White Abarrio winning the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. (Lauren King)
Tyler Gaffalione Has the Mount on the G1 Florida Derby Hero
David Joseph/Gulfstream Park
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – C2 Racing Stable LLC and La Milagrosa Stable LLC’s White Abarrio breezed five furlongs in 59.24 seconds at Gulfstream Park Friday morning in preparation for a scheduled start in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Baccarat Jan. 28.
“It was a good solid work. Tyler [Gaffalione] was on him this morning. He was in good order, finished well,” Joseph said. “He had a good gallop-out. We’re pleased with where we’re at. Things have gone well so far. We need another good 15 days.”
The winner of the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) last season is among 12 top older horses in North America on the most recent invitation list for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup, which will be featured on the Jan. 28 card at Gulfstream with the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Turf (G1), a 1 1/8-mile stakes for older horses, and the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G3), a 1 1/16-mile stakes for older fillies and mares.
White Abarrio, who most recently finished a close third in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct, is joined on the Pegasus invitation list by a pair of stablemates, Daniel Alonso’s Skippylongstocking, last year’s third-place finisher in the Belmont Stakes (G1) who won the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Dec. 12, and Fernando Vine Ode and Michael and Jules Iavarone’s O’Connor, a Chilean Group 1 winner.
“Skippy and O’Connor will breeze [Saturday],” Joseph said.
While Abarrio’s Friday workout, the fastest of eight recorded at the distance, was his fourth breeze following his third-place finish in the Dec. 1 Cigar Mile, in which he finished less than a length behind victorious Mind Control.
“I think right now, coming into this race, he’s as good as ever. He’s coming off his best race number-wise. That was the fastest he ever ran, even faster than his wins,” Joseph said. “So, he’s coming off his fastest race; he’s had good spacing and runs well fresh; and he’s coming back to the track he’s 4-for-4 on. I think everything is aligning properly.’
Gaffalione has the Pegasus mount on White Abarrio. Jose Ortiz has been signed on to ride Skippylongstocking, while Hall of Famer Javier Castellano has the call on O’Connor.