Loco Abarrio Returns to Dirt for Gulfstream Park Sprint

February 22, 2024

Loco Abarrio fends off graded stakes winner Super Chow Dec. 24 at Gulfstream Park (Coglianese)

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Mad Dog Racing Stable and Joseph Parker’s Loco Abarrio, beaten as the favorite on the all-weather Tapeta last time out, looks to rebound when he returns to the main track in Saturday’s $125,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint.

Trained by Ron Spatz, Loco Abarrio kicked off his 4-year-old season Feb. 1 at Gulfstream, running last of eight in a 5 ½-furlong starter optional claimer, just the third time in 15 career starts running worse than third.

Loco Abarrio had run three times previously on the Tapeta, finishing second in all three, the most recent coming last Feb. 22 where he crossed the wire first but was disqualified for interference. Spatz claimed him for $35,000 out of that race.

“I worked him on the Tapeta and he never picked up the bit and went in 36 [seconds]. When I ran him on it he did the same thing,” Spatz said. “He never picked up the bit, I don’t know why. The day I claimed him was the [third] time on it and he won and got DQ’d, but he didn’t accept it this time.”

Loco Abarrio tuned up for the six-furlong Gulfstream Park Sprint with a bullet five-furlong breeze in 1:00.09 Feb. 14. He will break from Post 2 under jockey Edwin Gonzalez.

“I don’t work them that fast; he just took it upon himself to work that fast. That was his first work back on the dirt, so maybe he felt good about himself being back on it,” Spatz said. “I’m not crazy about his post position, but that’s up to the jock to wiggle out of that one.”

Bred in Florida by Rivermont Farm, $15,000 yearling Loco Abarrio owns five wins, six seconds and one third from 15 lifetime starts with $217,680 in purse earnings. In his only other stakes try he finished sixth in the seven-furlong Pasco last January at Tampa Bay Downs, but he beat subsequent Toboggan (G3) winner Super Chow in a Christmas Eve optional claiming allowance sprinting six furlongs at Gulfstream.

“That horse had excuses, but in a head-to-head duel to the wire he showed a lot of grit, which has never been his forte. He’s usually a flash by and go, but he showed something. He’s gotten better,” Spatz said. “He’s been honest. I just don’t know if he’s this kind of horse. There’s some really nice horses in there. This is going to be a big acid test for him.”

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