Rick Dutrow, Jr. is planning to make up for lost time – and money.
Still basking in the spotlight after sending out White Abarrio to win the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), the 64-year-old trainer has his sights set on racing’s biggest prize – the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) on Feb. 24.
And why not? After serving an unprecedented 10-year suspension for numerous medication and administrative violations, Dutrow is back in business. From 2013 until early 2023, he had $0 in purse earnings.
White Abarrio is his white knight, thanks to the transfer of the 4-year-old colt from trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr., to Dutrow’s New York stable by co-owners Mark and Clint Cornett.
“I would be comfortable running him in the Saudi Cup in his next start,” Dutrow said after White Abarrio’s one-length victory over Derma Sotogake on Saturday elevated the colt into the Horse of the Year conversation.
“I would be comfortable. I’m going to be pushing for it. I think that’s where this horse belongs.”
In his third race under Dutrow’s care (third in the Met Mile, won the Whitney), White Abarrio captured the Classic at Santa Anita following a three-month break. If the Saudi Cup is next, that would amount to almost four months without a race.
“From all the horses we’ve seen run, I think that it’s going to take a big effort for a good horse to beat him in his next start,” Dutrow said. “It’s going to take a good horse to run a big race to beat them because this next race (Saudi Cup) seems like it is absolutely tailor-made for him, a mile-and-an-eighth around one turn.
“I’ve already bought all the Chapstick that I can because I’ll be licking my lips everywhere with this,’’ he added. “That’s what we can’t wait for, and I want to make sure that he is on top of his game when he goes into that race. It means everything to us.”
To do a little math on Dutrow’s take, White Abarrio earned $3.12 million in the Classic for his owners. A trainer typically receives 10%, but it could be up to 20% depending on the trainer-owner agreement. Using 10%, Dutrow would receive $312,000.
A win in the Saudi Cup would be worth $10 million to the owners, $1 million for Dutrow; and a win in the Dubai World Cup would mean $7.2 million for the owners, $720,000 for Dutrow.
Immediate plans call for White Abarrio to remain at Santa Anita before being sent to Saudi Arabia to begin training for the world’s richest race.
Dutrow, of course, is not new to being at the top. He’s now won four Breeders’ Cup races, and a second Classic (he won with Saint Liam in 2005). He also won the 2008 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) with Big Brown.
Before his suspension, he had been training for 34 years with over 1,800 wins and earnings of more than $88 million. His father, Dick Dutrow, was a trainer who had over 3,600 wins.
“I don’t think I’m back at the top, but I feel the white horse is. I’m just hanging around him,” Dutrow said. “As soon as I get stables like Todd (Pletcher) and Chad (Brown), then I’ll feel like I’m back on top. Right now, I just feel lucky to be around him. I feel like he’s on top, and I love being around good horses like that. It just makes you feel like a good horseman, and that’s what I always wanted to be.”
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.