2022 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile – White Abarrio

At the time of this article the 2022 Florida Derby winner stands tied for third in the point standings on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.  From the outset, the bright grey, handsome grandson of Tapit has been very proficient in all five of his career starts.  Let’s take a quick recap of each and see if we can’t gleam details to help us answer the question: What chance does he have to contend for the garland of red roses that will be passed out the first Saturday in May? 

HOW HE GOT HERE

On debut he ran against a field of ten going 6.5 furlongs at Gulfstream Park.  He broke just a tad-bit slow but quickly got going into the race and stayed within two lengths of an honest pace.  At the top of the turn, he made his move, split horses to quickly take over, and ran away with the lead to win by 6 lengths. – It was an impressive victory for a first-time starter.  His second outing was at Gulfstream Park as well as he stretched out to the distance of one mile.  He used his natural speed to take the control early, setting a very comfortable pace and kicking home hard; that allowance group was no match.  He was very much in control throughout and understood when it was time to take it to the next level.  In his third career start, his only defeat, he faced Grade 3 company in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs.  After clearing the first turn and sitting a comfortable third behind the leaders, jockey Edgard Zayas found himself and White Abarrio in the perfect position, except he was boxed in along the rail behind two tiring pace setters.  Unable to find a way through, Zayas was forced to retreat and go around to about the four path; White Abarrio then improved from fifth to third.  Take-aways from this race are a couple of positives and one to ponder.  First the positives – Gate Speed and No Quit.  In a field of eleven, White Abarrio broke from post position 8 and was able to use this early speed to secure prime real-estate.  After being impeded at the top of the stretch, he showed his tenacity and reclaimed third.  In the same instance, at the top of the stretch, he also did not have the acceleration to push up into the fray; granted that was six months ago and he was only making his third start, but we have to be objective and ask the question.  Turn the calendar, its now February 2022, and its full-on derby prep season; next stop is the Grade 3 Holy Bull at a mile and a sixteenth.  With new jockey Tyler Gaffalione in the irons, our subject again gets into a great position after the break and then sets off the flank of the leader for most of the race.  Around the middle of the far turn, when asked, White Abarrio accelerates and leaves the others to pick up the minor places.  In his final prep, the G1 Curlin Florida Derby, he would face another formidable group all gunning for those all-important Kentucky Derby qualification points.  Breaking from post seven this time, White Abarrio was unable to clear and get good position going into the first turn and was forced wide. As they entered the back stretch, he sat off the speed and was allowed to settle in fifth in about the middle of the track.  When the race tempo begin to quicken so did he, White Abarrio caught the leaders as they came out of the turn and powered home.

CONNECTIONS AND PEDIGREE

White Abarrio has a great young trainer in Saffie Joseph Jr., who won the training title at the Gulfstream Park’s championship meet this year. Joseph will be making his second trip the Kentucky Derby as he saddled NY Traffic back a few years ago.  In taking gander at White Abarrio’s lineage. We find that he was sired by Race Day, who was a runner that matured later in his career.  At the age of four, he won multiple grade 2’s and a grade 3 at the mid-route distances from a mile and a sixteenth to a mile and an eighth.  Race Day was moved to stud in South Korea last year. That, coupled with only a few years of progeny being on the track, means we don’t have a huge sample size to a make solid statistical inference.  On the flip side, Race Day is a son of Tapit, and we know without a doubt that stamina was one of the traits that the three-time leading sire Tapit offspring are known to possess.  On the dam side of White Abarrio’s pedigree we find Catching Diamonds, who did not have any success on the track herself, but she is a daughter of three-time leading sire Into Mischief, who is also famous for passing on stamina.

 

OVERALL CHANCE

Without a doubt it will take a bit of racing fortune to come out on top against 19 of the best 3-year-olds in the country, but White Abarrio possesses the speed and the professional racing tactics needed to be able to do so.  Although White Abarrio’s immediate pedigree for the distance is unproven at this point, that is not a negative, it is simply an unknown.  I like his chances to win.  It goes without saying that value is the name of the game and it will be based on his odds as to how much he should be leveraged for the win.  I believe that he is a horse that you CANNOT leave off your tickets when playing exotics such as the Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta. 

Let’s Make it Happen!!!

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