There’s something about being at his home base of Gulfstream Park that seemingly brings out the best in White Abarrio, who improved his local mark to 3-for-3 with an authoritative victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Holy Bull S. (G3).
Victorious in his first two starts over the surface by a combined margin of 10 3/4 lengths, White Abarrio endured his first and only setback to date when six lengths third to Smile Happy in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs in November. Back on his home turf for the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull, White Abarrio comfortably resumed his winning ways.
A pressing second behind pacesetter Galt down the backside, White Abarrio challenged that leader on the far turn, poked his neck in front approaching the quarter pole, and then drew off to a convincing 4 1/2-length score under Tyler Gaffalione.
“He won as good as you can win,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said.
Owned by C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable, White Abarrio covered the distance in 1:42.80 over a fast track and paid $14.
Simplification, who many expected to set the pace, tossed his head at the break and was forced to rally from behind. He just lasted for second by a head over Remsen (G2) winner and 8-5 favorite Mo Donegal, who uncorked his rally belatedly. Galt, a half-brother to dual champion filly Songbird, weakened to fourth in his stakes debut. The order of finish was rounded out by Cajun’s Magic, Spin Wheel, Tiz the Bomb, Giant Game, and Eloquist.
A Road to the Kentucky Derby series prep, the Holy Bull awarded qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the respective top four finishers. White Abarrio has now earned 12 points, Simplification 10 points, Mo Donegal 12 points, and Galt one point.
The Holy Bull paycheck boosted White Abarrio’s career earnings to $240,850. Joseph noted that the gray son of Race Day had to overcome some offtrack obstacles ahead of Saturday’s assignment.
“He got sick a few weeks ago. We missed two works, we thought we could miss one. We were a little hesitant about how fit he was, but quality horses overcome it,” Joseph said.
Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, White Abarrio most recently sold for $40,000 at the OBS March sale of juveniles. He was produced by Catching Diamonds, a daughter of Into Mischief.
Swale S. (G3)
My Prankster made it 2-for-2 at the Gulfstream Championship meet with a rallying win in the $100,000 Swale S. (G3) for three-year-olds over seven furlongs.
Although breaking a tad on the slow side, the even-money choice benefited from a fast pace set by In Dreams. Reaching contention in upper stretch, My Prankster grabbed the lead approaching the furlong pole and staved off an inside bid from Dean Delivers to win by a half-length under Luis Saez.
“We were concerned about the 1 [post]. It cost him a little position early and you could see when he was getting dirt in his face, he wasn’t liking it. He was climbing the first eighth of a mile,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Luis was able to get him out in the clear. The key part of the race, in the middle of the turn, he put in a big run to catch up.”
Owned by Robert and Lawana Low, My Prankster paid $4 after covering the course in 1:23.13. Dean Delivers finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Of a Revolution.
This was the third win in five starts for My Prankster. A 10-length debut winner at Saratoga, he finished a distant fourth in the Champagne (G1) second out. A close second in the Bowman’s Mill S. at Keeneland in late October, My Prankster concluded his juvenile campaign with a half-length allowance win at Gulfstream on Dec. 10.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet and sold for $600,000 as a Fasig-Tipton yearling, My Prankster is a son of Into Mischief and the Grade 2-winning My Wandy’s Girl, by Flower Alley.