White Abarrio, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., delivered a commanding win in the $6 million 2023 Breeders’ Cup Classic, running down the two speed horses in the race, Arabian Knight and Saudi Crown. It was an impressive performance that has come after a long, strange road. Initially purchased for just $7500 as a yearling, and sold for $40,000 as a two-year-old, White Abarrio showed early talent, coming into the Kentucky Derby as one of the favorites, having won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, the Holy Bull Stakes and the Florida Derby under trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. His 16th place finish in the Kentucky Derby set off a six-race losing streak, all in graded stakes races.
Then, two of Joseph’s horses died suddenly causing both Churchill Downs and the NY Racing Association to suspend him indefinitely. At this point, majority owners Clint and Mark Cornett opted to send the colt to Rick Dutrow, who was just returning to the sport after a 10 year ban for medication violations, so the colt could run in the Met Mile. He finished, third after stumbling at the start, but went on to win the Whitney two months later.
With the Classic win, both White Abarrio and Dutrow are at the top of their game. Next stop? Looks like it may be Saudi Arabia, where Dutrow would like to run the colt in the Saudi Cup and then potentially to Dubai, for the Dubai World Cup.