up a lot of ground. He just kind of ran out real estate at the end. I was happy with the way he closed. It actually kind of hurt us that [Simplification] didn't break well because it kind of altered the fractions of the race and there wasn't a whole lot of pace on and that's always a disadvantage at Gulfstream. I was pleased with the horse's performance. He ran well and finished up good.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Mo Donegal, 3rd): “I had a little stumble out of there. It was the last thing I wanted to happen, but it happened. I went to Plan B after that. I tried to save some ground and try not to be too far and I had to keep on him to help him to improve my position the whole time. He still finished good. He was in some position by the second turn. I didn't want to be waiting by the three-eighths pole because I know my horse. I know he needs to go start going a little earlier but I had nowhere to go, so I had to wait and go around them into the clear and he was flying at the end, honestly. He ran a good race.”

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