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White Abarrio ‘in a zone’ ahead of Saudi Cup tilt

[Saudi Cup Official Release] Rick Dutrow has described his stable star White Abarrio to be in a similar zone to the one he was in when he won the Breeders’ Cup Classic as he prepares to line up in the $20 million The Saudi Cup this Saturday, the feature race of the two-day The Saudi Cup meeting.

The striking grey five-year-old was an impressive winner of the Grade 1 at Santa Anita in November and now bids to land the world’s most valuable race, the G1 Saudi Cup (1800m).

Reflecting on his Breeders’ Cup success for a feature video ahead of the world’s most valuable race, Dutrow said: “I knew he was the winner when they turned for home.

“I didn’t have a lot of words for him, I was talking to Irad [Ortiz Jr], but I just gave him a hug – he deserved it.”

Following the Breeders’ Cup, HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled Bin Abdulaziz bought into White Abarrio, meaning he will run in Saturday’s showpiece in the colours of his Red Stable.

US-based Dutrow is clearly looking forward to the challenge ahead in Saudi, as he said: “All the work has been done with him and he’s in a zone that I wish every horse that ever lived was in that kind of zone.

“When he ran in the Breeders’ Cup he went back in his stall the whole day, he went into a zone. This horse is so much like a human being, he’s so aware of everything having to do with him. He didn’t want to come out for his candies, he was serious about what he was doing! It’s exciting, if he does that in Saudi, I’m going to be licking my lips the whole way to the paddock with him!”

White Abarrio’s regular exercise rider, Emily Ellingwood, echoed Dutrow’s comments:

“There’s not really too much pressure, me and Rick, we communicate on a daily basis. Pretty much we let him [White Abarrio] tell us what he wants to do and we go based off of how he’s doing.

“After the Breeders’ Cup, we did a lot of jogging, gave him time off, let him recover. He ran a huge race and we’re very proud of him, so he’s definitely ready for the next step. He feels 110 percent, he pretty much feels the same as he did when he went into the Breeders’ Cup,” she said.

For Dutrow the only thing that stands between his stable star and glory in The Saudi Cup is whether his horse can adapt following the long trip over from the US.

Dutrow said: “He just breezed this morning, man he looked good. What looks better is seeing Emily’s face after the breeze, that is striking man. You can just tell that there’s no way that he could be doing any better, just by seeing her face.

“The only thing he needs to nail is to get over the trip the right way. If he does that he’s going to be a tough customer to beat because this mile and an eighth around one turn, it seems as though they called him up and said, ‘Hey, what do you want to do here?’, and he would say to them, “Make it a mile and an eighth around one turn.’

For the Dutrow team the excitement of a tilt at the world’s most valuable race is now palpable.

“I’m shaking right now, I mean this is exciting stuff man – a $20 million race, my mum’s going crazy! I mean my dad used to run for $10,000… we were so happy, now a $20 million race, she just can’t believe it.”


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