Why Breeders’ Cup Champion White Abarrio Will Point To The Pegasus Or The Saudi Cup In 2024

The hardy four-year-old gray White Abarrio, or more accurately, his two-legged connections — trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. and the ownership team of C2 — are looking to book a quite a few million, atop the athlete’s stellar late-blooming $4.9 million career, in 2024.

The breezy tweet dropped on X on November 27: Multiple Grade 1 winner White Abarrio, most recently the somewhat surprising but decisive victor in Santa Anita’s $6 million running of the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 4, will be campaigned for the Pegasus at Gulfstream on January 27, or for the eye-watering $20 million Saudi Cup in late February, as a start to his fifth year on the track.

The go-get-’em tweet from C2 Racing read: 3X G1 Winner WHITE ABARRIO “The White Horse” to race in 2024 @ 5 YO. Let’s have some fun!

C2 Racing’s managing partner Clint Cornett said, “We really think he is just coming into his own right now as a late 4-year-old and that he’ll be even better at five.”

The team is thinking big, which is to say, to the big races further down in the ’24 season, including the Dubai Cup in late March, next summer’s Whitney in Saratoga, (which White Abarrio won just last August), as well as a second Breeders’ Cup Classic next November.

In a very concrete way, bringing his superb form through a long layoff between his spectacular Whitney win in August and his grind-it-out-and-get-it-done victory in the Breeders’ Classic 90 days later, White Abarrio has given his team every proof he possibly could that cherry-picking the big races and ignoring the little ones in between is the way to go. Put another way, there is no ‘campaign’ to the campaign; there are just the big races, spaced well apart. It represents a sort luxe ease for White Abarrio’s outspoken trainer Richard Dutrow, Jr., in that it strips away any interim different tactical prep, or mishaps, on smaller stages, which allows greater laserlike focus on the daily prep for the big shows.

Bluntly put, in a three-month layoff, White Abarrio doesn’t forget how to race, nor how to win. Like a great bottle of Chateau Petrus, he’s a fine race horse who is improving with age. He knows what it means when he gets all tacked up on race day and walked into the starting gate.

Dutrow echoed this fact to Daily Racing Form: “He doesn’t need a race in between the big race out there [the 2023 Classic at Santa Anita] and Saudi, he’s good man. Could he [run]? Yes, I’m sure that he can. But time is his weapon and we want to keep using it. It’s good for him. So, these other races, they don’t mean a whole lot like the Saudi Cup does.”

White Abarrio has been battling a cracked heel on a hind foot for some months now, which has long been patched and, to date, obviously, has not affected the horse’s performance. Whichever of the big-money winter races is picked for the horse, he will be moved to Gulfstream to train and to winter over in mid-December. Again, the luxury of the — now planned — long layoff means that the team and their runner have, at this writing, roughly two months until the Pegasus and three until the Saudi Cup to iron out the heel issue.

With White Abarrio, the karmic gods of racing are clearly minded to rain good fortune on trainer Dutrow, who has just a few months ago finished serving out his extraordinary ten-year ban from American racing as a result of repeated sporting violations. When it was handed down in 2013, triggered by his history but more specifically as a result of syringes of race-day banned substances found in his barn, it was considered rather stiff, but it was upheld. He completed his sentence in May. Four months later, at Saratoga, White Abarrio started his most recent winning streak.

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