White Abarrio, who is in fact gray, also now is the proud possessor of 12 "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points thanks to a nice victory in Saturday's $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The Race Day colt, with Tyler Gaffalione aboard, pressed the early pace, seized the advantage turning for home and won convincingly by 4 1/2 lengths. Simplification and the favorite, Mo Donegal, were unable to make up any ground through the stretch and finished second and third as White Abarrio got 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.80.
Although White Abarrio was dismissed at 6-1 odds in the Holy Bull, he now is 3-for-4 with a third in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs last fall.
The two points for that, plus the 10 for Saturday's win vaulted him into a tie for the third spot on the Churchill Downs leaderboard. Mo Donegal already had 10 points for winning the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct in December and Saturday's addition of two has him tied with White Abarrio.
"It was a big performance," said winning trainer Saffie Davis Jr., now charged with plotting a course to the first Saturday in May in Louisville. "He trains like a horse that will handle a distance, but until they do, you never know for sure.
"I would say off this, the ball is in our court. Why not go straight to the Florida Derby?" Joseph said. "It gives him good spacing, and it will be his third start [of the year] going in the [Kentucky] Derby. ... That would be ideal right now but we'll talk it over whether to go to the Fountain of Youth or not."
Photo credit Ryan Thompson