White Abarrio was the biggest winner in the Breeders’ Cup weekend as the gray colt took home the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday at the Santa Anita racetrack. The four-year-old horse took over the lead at the top of the stretch and ran on to a one-length victory in the USD6-million event. The 5-2 favorite also handed trainer Rick Dutrow his first Breeders’ Cup Classic win in 16 years. White Abarrio edged Japan-bred Derma Sotogake and Proxy at the end of the race. The horse allowed Irad Ortiz Jr to capture the top jockey honors with his third win of the weekend. White Abarrio likewise helped other horseracing betting afficionados who chose him to win the race over 11 other horses.
Within Striking Distance: White Abarrio
White Abarrio was close behind Arabian Knight and Saudi Crown at the start of the race. On the far turn, Saudi Crown retreated and White Abarrio moved up to challenge Arabian Knight, quickly taking over and widening his lead in the stretch. White Abarrio had enough left on his tank to shut down late-surging Derma Sotogake and Proxy and take home the victory in the 1 1/4-mile (2.011-kilometer) race in two minutes, 02.87 seconds. Bob Baffert-trained Arabian Knight finished fourth. The Classic lost two Stakes winners – Belmont Stakes winner Arcangelo (foot problem) and Kentucky Derby topnotcher Mage (fever).
Dutrow Wins Big in Comeback
White Abarrio’s win also benefited trainer Dutrow, who was back to the top after his 10-year exile from the sport. Dutrow, who guided Saint Liam to the 2005 Breeders’ Classic win, was ecstatic in his win, which he described as “unbelievable.” He hugged anyone he could in the winner’s circle before throwing his arms around White Abarrio. The 64-year-old only returned to training earlier this year after serving a 10-year suspension by New York racing officials for a history of violations.
Dutrow was Big Brown’s trainer when the horse won the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The colt, however, failed to secure the Triple Crown after finishing last in the Belmont. Horseracing officials also went tough on Dutrow after he admitted regularly giving anabolic steroids to Big Brown and other horses in his stable. It was the third time that Dutrow guided White Abarrio, who was previously trained by Saffie Joseph Jr until the owners opted to move the horse to Dutrow’s barn. Joseph was muddled in controversy as he was barred from taking part in races in multiple states after two of his horses died this spring.
Meanwhile, Baffert, the career earnings leader among Breeders’ Cup trainers, failed to win in nine races his horses were entered over two days of the 40th world championships at his home track. Trainer Bill Mott won a leading three races.
Cody’s Wish Leads Other Breeders’ Cup Winners
In other races, Cody’s Wish led the winners of other events slated for the Breeders’ Cup weekend. The Junior Alvarado-ridden horse edged past National Treasure by a nose to win the controversy-marred race. Cody’s Wish, who ran the distance in 1:35.97, triggered an inquiry after he bumped National Treasure and jockey Flavien Prat twice down the stretch. This caused National Treasure to make contact with Cody’s Wish. Race stewards studied video replays for seven minutes until they decided on giving the win to Cody’s Wish.
The victory positively closes the “spectacular” book for Cody’s Wish, who raced his last as the horse was set to retire. Cody’s Wish won 11 of 16 career starts, including eight in stakes races and earned over USD3.1 million.
Meanwhile, Auguste Rodin handed Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien a record seventh win in the USD4-million Turf. Ryan Moore guided the 5-2 favorite Auguste Rodin to a half-length victory in the 1 1/2-mile (2.414-km) race. The horse checked in at 2:24.30. Nobals emerged as the victor in the USD1-million Turf Sprint. Nobals, who raced at 12-1 odds, handed trainer Larry Rivelli and jockey Gerardo Corrales wins for their efforts.
In the USD2-million Sprint, 8-5 favorite Elite Power rallied down the center of the track to secure another win for jockey Ortiz Jr and trainer Mott. Fifty-year-old jockey Frankie Dettori guided Inspiral to victory at the USD2-million Filly & Mare Turf. The 5-2 favorite won by a neck to hand trainer John Gosden the top prize. Goodnight Olive emerged victorious in the USD1-million Filly & Mare Sprint. Goodnight Olive, who was ridden by Ortiz Jr, rallied three horses wide on the turn and drew off to a 2 3/4-length victory for a repeat win.
2023 Breeders’ Cup Recap
Master of the Seas and Idiomatic took home the Mile and Distaff races, respectively. Master of the Seas stormed down the center of the turf course to beat Mawj by a nose. The five-year-old gelding handed owner Godolphin a 1-2 finish. Jockey William Buick and trainer Charlie Appleby were instrumental in handing Master of the Seas a victory in the USD2-million Mile. Idiomatic, meanwhile, won by half-length in the USD2-million Distaff, giving Florent Geroux and Brad Cox the top prizes as jockey and trainer, respectively.
Ortiz, meanwhile, took home the Bill Shoemaker Award as the outstanding jockey at the world championships. The jockey rode three winners at the Breeders’ Cup to win the award for the fifth time. The 31-year-old Puerto Rico native helped White Abarrio win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, guided Elite Power in the Sprint and helped Goodnight Olive win the Filly & Mare Sprint. The Bill Shoemaker award goes to the rider who wins the most races at the two-day event. Ortiz has been one of the top riders on the New York circuit since 2012 and rode four winners at the 2019 Breeders’ Cup, including the Classic.
The Breeders’ Cup was one of the most anticipated events in the US horseracing circuit and the sports oddsmakers have made most of their picks right. Some of the pre-ordained favorites have lived up to the hype and secured one of the biggest wins of their career. The exciting conclusion of the event makes the 2024 Breeders’ Cup weekend something to look forward next year.