Is Racing’s Great White Hope Really Great?

This is the story of White Abarrio and Rick Dutrow, their unlikely alliance, and the odd path that has brought them to Santa Anita and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. ~ Steve Haskin

Is Racing’s Great White Hope Really Great?

By Steve Haskin


What’s the difference between Rick Dutrow and Napoleon? One was able to return to his former glory after returning from exile and one was not. It didn’t take long following his 10-year exile for Dutrow to rebuild his once powerful army and show the world there would be no Waterloo for him.

Instead, he would take in a former Kentucky Derby contender and Florida Derby winner who seemingly was on the road to mediocrity more than a year later and quickly turned him into racing’s “White Wonder.”

His name is White Abarrio and if you look it up on the definition reads: “White Abarrio es uno de los caballos de carrera más rápidos que he visto,” which translates to ““White Abarrio is one of the fastest race horses I’ve ever seen.”

We don’t know who actually came up with that, but after the demolition we witnessed in the Whitney Stakes in August, what appeared to be a way over the top definition does not seem quite as absurd anymore.

The question many people are asking is how does a horse who surely has never shown that kind of brilliance before blow away a classy field in the Whitney? His second trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. did a great job with him early on, winning the Holy Bull Stakes and Florida Derby in only the fourth and fifth starts of his career. Edilberto Herrera, who broke and trained the colt and prepped him for the OBS 2-year-old sale had followed him closely during those early races, but admitted when he saw him in the paddock before the Whitney he was amazed how much he had bulked up from the previous year and thought, “Wow! He looks like a monster.”

That monster came out during the race when he left top-class horses Cody’s Wish, Zandon, and Charge It far behind him, coasting home by 6 1/4 lengths, earning a whopping 110 Beyer speed figure and negative-6 1/2 Thoro-Graph number. Not only was he back after plunging into virtual obscurity, so was his new trainer Rick Dutrow. But before we get into the events that brought them together let’s first find out something about White Abarrio.

White Abarrio January 2020 OBS Sale

Despite being bred by powerhouse Spendthrift Farm, White Abarrio’s success could hardly have been predicted. As a newly turned yearling in January 2020, Spendthrift consigned him to the Keeneland January mixed sale, feeling he was on the small side and not fashionably bred. But in November they scratched him from the sale after selling majority interest in him as part of a package deal made up of weanlings with lesser bred pedigrees. The buyer was Raul Reyes of Kings Equine who has been breaking the Spendthrift yearlings for years and selling horses for them. The colt, in addition to being small, was not a standout physically. So instead of selling at the Keeneland January sale, he was put in the Ocala January mixed sale two weeks later.

Although he was by a multiple graded stakes winner and his grandsires were super stallions Tapit and Into Mischief, he was sold for a meager $7,500 to Jose Ordonez, who purchased only the one yearling at the sale.

“We took him to OBS on the ‘bigger fish’ theory, which has often worked well for us,” said Spendthrift general manager Ned Toffey. “Why nobody else thought he was worth more I really can’t say. He was always a well made, tidy little colt, but being by Race Day it was unlikely he would ever be a horse we would want to stand at stud.”

White Abarrio March 2021 OBS Sale

After purchasing the colt, Ordonez turned him over to Herrera, his nephew and partner, to be broken and trained for the 2021 March OBS 2-year-old sale. “We bought him because of Tapit and Into Mischief,” Herrera said. “He walked correctly and did everything right. He had so much class. I would get on him and he would breeze a quarter of a mile in :20 4/5 and :21, and it was like riding in a new car.”

Unfortunately, two days after arriving at Ocala he had his prep breeze for the final breeze show and things did not go as planned. The prep breeze was at an eighth of a mile, a distance he was not used to, having breezed a quarter mile at home. One second he was in a jog and then suddenly he was asked to break off, with the rider hitting him with the crop. Startled and confused, the colt threw the rider and ran off, scraping the rail and suffering cuts on his chest and knees. As a result, the final breeze was not as fast as they knew he could go and they were disappointed when he sold for $40,000, which still was more than four times what they paid for him. Oh, by the way that disappointing eighth of a mile breeze was in a (slow?) :10 2/5.

The buyer, Carlos Luis Perez, took over White Abarrio’s training and debuted the colt at Gulfstream Park on September 24, 2021 under the nom de course Clap Embroidery. Sent off at odds of 12-1 in the 6 1/2-furlong race, he broke slowly from the rail before quickly moving up into fourth. Seemingly trapped behind horses, he charged up between the two leaders nearing the head of the stretch and burst clear at the eighth pole to win by 6 ½ lengths.

Watching in the stands was Mark Cornett of C2 Racing, who was so impressed with what he saw he purchased the colt privately. C2 Racing is owned by brothers Mark and Clint Cornett, and they partnered with Milagrosa Stable, owned by Antonio Pagnano and Carlos Perez, who had stayed in for a minority share. The horse was turned over to Saffie Joseph Jr, who was recommended to the Cornetts by jockey agent Matt Muzikar, a longtime friend of Mark’s.

In December of that year, Spendthrift exported Race Day to Korea. At the time he had sired only three non-graded stakes winners in the U.S. who won the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity, Gottstein Futurity, and Arlington-Washington Lassie as 2-year-olds.

In White Abarrio’s first start for Joseph and the new owners he stretched out to a mile and this time wired his field to win by four lengths. Put in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, he ran well to finish third.

He began his 3-year-old campaign by winning the Holy Bull Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths, catapulting his Beyer figure from an 80 to a 97. He then established himself as one of the Kentucky Derby favorites by defeating Todd Pletcher’s highly promising colt Charge It by 1 1/2 lengths in the Florida Derby. The $7,500 yearling whose sire was shipped off to Korea had become one of racing’s biggest bargains as he headed to Churchill Downs with four victories in five starts, including a Grade 1 and Grade 3 stakes.

But that turned out to be the high point in White Abarrio’s career. He never received the respect a horse with his accomplishments deserved, as indicated by his 15-1 odds in the Kentucky Derby. Whatever fan base he did have he likely lost after he finished 16th in the Derby, beaten 20 lengths. He was then defeated at odds of 3-2 in a weak Ohio Derby field. That was followed by a disastrous seventh-place finish in the Haskell Invitational, beaten over 34 lengths. Sent off at odds of 29-1 in the Pennsylvania Derby, he went right for the lead, but tired in the stretch to finish fifth, beaten eight lengths.

Given more than two months off, he dropped back to a one-turn mile in the Cigar Mile run over a sloppy track. He was only 7-2 in a six-horse field and bounced back to form, finishing third, beaten only a half-length. But he had every chance to win in the stretch and was unable to match strides with the first two finishers. The following month he hit rock bottom finishing eighth, beaten over 13 lengths over his home track in the Pegasus World Cup. There was no doubt now this was a shell of the horse who had begun his career with so much promise. In his six starts since the Florida Derby he was winless, finishing up the track in four of those starts.

Joseph dropped him into a seven-furlong allowance race as a confidence builder and White Abarrio, favored at 6-5, responded with a 4 1/2-length victory in a sharp 1:22 flat, earning a 103 Beyer figure, the first triple-digit Beyer of his career. He was now set for the seven-furlong Carter Handicap as a prep for the Met Mile. But then all hell broke loose. First White Abarrio came down with a fever forcing him to miss the Carter. While at Churchill Downs, where Joseph was preparing longshot Wood Memorial winner Lord Miles for the Kentucky Derby, two of his horses died suddenly and mysteriously. With Churchill Downs still reeling over several fatal injuries on the track they suspended Joseph indefinitely while investigating the deaths of his two horses and barred Lord Miles from running in the Derby.

Although C2 Racing supported Joseph and kept 12 horses with him, they felt they had no choice but to send White Abarrio to another trainer, not knowing if their nominations and entries would be accepted, and with nominations for the Met Mile about to close.

So White Abarrio was sent to Rick Dutrow, who had recently returned to training following a 10-year suspension, which may have seemed like an odd choice to many considering the circumstances. As it turned out Joseph was reinstated in June after all tests proved inconclusive.

Going into the Met Mile, Milagrosa Stable no longer was a listed owner, with only Antonio Pagnano’s name listed along with C2 Racing Stable. Sent off at 20-1 in the Met Mile in his first start for Dutrow, without whom the story of White Abarrio could not be told, it was obvious the colt still had not convinced the bettors he could handle top class company.

Who is Rick Dutrow?

There have been a number of precedents set in all aspects of the racing industry, but perhaps none quite as dramatic as Dutrow’s 10-year suspension, considering that in the past, 60 days was considered a long ban, and those were pretty rare.

His ban, it has been said, is more cumulative than based on any one or two infractions. Who knows to what extent Dutrow is guiltier than other trainers in bending and sometimes breaking the rules. But throughout his whole life, he’s been the kid who always gets caught with his hands in the cookie jar.

Whether you believe the 10 years is warranted or not, the real shame of it all is that the sport lost an outstanding trainer and horseman, who connected with his horses like few others and had a rare affection for them. He literally became giddy when he talked about them. Anyone who has ever listened to him discuss his horses will tell you there was something very childlike in his feelings toward them.

That doesn’t excuse having disregard for rules and regulations, and there was much speculation based on the performance of his horses. Opinions will vary whether he’s innocent or guilty or whether he simply was a scapegoat in a sport desperately looking to improve its image. Now he has returned when the sport’s image is worse than it was 10 years ago and in no time he’s back on the big stage with a horse who has shown a dramatic turnaround. But White Abarrio may have begun that turnaround in his allowance victory for Joseph. So speculation continues.

Most people in racing had raised eyebrows over Dutrow’s amazing run of victories, especially in major stakes, in the mid-2000s, but there was never any proof that his horses were “juiced.” That is up to each person to decide. As a writer, I can only make judgments and comment on what has already been proven as fact.

Some of the infractions involved the use of medication, but most of them just were minor misdeeds that did not apply to racing performance. To the powers that be, all these infractions added up over the years.

But this is not about Dutrow’s infractions or right and wrong or whether you find him a lovable rascal or a serial transgressor. All the infractions aside, there had to have been a sense of loss, regardless of how one perceived his actions.

On a personal level, there are always going to be people you like and people you don’t like. Many do not like Dutrow because of the poor filtering mechanism between his brain and his mouth. His thoughts, no matter how outrageous, come spewing forth with no line of defense to stop or temper them before they can cause any damage.

Such was the case with Big Brown in 2008 when he announced to the world before the Belmont Stakes that the colt had been on steroids. Even though steroids (Winstrol) were not illegal and many horses, including well-known stakes horses, were on them, it was Dutrow and only Dutrow who uttered the dirty word in public, informing everyone that Big Brown was now off Winstrol.

And then there were the comments he made before the Belmont about his main rival, the Japanese invader Casino Drive.

“I got a chance to see him coming on the track when we were going off,” Dutrow said. “Someone pointed out the horse to me and I watched him run and saw him in person. He can’t beat Big Brown. There’s no way in the world he can beat Big Brown. I’m not worried about that horse anymore. I heard the clockers didn’t understand what the hell they were trying to do with the horse. He is another horse in the race. Big Brown is going to have to school him like he has every other horse he has ever run against. It’s going to be simple.”

Yes, it was a brazen comment, although Casino Drive did suffer a bruised foot the day before the Belmont and was scratched.

But there is another Rick Dutrow that most people have never seen, and it is that person that makes it difficult to accept the fact he was not allowed to be around what he loves the most in life – horses. That was the real shame of it all.

When I think of Dutrow, it’s hard not to see the person who returned to his barn following Big Brown’s victory in the Kentucky Derby and headed straight to the colt’s stall.

“Where is he?” Dutrow asked rhetorically, as if about to greet a long lost friend. “You are the freakin’ man,” he said to Big Brown as he entered the stall. He gave the colt about a dozen affectionate smacks on the neck and then wrapped his arms tightly around his neck for about 30 seconds, as if unable or unwilling to let go. Big Brown never moved as he rested his head on Dutrow’s shoulder.

This was the Rick Dutrow who easily becomes humbled by the equine gifts that have been bestowed upon him.

When Dutrow finally did let go, he noticed something he had never seen before from Big Brown.

“He’s tired,” Dutrow said incredulously. “Look at my boy.” Then directing his attention to the horse, he said, “I finally got you. I finally got you tired. Look at my little buddy. You kicked their ass, Brown.”

It was this Rick Dutrow who stood out on the track, emotionally drained, waiting for Saint Liam to return following his victory three years earlier in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Classic. He couldn’t stop laughing, sounding like an elated child opening presents on Christmas morning. One second he was letting out screams of joy and the next he was shaking his head in disbelief and trying to hold back tears.

When Saint Liam returned, Dutrow began applauding his horse, knowing this was the last race of his career. “Oh, my God,” he kept repeating. “I can’t explain the feeling. He gives me a feeling I’ve never had before. I owe him everything. He is my boy. I see him every night before I go to bed. And I’m going to miss him so much. Words just can’t describe this horse.”

Perhaps these feelings emerged with such fervor because Dutrow realized what he had to overcome to get there. Many of the hardships he endured were brought on by his need to live life on the edge. That resulted in scrapes with the law for petty crimes in his younger days and substance abuse, all of which led him to a life of despair, with no money for food and having to live out of a tack room at Aqueduct. He was lucky to get to train one horse. He also suffered through the murder of his daughter’s mother and the death of his father, trainer Dick Dutrow Sr.

The elder Dutrow never forgave Rick for wasting his God-given talents, even to the day he died.

“My dad knew Rick was talented,” Dutrow’s brother, Tony, himself a successful trainer, said several years ago “But he never thought he would get anywhere because of his wildness. Ricky was a free spirit from the time he was 13. Everything he’s done in his life has been for the thrill and the excitement. Money doesn’t mean anything to him, believe me. He’d never steal to have more money. He’d steal to see if he could get away with it.”

In the early 2000s, Dutrow had great success, reaching new heights in 2004 when owners began sending him good horses, such as Saint Liam and Offlee Wild. But in 2005, he was slapped with a 60-day suspension, reduced from 120 days for two drug positives and a claiming violation. But the barn continued to flourish and win major races. With success came the accusations that Dutrow was using nefarious methods.

“I don’t pay attention to all the talk,” Dutrow said later that year. “I just try to get the horses there the right way. That’s all I really care about.”

That likely is where his problems began – not paying attention and not caring about anything but his horses and how they perform. He even welcomed the close scrutiny of his barn, insisting he was doing nothing wrong. “We stick to the fundamentals,” he said.

There was no “How to” manual in Dutrow’s training. He did everything by the gut and the horse sense with which he was born. Although he was a natural and he made sure his horses received the best of everything regardless of the cost, in the end he paid for his indiscretions, whether deserved or not.

Then there’s the case of Wild Desert. In the Spring of 2005, Dutrow picked up the Canadian-bred colt when trainer Ken McPeek temporarily dispersed his stable and the son of Wild Rush was being pointed to the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine. After officials grew suspicious of betting patterns by Daniel Borislow, Wild Desert’s now-deceased co-owner, Dutrow was told by New York officials he could not stable the horse on NYRA property. As he would later admit to the License Review Committee in Kentucky, Dutrow did it anyway, sending the horse to Aqueduct under an assumed identity. He sent a different horse to Monmouth, where it recorded an official work in Wild Desert’s name. Another time, Wild Desert allegedly breezed before the official clocker arrived.

Because he was suspended at the time of the Queen’s Plate, Dutrow later admitted he sent the horse to Bobby Frankel to act as program trainer for him. Wild Desert won the Queen’s Plate at 3-1 with just two recorded works in the program over 10 weeks, which raised the eyebrows of those at Woodbine. In Dutrow’s mind, all he  knew was he needed to get Wild Desert to Aqueduct to get the horse right because that’s where his help was, where his blacksmith was, and where his vet was. That’s the way his mind worked.

It is apparent that Dutrow was no angel if one looks at his “rap sheet,” but he is a gifted horseman and he served his suspension. There definitely has been a resurrection in terms of his career.

Let’s return to the Met Mile. White Abarrio ran a strong race to finish third behind Cody’s Wish, missing second by a head. Did Dutrow have anything to do with his powerful performance in the short time he had him or was the horse returning to his best form following his wake-up allowance score at Gulfstream?

Whatever the reason, the Met Mile set him up perfectly for the Whitney, where he still was an enticing 10-1. No one could have expected what was to come as White Abarrio tracked a slow pace and burst clear of the field after turning for him, drawing off to a 6 1/4-length victory. It was as if his past eight races never happened. He had now put together Beyer speed figures of 103, 106, and 110, with that stunning negative-6 Thoro-Graph number. Herrera was right; he had turned into a monster. For his final work for the Classic he turned in a dazzling five-furlong drill in :59 4/5, flying home his last quarter in about :23.

Now we just have to see how he handles the 1 1/4 miles. It’s been an odd career to say the least, especially for a $7,500 yearling. In less than a week we will find out if we are witnessing one of the most inexplicable rebirths in a number of years, not only by a horse but a trainer.

So regardless of whether you like White Abarrio or not, tune in to any Rick Dutrow interview you can find this week. So far he has kept a very low profile and has rarely been seen in front of a camera. Perhaps he has learned over the past 10 years it’s better to just go about his business and train his horses with less fanfare. We will see how that plays out when the cameras arrive. But you can bet he will have only one thing on his mind all week and that is White Abarrio. And that alone will make the horse very dangerous.

Photos courtesy of Ryan Thompson, Edilberto Herrera, John Dunn, Adam Coglianese

Stay tuned for Thursday’s Breeders’ Cup analysis and longshot picks.

Racing historian, author, and award-winning retired journalist for the Daily Racing Form and The Blood-Horse, Steve Haskin was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame’s Media Roll of Honor in 2016. Known for his racing knowledge and insightful prose, he has been an exclusive contributor to since 2020.



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116 Responses to “Is Racing’s Great White Hope Really Great?”

  1. Lynda King says:

    Saw several things today that lightened the dark cloud.

    Cody Dorman has arrived at Santa Anita. He looks wonderful.
    Cody’s Wish on the track this morning. Collected canter and flying change of leads. He looks amazing.
    Safe racing Cody.

    Photo of Echo Zulu hand grazing again. She looks well. Continued prayers for a full recovery and no setbacks. She looks really good, seems to be holding her weight, shiny coat.

    King of Steele is one absolutely stunning looking horse. Cutest photo of trainer’s young daughter sitting on his back.
    He and Auguste Rodin both go back to Secretariat on their damside.

    Rich Strike headed to Mr Mott’s stable in Florida. He looks strong and in beautiful condition. Good Luck Richie on your return to the track. Hope you do well.

    My plans for the weekend include our annual Fall Festival on the Square here on Saturday. Sunday, a movie I have been wanting to see. The theater here has been restored to its original condition, dates back to the 40″s.

    Frost on the pumpkins last night.

    Hope everyone has a nice weekend and good luck with your bets.

  2. Lynda King says:

    You now run with the Heavenly Herd Rocket.
    I am just devastated and have no words.

    • Nick says:

      So so so awful on geaux rocket ride and practical move I am so happy arcangelo is retired and safe ❤️Like most of you I’ve followed horse racing daily since secretariat this has never happened I pray all goes well this weekend and please bring Cody back safe

      • ChiefsCrown says:

        Nick, very sad news on Geaux Rocket Ride, at peace and out of pain. Safe returns on all no matter if they’re a 1/9 or a 50/1….No more injurys!!!

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      Lynda, I was thinking of you when I saw that he’d been put down. I feel the same way and have no idea how to go forward with my love for thoroughbreds. Something is really wrong with the genetics of the breed. If the problem is not found and addressed, there will be no horses like the ones that have thrilled us with their speed and gameness.

  3. Lynda King says:

    Owner posted on X: Waiting on further evaluation for best course of action. No decision ,ade yet. Thank you all for caring and please keep praying.
    (I have paraphrased)

  4. ChiefsCrown says:

    Rest easy Geaux Rocket Ride. Terrible injury to him, didn’t have a good feeling about his plight from the get go. Shocked at Practical Move’s demise. One would think they monitor cardiac info on horses. Two days till the real racing begins hoping we don’t hear about any other injuries.

  5. Lynda King says:

    Rocket is fighting for his life.
    Not going to speak about the misunderstanding.
    Only will say not looking good.

  6. Matthew W says:

    DRF retracted their story, about Geaux Rocket Ride…..they now say they misunderstood Mandella?….

  7. Matthew W says:

    Geaux Rocket Ride was put out of his misery..

    • Discopartner says:

      That’s terrible, I’m so sorry to read that. He was another appealing, likeable horse who had a strong future in racing.

    • ChiefsCrown says:

      Rest easy Geaux Rocket Ride. Terrible injury to him, didn’t have a good feeling about his plight from the get go. Shocked at Practical Move’s demise. One would think they monitor cardiac info on horses. Two days till the real racing begins hoping we don’t hear about any other injuries.

  8. Bill Dawson says:

    Saturday’s BC Turf Mile, appears to be wide open, with four female horses running against the boys. Songline, one of those females, is the morning line favorite, at 5/2. How often do you see a female favored over the boys in a G1 Turf race?
    Two races back, she won the Jasuda Kinen G1, at one mile, in 1:31.20, which is an outstanding time for that distance.
    Mawj, at 4/1, is another female contender that comes into this race with a 4 for 4 record this year, so she has to be considered as a serious contender as well. That said, I’ll go with Master of The Seas, at 7/2, as the likely winner of the BC 1 mile Turf. Just my opinion.

    • Matthew W says:

      Songline and Master of the Seas drew poorly, my all time favorite turf miler was a filly named Sunline, Goldikova and Miesque were dominant milers, fillies compete well with males on turf….

      • Bill Dawson says:

        Your points are well taken, however, if Songline and Master of the Seas are as good as their record indicates, then their post position is of little consequence, IMO. And yes indeed, fillies/mares run well against males, on turf, in Euro races, but not so much in graded races in this country. Just my opinion.

        • Matthew W says:

          I cannot tell you WHY, but …on turf–trip is everything! Not so much on dirt, where a horse can suffer a wide journey, and still win—but on turf if you go wide both turns it’s rare, to win….

          • Bill Dawson says:

            We’ll see how the race plays out on Saturday. William Buick, the rider on Master of The Seas, is one of the top turf riders in Euro races and has been for several years. I have full confidence in his ability to place his horse in a good position to be right there when the real running begins.

          • clownskill says:

            Then do I have a horse for you. Myfavoritedaughter was wide the entire trip in the 7th at SA on 10/28 and did EXTREMELY well to hold on to 4th after taking the lead at the top of the stretch. You’ll have to watch the replay. FOr a second there, I thought she would win anyway.

  9. Clownskill says:

    If Dutrow wins the Classic, I am probably done with wagering on racing. IMO, it would be huge black eye on the sport if a trainer came off a 10 year ban and won a Classic with a second-tier horse, though with all the scratches and defections, it might be a second-tier field.

  10. Matthew W says:

    Not a one Triple Crown runner made the Classic….

  11. Matthew W says:

    Maybe The Breeders Cup could have Jenna hand out the Classic trophy, and Tim and Millie hand hot the Dirt Mile Trophy, it would get a big cheer….

  12. Lynda King says:

    Ushba Tesero had a strong workout this morning. Now if they get his starting gate issues put to bed, he might have a good chance to win.

    Zandon looked really sharp in his last work.

    Tamara rather lackluster, not changing leads.

    Cody’s Wish looked great in his last work. So hope he wins for young Cody.

    Just not excited about the Classic. Arcangelo, Geaux Rocket Ride and Zandon were my picks. Down to Zandon with Frsnkie Dettori up.

    The turf races are the exciting ones, in my humble opinion.

    Will not be watching. Simply cannot watch another horse go down. As of right now, the BC is probably my last dirt race series, focus now on turf especially on International level.

    This has been a horrendous year for horse racing. Racing gods, if you are listening; enough is enough amd that is too much!

    Not meaning to be a Debbie Downer on American dirt racing, but when the joy has faded, time to let it go.

    No news on GRR since his setback. Hopefully no news is good news.

    Good luck everyone on your picks and prayers for safe trips for all.

    • Matthew W says:

      Lynda I saw Tamara’s work and you could not see her lead change it was that smooth …did she work again? The one I saw she was smooth and reaching out …

      • Lynda King says:

        Just going by clockers report Mathew W.

        • Lynda King says:

          Sorry, did not spell Matthew correctly.

        • Matthew W says:

          Her work before last was uninspiring…the other day I was impressed . .I look forward to seeing her, she’s done nothing wrong but—while she’s the same color as her mama she’s far smaller than her—I know its a good story, but mama won three Breeders Cup races, Tamara needs to win this to start the comparison game! Fingers crossed! Hang in there, Lynda your posts are little treasures!..

          • Lynda King says:

            Agree, she is more feminine than Beholder. She has a lovely head and kind eyes.
            Beholder as I recall could be a handful. So far Tamara comes across as having a softer disposition.

            Mike has a way with the fillies. Glad he is her jockey.

            Was not knocking her by any means, hope you know that.

            Hope she wins, but more importantly that she has a safe trip.

            I cannot begin to imagine how hard it is on the jockeys when something happens to their horse during the race or during a workout.

            Many of the jockeys have a great love for these horses and share a bond with them that lasts long after they retire.

  13. Eliza says:

    What a horrible week, and what a horrible toll. We are all grieved by these losses, especially Practical Move’s death and Geaux Rocket Ride’s life

    As others have mentioned, the inevitable early retirements are to be expected these days. Will Mage come back as a 4YO? We can hope.

    I am almost afraid to watch any of the BC this year. May the horse gods protect the horses and the riders.

    I guess my wish now is that White Abarrio or Zandon wins the Classic.

    Thanks, Steve, for giving us a place to share memories.

  14. Stephanie Morse says:

    Another great piece, thanks. I do have a question, what does this mean: ‘the nom de course Clap Embroidery’? Did WA not have a name yet? I didn’t think you could change a horse’s name especially if he’d placed in a race. I did google, but everything that came up was in French (and I, being a good American, only speak English -ha ha).

    I too thought that 10 years was a bit much as a punishment especially since there were many other trainers doing ‘questionable’ practices. What annoyed me about Rick was, in a Big Brown interview, he said ‘I don’t even know what Winstrol does, the vet said to give it to him so I did’. If your ‘trainer’ doesn’t know what something does, they should not be training, in my opnion. I suspect Rick knew what it was/did and just thought he could get away with the ‘ignorance excuse’. I did read some articles about him that made me feel like he was a guy who loved his horses (the sleeping in the barn, stuff about his daughter, etc).

    Don’t know how much of the BC I’ll see this year, since I’m not finding much info on where to watch and not sure if I can get whatever station is broadcasting. I need to look into Fanduel tv, I guess.

    I hope it’s a safe day for racing.

    • Jiffy says:

      I don’t have Fanduel either and I have no plans to get it. But I read that Friday’s races are on USA from 4:00 to 8:00 PM ET. If you have cable, you probably have USA. On Saturday USA covers the Breeder’s Cup from 1:30 to 3:30 PM ET and then NBC picks it up from 3:30 to 7:00 PM ET. Since two of the races are run after 7:00, I don’t know what happens then. I guess I just don’t get to see them, and I’d like to see Elite Power in the Sprint. Anyway, good luck watching what you can get.

      • Davids says:

        The Breeders’ Cup website have all the races live and the commentry is usually infinately more pleasurable to listen to. The Santa Anita website is worth checking out as well.

        • Jiffy says:

          Thank you, Davids. If the Breeder’s Cup website is showing all the races, hopefully I can see the last two there. And it will be interesting to check out the commentary. I can’t imagine a TV network buying up all the events and then not showing two of them. But I shouldn’t be surprised at anything NBC does.

          • Davids says:

            Jiffy, it wouldn’t surprise me that you ditched the NBC coverage and watched the coverage from the Breeders’ Cup. Less chatter, more coverage of the horses – bliss. Have a great time watching the races.

  15. Happyanunoit says:

    Got the chills halfway through article when I remembered Dutrow trained Kip Deville, who I liked in the BC mile in 07 and either hit the trifecta or .10 super, cant recall lol. But ironically i have a strong hunch for White Abbario Sat and they both were gray/white hores.

  16. Discopartner says:

    I’m sad, like many are, for Practical Move and his trainer and family. He was an appealing, up and coming horse, it’s disturbing they can’t find a cardiac problem in a horse before it causes death. He was squeaky clean and everybody liked him. It’s a true pity to lose such a fine horse from the racing scene.

  17. Todd Vaughn says:

    The Breeders’ Cup has become a monster where no other races matter. Once celebrated races are either preps or opportunities for mediocre horses to become grade 1 winners. Maybe trainers like Wayne Lukas, and before him Woody Stephens, had it right. Run them whenever they are ready, because they may not be ready or able on the one big day. As for Arcangelo, another predictable waste.