April 20, 2024

White Abarrio among field of eight in Ohio Derby

White Abarrio wins the Florida Derby (Photo by Lauren King/Coglianese Photos)

Ohio Derby (G3) — Race 11 (5:35 p.m. ET)

Three Kentucky Derby (G1) alumni are among a field of eight entered in Saturday’s $500,000 Ohio Derby (G3) at Thistledown, a 1 1/8-mile fixture which caps an 11-race card at the Cleveland-area track

White Abarrio will look to bounce back to his best form after running 16th by 20 lengths in the Kentucky Derby. The gray Saffie Joseph trainee endured a very wide trip at Churchill Downs, but had entered the Run for the Roses off back-to-back wins in the Holy Bull (G3) and Florida Derby (G1).

Tawny Port, the early 3-1 favorite for the Ohio Derby, was beaten less than five lengths in the Kentucky Derby in a seventh-place effort at odds of 80-1. The Brad Cox charge was a late qualifier to the Derby, having captured the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland three weeks prior to the classic.

Classic Causeway, 11th in the Kentucky Derby, debuts for new trainer Kenny McPeek on Saturday. Previously conditioned by Brian Lynch, Classic Causeway didn’t show his customary speed at Churchill after a slow start, perhaps a blessing in disguise considering the pace proved among the fastest in race history.

A colt who has been a need-the-lead type to date, Classic Causeway captured the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and Sam F. Davis (G3) against softer over the winter.

Ethereal Road was scratched from the Kentucky Derby, enabling Rich Strike to draw in from the also-eligible list and shock the racing world as an 80-1 price. Ethereal Road would have been an outsider, given his fourth-place finish behind Tawny Port in the Lexington, but the D. Wayne Lukas trainee dazzled when taking the restricted Sir Barton S. on the Preakness Day undercard at Pimlico.

A pair of New York shippers figure to play a role in the Ohio Derby. Multiple stakes winner Barese has competed mainly in state-bred events, but was a credible fifth in the Wood Memorial (G2) two back behind eventual classic winners Mo Donegal and Early Voting. Bringing less class to the race is Pineapple Man, who has finished second twice against New York-bred allowance foes. However, his presence will ensure a strong, contested pace in the Ohio Derby.

In the race preceding the Ohio Derby, graded stakes winners Army Wife, Crazy Beautiful, and Maracuja are among the entries in the $250,000 Lady Jacqueline S., a nine-furlong test for older fillies and mares.