Early Voting and White Abarrio both notched 10 points Saturday on the Road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby. The Chad Brown-trained Early Voting wired Aqueduct’s Withers Stakeswhile White Abarrio was much the best in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
See what jockeys and trainers of winners and non-winners said Saturday after the two Derby preps. Quotes are courtesy of Gulfstream’s communications team and the New York Racing Association press office.
$250,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3)
Saffie Joseph Jr., trainer of winner White Abarrio:
“It was a great achievement. We were ahead of schedule all the time and then he got sick, and we missed two works. We ended up going from being ahead of schedule to being behind. Quality horses overcome those things.”
“I would say off this, the ball is in our court, why not go straight to the Florida Derby (G1, April 2)? It gives him good spacing, and … if he makes the Kentucky Derby it will be his third race (this year). That would be ideal right now, but we’ll talk it over whether to go to the Fountain of Youth (G2, March 5) or not.”
“He trains like a horse that will handle a distance, but until they do, you never know for sure. I thought the [Kentucky] Jockey Club (G2, Nov. 27 at Churchill Downs) was a great education. He showed he could get two turns and today he answered it emphatically.
Tyler Gaffalione, jockey of winner White Abarrio:
“It was an ideal trip. The horse broke sharply and put me where I wanted to be. He settled nicely on the backside and when I called on him, he gave me another gear and finished the job well.”
“I don’t think distance is going to be a problem. He was just hitting his best stride down the lane and, galloping out, I had a really difficult time pulling him up. I was calling for the outrider.”
Javier Castellano, jockey of runner-up Simplification:
“I’m not disappointed at all. I’m very satisfied the way he did it. I know we expected to be on the lead, but we learned something. He’s starting to develop himself, and the good thing it seems to me that he doesn’t have to be on the lead. He proved that he can come from behind, too. The first time going two turns, he did it and he did it really well. He finished up really good. The other horse, he got the jump and unfortunately we had the bad break.”
“He didn’t break sharp out of the gate. There was so much noise and everybody screaming ‘no’ and he backed up a little bit. When he backed up, they opened the gate. It was the wrong time when they opened the door, and he didn’t break sharp. But I don’t have anything negative with the horse. I’m very positive on the horse. I think he’s going to move forward. He was running at the end, and he was galloping out good. I think he’s a really nice horse. He put himself right behind horses and I let him feel the dirt in the face and then angled out a little bit to give him a little break and keep track of the horses. He did it really well.”
Todd Pletcher, trainer of third-place Mo Donegal:
“I thought he finished really well, it just took him a little while to get out in the clear and get going. The last 100 yards he was making up a lot of ground. He just kind of ran out real estate at the end. I was happy with the way he closed. It actually kind of hurt us that (Simplification) didn’t break well because it kind of altered the fractions of the race and there wasn’t a whole lot of pace on and that’s always a disadvantage at Gulfstream. I was pleased with the horse’s performance. He ran well and finished up good.”
Irad Ortiz Jr., jockey of third-place Mo Donegal:
“I had a little stumble out of there. It was the last thing I wanted to happen, but it happened. I went to Plan B after that. I tried to save some ground and try not to be too far, and I had to keep on him to help him to improve my position the whole time. He still finished good. He was in some position by the second turn. I didn’t want to be waiting by the three-eighths pole because I know my horse. I know he needs to go start going a little earlier, but I had nowhere to go, so I had to wait and go around them into the clear and he was flying at the end, honestly. He ran a good race.”
$250,000 Wither Stakes (G3)
Dan Stupp, assistant to winning trainer Chad Brown of Early Voting:
“He showed some speed in his first race, so we were pretty confident that he would stretch out even further to a mile and an eighth. He broke well and Jose (Ortiz) did the rest from there. I was confident in the mile and an eighth. He’s out of a Tiznow mare, so he’s bred to run all day. We were very confident in the distance.
“He’s a horse that’s going to progress with each race. Each race is going to propel him, and we’ve seen that in the morning with him. He was very impressive in his works. Especially, in his last two works leading up to this. He’s an exciting horse and I was really ready to see him run today. I think he’ll move forward nicely in his 3-year-old year.
“He broke so well and got out there so comfortably early on. It looked like he was doing it so easily. Jose wouldn’t have let him get so far ahead of himself if he wasn’t doing it so comfortably.”
On a potential start in the $750,000 Wood Memorial (G2) on April 9 at Aqueduct, a nine-furlong test offering 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points: “He has two wins at the track and a win at the distance, so it’s logical. Chad will talk to (owner) Mr. Klarman and come up with a plan.”
Jose Ortiz, winning jockey aboard Early Voting:
“The plan was to sit second behind the one-horse (Constitutionlawyer), but he broke sharply and I wasn’t taking that away from him. He finished well on a tiring track. One step at a time, but we’re going the right way.”
Trevor McCarthy, jockey aboard runner-up Un Ojo:
“(Trainer) Tony (Dutrow) wanted to see him sit back, make a run and pick up the pieces. We knew he would love the mile and an eighth. Seven-eighths last time was too short for him. I had the chance to go outside, but he finished up nicely.”
Kendrick Carmouche, jockey of third-place Gilded Age:
“The track got a little quicker as the day went along. The horse ran his race, but he got a little tired. Hopefully, he will improve off of this. I thought he ran awesome.”