Spectators still numb and in shock following the events of the Test (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday afternoon experienced another deflating outcome roughly 75 minutes later, when the popular Cody’s Wish finished a well-beaten third to White Abarrio as an overwhelming favorite in the $1 million Whitney (G1).
Away from the gate a bit awkwardly but unsurprisingly last in the field of six early, Cody’s Wish was called upon for a run around the far turn but came nowhere close to coming on terms with White Abarrio, who sat second behind pacesetter Giant Game before seizing control approaching the quarter pole.
Under Irad Ortiz Jr., White Abarrio proceeded to blow away his rivals down the stretch and won the Whitney by 6 1/4 lengths. Zandon finished second, 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Cody’s Wish, who only managed to edge Charge It for third by a head at odds of around 2-5. Giant Game and Last Samurai completed the order of finish.
Owned by C Two Racing Stable and Antonio Pagnano, White Abarrio covered 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:48.45 and paid $22.40 as the fourth choice.
The Whitney was the first graded win for Rick Dutrow since the resumption of his training career several months ago after serving a 10-year suspension. Best known for conditioning 2008 dual classic winner and champion Big Brown, Dutrow assumed training duties for White Abarrio prior to the colt’s third-place finish to Cody’s Wish in the Metropolitan H. (G1). White Abarrio had previously been trained by Saffie Joseph Jr.
“We were just taking a shot to see if we could take down the big horse. We thought we could handle the other ones in the race,” Dutrow said. “We still would have been very happy if he were to run big and run second behind [Cody’s Wish].”
Cody’s Wish, who entered the Whitney on a six-race winning streak but had never won around two turns before, gave jockey Junior Alvarado few positive indicators during the race.
“He jumped OK and the second jump, I don’t know, the ground broke underneath and he felt very awkward from behind,” Alvarado said. “That might have taken a little out of me, but I don’t think he ran his race today.
“When I hit the three-eighths pole, I was very worried. I had never got this feeling with him before and today I knew I was in trouble. I tried to keep him confident to keep him going, but right when he switched to the right [lead], he got flat on me.”
The Whitney, which provides the winner an fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita in November, was the first stakes triumph for White Abbario since the winter of 2022, when he registered back-to-back scores in the Holy Bull (G3) and Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park. His only victory in eight interim starts had been a seven-furlong allowance at the Florida course in early March.
White Abarrio had been inconsistent in his graded attempts between the Florida Derby and Whitney, placing in the Ohio Derby (G3), Cigar Mile (G1), and Met Mile, but finishing up the track in four others. White Abarrio has now won six of 14 starts and earned more than $1.8 million.
“We’re headed towards the Breeders’ Cup the right way and that’s a thrill,” said Dutrow, who suggested the Dirt Mile (G1) would also be an option. “We don’t want to run him again, we want to go straight to the race.”
Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, White Abarrio was a $40,000 OBS juvenile purchase. By Race Day, White Abarrio was produced by Catching Diamonds, a daughter of Into Mischief.