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White Abarrio Wins Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita

White Abarrio Wins Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. celebrates riding White Abarrio to victory during the Breeders' Cup Classic (Grade 1) at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2023. (Harry How/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

11/5/2023

Updated: 11/7/2023

ARCADIA, Calif.—Favored White Abarrio took over at the head of the stretch and won the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 4 by one length over Derma Sotogake, a 25–1 shot.
Arabian Knight shot right to the front and led the field through fractions of 22.46 seconds, 45.73 seconds, and 1:10.28 while under token pressure from Saudi Crown, with White Abarrio tracking in third.
On the far turn, Saudi Crown retreated and White Abarrio moved to the leader, quickly taking the advantage and opening up on his rivals.
“I thought he was a winner the whole way around the track,” trainer Rick Dutrow told NBC. “He broke good. He was setting a couple horses in front of what he liked, come up on the outside, and when he did that, I knew we had nothing in our way. It was only a matter of someone coming to catch us.”
The victory was the fourth Breeders’ Cup victory for Mr. Dutrow and his second in the Classic, having won in 2005 with Saint Liam.
Mr. Dutrow regained his trainer’s license on Jan. 17 following a 10-year suspension after New York racing officials charged him with medication and administrative violations, which included the finding of syringes with unauthorized medication in his barn.
Mr. Dutrow began training White Abarrio on May 23 after its previous trainer, Saffie Joseph Jr., was suspended on May 4 by Kentucky racing officials following the sudden deaths of two of his horses.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. won his 19th Breeders’ Cup race and second Classic. He guided Vino Rossi to the victory in the 2019 running.
Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard White Abarrio celebrates after winning the Longines Breeders' Cup Classic race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2023. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard White Abarrio celebrates after winning the Longines Breeders' Cup Classic race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2023. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Derma Sotogake was in fourth position for most of the mile-and-a-quarter race, then rallied to finish 1 1/4 lengths over Proxy, who finished a neck in front of Arabian Knight.
White Abarrio, an 8–5 favorite, won in 2:02.87 and paid $7.20, $5.20, and $3.80. Derma Sotogake, who finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby in May in its only other start in the United States, paid $18.80 and $13.00. Proxy paid $7.80 to show.
The race—the centerpiece of the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships that began on Nov. 3—lost three potential starters last week.
Geaux Rocket Ride was euthanized on Nov. 1 after failing to recover from surgery to repair a leg injury suffered while training at Santa Anita recently.
The 3-year-old colt had three victories in its first four races this year, including the Haskell Stakes, and was beaten by a neck by Arabian Knight in the Pacific Classic.
Geaux Rocket Ride was the 14th horse to die from a racing or training injury at Santa Anita this year.
Arcangelo, the 2023 Belmont Stakes winner, dropped out on Oct. 31 because of an issue with its left hind foot. Trainer Jena Antonucci confirmed the issue with the horse’s foot, telling FanDuel TV that “he’s not fully resolving, and we’re running out of time” to successfully treat the problem before the race.
Kentucky Derby winner Mage had been expected to run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic but never made the trip to Santa Anita.
“Mage had a slight temp & didn’t eat up last night how he normally does,” co-owner Ramiro Restrepo posted on social media on Nov. 5. “Timing stinks but lucky we caught it early. Can’t run at below 100%; horse comes first.”
Following the Classic, Nobals won the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, and Elite Power won the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
The nine-race card began on the morning of Nov. 4 with the $1 million Dirt Mile, won by Cody’s Wish in a repeat of its victory at the 2022 Breeders’ Cup, finishing a nose ahead of National Treasure, the 2023 Preakness Stakes champion.
Jockey Ryan Moore rides Auguste Rodin of Ireland during the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade 1) at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2023. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Jockey Ryan Moore rides Auguste Rodin of Ireland during the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade 1) at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2023. (Harry How/Getty Images)

The other winners on Nov. 4 were Inspiral ($2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf); Goodnight Olive ($1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint); Master of the Seas ($2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile); Idiomatic ($2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff); and Auguste Rodin ($4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf).
The 2023 Breeders’ Cup began with what was billed as “Future Stars Friday,” with five races for 2-year-olds—the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint, $2 million Juvenile Fillies, $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf, $2 million Juvenile, and $1 million Juvenile Turf—in front of a crowd announced at 43,377.
The all-sources handle for the 10-race program was $61,747,341, the third consecutive year that the event’s Friday handle has topped $60 million. The on-track handle was $6,541,751.
Three horses were injured on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.
Mountain Bear, a 2-year-old colt with eight starts and two first-place finishes, injured its left front leg and was vanned off after finishing second in the $1 million Juvenile Turf race. Mountain Bear’s trainer Aidan O'Brien said the horse should recover in about four weeks.
“I think he has a non-displaced condylar fracture,” Mr. O'Brien said, according to BloodHorse.com. “That’s a little fracture down into his cannon (bone). It’s not displaced, so that’s good.”
Breeders’ Cup officials issued the following statement: “Following the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Mountain Bear’s jockey Dylan McMonagle quickly dismounted after an injury to the horse became apparent.
“Mountain Bear was immediately attended to by California Horse Racing Board, Breeders’ Cup, and 1/ST Racing veterinarians. He was taken via equine ambulance to the Southern California Equine Foundation equine hospital for further evaluation and diagnostics and was determined to have sustained a non-displaced lateral condylar fracture to his left front leg.
“He has been returned to the barn in the care of his connections. A full recovery is expected.”
Bus Buzz, a 3-year-old dark-bay gelding with eight races and three first-place finishes in its career, was ambulanced off after the 10th race at the Arcadia track on Nov. 3, which was conducted after the day’s five Breeders’ Cup races.
Start of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1) as jockey Lanfranco Dettori rides Endlessly to victory at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 3, 2023. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Start of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1) as jockey Lanfranco Dettori rides Endlessly to victory at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 3, 2023. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Bus Buzz was scheduled for surgery on Nov. 5, according to a statement from track owner 1/ST Racing.
White Moonlight, a 6-year-old bay mare with 13 career races and four first-place finishes, “bled” after finishing fifth in the third race on Nov. 3, its first in the United States, according to the official race chart. White Moonlight’s condition wasn’t immediately available on Nov. 4.
Local animal rights advocates who frequently stage demonstrations outside Santa Anita and other Southland tracks planned to be outside the facility again on Nov. 4.
And the national nonprofit organization Horseracing Wrongs announced plans to have a mobile billboard outside Santa Anita Park for eight hours on Nov. 4, with video and still images showing what the group termed “horseracing cruelty and the killing of horses for gambling and entertainment.”
“In back-to-back races yesterday, two horses were ambulanced off: Mountain Bear and Bus Buzz. ... what do you suppose the odds were of either being euthanized at the track?” said Patrick Battuello, founder and president of Horseracing Wrongs. “Yeah, pretty slim.
“And indeed, BloodHorse is reporting that both are ‘being evaluated,’ with at least one—Bus Buzz—already scheduled for surgery (you can just go ahead and click on the Geaux link to see how those things typically work out). ...
“If they can’t prevent kills on their most-celebrated days, at their most-prestigious tracks, of their most-prized horses, they can’t prevent kills. Period.”
Breeders’ Cup officials insisted in a statement that they'd taken all necessary safety precautions for the event.
“Leading up to the World Championships, the Breeders’ Cup has been working closely with Santa Anita Park, the California Horse Racing Board, and our veterinary team to ensure every Breeders’ Cup runner is fit to race,” organizers said.
View of the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf won by Jockey Lanfranco Dettori atop Inspiral of Great Britain at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2023. (Harry How/Getty Images)

View of the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf won by Jockey Lanfranco Dettori atop Inspiral of Great Britain at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2023. (Harry How/Getty Images)

“The Breeders’ Cup Veterinary Team also coordinated with regulatory and track veterinarians across the country to thoroughly review the veterinary records associated with all potential Breeders’ Cup runners starting in early October. This expanded veterinary review protocol is designed to ensure, to the extent possible, every horse that made the trip to Santa Anita Park for the World Championships was sound to race and train. ...
“Safety always comes first, which is why Breeders’ Cup and industry leaders like the [California Horse Racing Board] and 1/ST Racing have been longtime advocates for the uniform safety and integrity reforms that eventually became part of [the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority].
“We are constantly evaluating and updating our safety and screening measures so we can continue to provide the safest possible racing environment.”
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