White Abarrio Sent Back to Joseph

White Abarrio | Sarah Andrew

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After a disappointing showing in Saturday's GI Metropolitan H. at Saratoga, the owners of White Abarrio (Race Day) have decided to send last year's GI Breeders' Cup Classic winner back to trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.

Dave Grening of the Daily Racing Form was first with the story.

White Abarrio was with Joseph until last spring when the trainer was temporarily suspended by Churchill Downs after two of his horse died around the time of the Derby. Joseph's situation in New York was also in limbo and owners Clint and Mark Cornett wanted to run him in last year's Met. With Joseph's status up in the air, they turned the horse over to Rick Dutrow. For Dutrow, he ran third in the Met before winning the GI Whitney S. and the Breeders' Cup Classic.

But he has not been the same horse this year as a 5-year-old. He was beaten 15 lengths in the G1 Saudi Cup and then was fifth, beaten 10 1/4 lengths in this year's Met in a dull effort.

“There's not too much to say other than we were very disappointed in his effort Saturday,” said Mark Cornett, who owns the horse along with his brother Clint. “For whatever reason, he didn't fire in the race. Obviously, when he was running so well in the Whitney and in the Breeders' Cup, that was not the time to make changes. Now seemed like the right time to do it, to get him back in Saffie's hands and go a different direction with him at this point.

“Saffie is thrilled to be getting him back and his whole barn is happy about the decision. They had the horse longer than Rick had him, so they are very excited to get him back.”

White Abarrio will be pointed to the $200,000 GII John Nerud S. at Aqueduct July 6 at seven furlongs.

“I want to go back to the basics,” Cornett said. “This is what we did last time when he was coming off that horrible effort in the Pegasus. We're not pointing to anything other than the one race. We're trying to get him back on track. Whatever happens after that happens. We want to get a confidence-building race in him and go from there.”

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