Early Voting, White Abarrio score in Derby preps

Early Voting
Early Voting won the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. Photo by Chelsea Durand/NYRA.

Two horses recorded their first wins on the Triple Crown trail Saturday, both receiving 10 Kentucky Derby points in the Grade 3 events.

At Aqueduct, Early Voting, fresh off a maiden score, rolled to a 4 ½-length score in the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers as the 6-5 favorite. Meanwhile, White Abarrio also scored, taking the Grade 3, $250,000 Holy Bull by the same margin while off at 6-1.

The top of the Derby points leaderboard remains unchanged, with Pappacap and Epicenter sharing top honors. Both the Mark Casse-trained Pappacap and the Steve Asmussen-trained Epicenter have 14 points thus far.

Early Voting, trained by Chad Brown for Klaravich Stables, was ridden to victory by Jose Ortiz and is now two-for-two in his brief career. The Gun Runner colt was a $200,000 yearling.

In the Withers, Early Voting was away sharply to take a clear early lead. He never looked back from there. The final time for the nine furlongs was 1:55.90 over the muddy and harrowed main track.

“The plan was to sit second behind the one-horse [Constitutionlawyer], but he broke sharply and I wasn’t taking that away from him,” said Ortiz. “He finished well on a tiring track. One step at a time, but we’re going the right way.”

With both of Early Voting’s victories occurring at the Big A, Dan Stupp, Brown’s assistant, said a trip to the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial on April 9 at Aqueduct may be on the table for the dark bay.

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“He has two wins at the track and a win at the distance, so it’s logical. Chad will talk to Mr. Klarman and come up with a plan,” Stupp said.

In the Holy Bull, White Abarrio, a Race Day colt trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr. for C2 Racing LLC and La Milagrosa Stable LLC, pressed the early pace of longshot Galt before drawing away to the easy win.

Running time for the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track was 1:42.80.

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White Abarrio now has three wins from four starts. His lone defeat – also his lone start away from Gulfstream – came when third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last November.

It was White Abarrio’s first win around two turns and came despite having missed two workouts because of illness.

“It was a big performance. We were ahead of schedule all the time and then he got sick and we missed two works,” Joseph said. “We ended up being ahead of schedule to behind. Quality horses overcome those things.”

Giant Game, who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November, faded to finish eighth in the Holy Bull.


1Pappacap (FL) / T: Mark Casse / O: Buttonwood Farm Inc.14
2Epicenter (KY) / T: Steve Asmussen / O: Westwind Farms14
3White Abarrio (KY) / T: Saffie Joseph Jr. / O: C2 Racing Stable LLC and La Milagrosa Stable, LLC12
4Mo Donegal (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Donegal Racing12
5Smile Happy (KY) / T: Kenny McPeek / O: Lucky Seven Stable10
6Slow Down Andy (CA) / T: Doug O’Neill / O: Reddam Racing LLC10
7Rattle N Roll (KY) / T: Kenny McPeek / O: Lucky Seven Stable10
8Make It Big (FL) / T: Saffie Joseph Jr. / O: Red Oak Stable10
9Major General (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: WinStar Farm LLC and CHC Inc10
10Jack Christopher (KY) / T: Chad Brown / O: Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister, Coolmore Stud & Peter Brant10
11Early Voting (KY) / T: Chad Brown / O: Klaravich Stables Inc.10
12Dash Attack (KY) / T: Kenny McPeek / O: Catalyst Stable, Magdalena Racing, Kevin Pollard & Patty Slevin10
13Courvoisier (KY) / T: Kelly Breen / O: Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings & James Spry10
14Call Me Midnight (KY) / T: Keith Desormeaux / O: Peter Cantrell10
15Barber Road (KY) / T: John Ortiz / O: WSS Racing LLC8
16Commandperformance (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Repole Stable & St. Elias Stable6
17Classic Causeway (KY) / T: Brian Lynch / O: Kentucky West Racing LLC & Clarke Cooper6
Numerous runners tied with 4 points