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Belmont Stakes Horses?

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Last updated May 19 at 11:12 am ET


 
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BOURBON WAR
EVERFAST
GAME WINNER
INTREPID HEART
MASTER FENCER
OWENDALE
PLUS QUE PARFAIT
SIR WINSTON
TACITUS
TAX
WAR OF WILL


BOURBON WAR (KY)
Trainer: Mark Hennig
Owner: Bourbon Lane Stable & Lake Star Stable
Breeder: Conquest Stables, LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Tapit (Pulpit, Tap Your Heels)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): My Conquestadory (Artie Schiller, Golden Artemis)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 6-12-12-2-0 (32) 3.00
Foal Date: Feb. 23, 2016

$410,000 Keeneland November 2016
$525,000 RNA Keeneland September 2017


JOCKEY: Irad Ortiz, Jr.  ARRIVAL AT PIMLICO: May 15

Bourbon War debuted with an impressive 2 1/4-length win on Nov. 14 at Aqueduct in a one-mile race moved off the turf on a track rated fast. Bourbon War, who was stabled at Belmont Park, stumbled at the start and stayed off the pace before a strong finish earned him a trip to the winner's circle.

Trainer Hennig said later, “There was a good chance for it to come off the turf, but he had a lot of turf pedigree. It was that time of year when you enter those kind of races because you’re running out of chances to get started on the grass if you want to. We weren’t alarmed that it came off."

Nov. 28 NOTE: Trainer Hennig said, "He's doing well. We discussed it Tuesday morning and came to the conclusion that we'd fit with this group (in the Remsen Stakes). The timing is a little less than ideal, but he seems like he's been sharp and bright since his race, so we figured we'd take a chance. He's a horse who all along I thought would need to run and need more ground. I never anticipated that he's the horse who would run the race of his life in his first start. I think there's plenty of upside. The timing is a question mark, but he's acting like he's up to it. I think he'll be up to the challenge. I would think that he would relish more ground. I don't think distance is an issue. I don't anticipate him being on the lead. He seems like a horse who wants to settle a little bit."

In Aqueduct's Dec. 1 Remsen Stakes at 1 1/8 mile, 7-5 second choice Maximus Mischief won by 2 1/4 lengths under Frankie Pennington with Network Effect taking second with a late effort. After breaking sharply, Maximus Mischief dueled outside Gladiator King through a quarter-mile in 25.12, then gained an edge over that one while fending off Tax from his outside, posting a half-mile mark of 50.67. Tax was still there coming out of the final turn afterf six furlongs in 1:14.60, but Maximus Mischief responded to Pennington's left-handed encouragement and opened up his lead before hitting the furlong marker in 1:38.48 and the wire in a final time of 1:51.34. Network Effect was second by a half-length over Tax. The fourth-place finisher, another 6 1/4 lengths back, was Bourbon War, who was last but only four lengths off the pace after the first half-mile. More than 10 lengths further in arrears were Jungle Warrior, Gladiator King and Chinomado, in that order.

Jan. 17 NOTE: Trainer Hennig said, “He’s done very well since he got here. We ran him back in the Remsen. It wasn’t ideal probably, but he handled it well and he came out of it well. He’s shipped well to South Florida. I think the race was a learning experience for him for a less-than-ideal trip. I didn’t necessarily expect him to be a first-out winner. He had spotty works – kind of a typical Tapit. The interesting thing about him is that since he ran his first start, he’s been all business as a work horse, which he wasn’t before.”

In a 1 1/16-mile, entry-level allowance on Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park, 3-2 favorite Bourbon War and Irad Ortiz, Jr. registered a dominant 2 1/4-length victory over 2-1 second choice Cutting Humor, ridden by John Velazquez. Both those two came from off the pace to overtake pacesetter and 6-1 third choice Award Winner, who did a lot of early heavy lifting under Jose Ortiz with fractions of 23.93, 47.45 and 1:11.97 while taking heavy pressure from Everfast and Whitecap Bay. The race was timed in 1:43.54. Leaving the far turn, Bourbon War found a seam between Award Winner and a hard-charging Cutting Humor and split those horses before drawing off to win by 2 1/4 lengths. It was another four lengths back to Award Winner, and 6 1/2 more to Everfast. Archidust, Borracho, Art G Is Back, Whitecap Bay and He's a Macho Man rounded out the order of finish.

Mark Hennig: “I was glad he kind of got through that little hole. I was like, ‘Is there a hole here turning for home, or not? Don’t get stopped.’ It worked out good. I think you’d have to (point to the Fountain of Youth). We’re going to see how it stacks up, but we’ll nominate him up to all these 3-year-old races. I think he’s ready to take the step back into graded stakes company. He got some schooling in the Remsen, and I think Irad made a point of schooling him a little bit (today). I asked him if he did anything wrong today, and he said, ‘Not a thing,’ so that’s good.”

Jan. 24 NOTE: Trainer Hennig said to DRF on Jan. 21, “All and all I thought it was a good workmanlike and professional effort. He also got a lot of valuable schooling out of the race as well. Now all you can ask for is that he continues to keep moving forward. (The Fountain of Youth) is here, it’s around two turns, the timing is good, and he seems to like this track, so right now it’s the most obvious of all the choices we’ve got."

Feb. 27 NOTE: Trainer Hennig said, “He has a competitive nature. But also he has a good mind. Since he ran that first time, it’s like he’s just waiting for the rider to tell him what to do next. I think Irad rode him that way. If you go back, he gave him a little extra education in the Remsen, which benefited us in the last race. We’d like to see another move forward and pick up some points in the process. That would be the goal."

In the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 2, Code of Honor and John Velazquez bided their time in fifth place early on, some eight lengths off the pace, but blew by pacesetter Hidden Scroll at the top of the stretch and took it on home to win in 1:43.85, prevailing by 3/4 length. Hidden Scroll, ridden by Joel Rosario, led through fast fractions of 22.80, 45.69 and 1:10.42, and it turned out to be too much for him, although he did hang on to finish fourth. Bourbon War, who was seventh, 10 lengths off the pace after the first half-mile, finished second with a monster late run while guided outside by Irad Oritz, Jr. Vekoma, with Manny Franco up, finished third by 2 3/4 lengths after being in fourth position early, challenging Hidden Scroll leaving the far turn and then narrowly outrunning that one to the wire. Hidden Scroll, fourth, was beaten three lengths. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to fifth finisher Global Campaign.

Mark Hennig, trainer of Bourbon War: “He ran very well. Irad said, ‘I don’t like that first wire.’ He said he kind of had to wait a little at the quarter pole for some room, but he said he didn’t want to ask him and have to check. So he said he waited and waited and he was just humming down the stretch. He’s going to appreciate more ground, that’s for sure.”

March 3 NOTE: Trainer Hennig told DRF Live that Bourbon War "looks great, came out it unscathed, cold and tight. He ate pretty much everything, left a little bit, but it was a hot, humid day. The way he cooled out, the Florida Derby makes sense." Hennig left room for the Wood Memorial a week later if Bourbon War needs more time.

March 22 NOTE: Trainer Hennig said,  "He's made great progress. I think that first race really woke him up a lot. He's a horse that was never really enthusiastic as a training horse prior to running. Once he ran, the light came on for him. It's been quite a wake up for him. He's a typical Tapit that was bored of all the training and was ready for some race experience. He's very relaxed. He's not in any rush. The effort (in the Fountain of Youth) didn't surprise me. The only thing that surprised me was that last sixteenth when he was really finishing very quickly. We're trying to earn points. He needs a good effort in the Florida Derby to warrant going forward. He's been happy here and trained well. The timing is good, and we get five weeks to the Derby, provided he moves on."

March 22 NOTE: Trainer Hennig said, “He did well. He came home in 49.88, I think they caught him in. I was looking for a little quicker than that, but the track was not real sharp this morning. I told my rider I’d rather you err on the side of too slow than too fast. The horse is fit. We just want to get him safely over there next Saturday.”

March 27 NOTE: Trainer Hennig said, “The gallop-out – some people put emphasis on that, and some people don’t – I thought his gallop-out (in the Fountain of Youth) was much stronger than the rest of the field. It really gave us some confidence. I know Irad has a lot of confidence. His daily gallops, he’s putting a lot into them, which is great to see. He’s matured a lot. He’s eating tremendously right now. He’s a horse that’s needed to fill out and grown up as the spring comes on, and he’s doing that. Hopefully, that keeps going as we transition to the next town and he does as well as he’s done here.”

In the Florida Derby on March 30, the other 10 horses in the field left the early speed alone, which was in the form of Maximum Security, ridden by Luis Saez. He set moderate early fractions of 24.42, 48.98 and 1:12.90, led at every call, and won the 1 1/8-mile contest in race horse time of 1:48.86. Bodexpress, a four race maiden ridden by Nik Juarez, finished second by 3 1/2 lengths at 70-1 odds. He tracked the leader throughout the carousel. Neither of those two had run two turns before. Meanwhile, Code of Honor and Bourbon War, both experienced at routing, rounded out the superfecta. Confirmed closers, they were compromised by the soft early fractions. Code of Honor settled for third under John Velazquez, beaten 6 3/4 lengths, and Bourbon War was fourth under Irad Ortiz, Jr., another three-quarters of a length back.

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Hennig said, “He’s doing great. I don’t think there’s any doubt (the pace) had a large impact on us at least not being third, for sure. I’m not saying we were going to win the race or anything, but I’d like to think with a little pace we could have been a little closer. And a little better trip, too, having to go around the whole way. If you look at his trip versus Code of Honor’s, I think that made a big difference. We’d love to be able to get into the Kentucky Derby on points. If we have the points, we’d be confident going forward because he’s a horse you’d like to think leaving here would be good for him to get off a track where it’s hard to close. Right now we don’t know what that status is. It doesn’t look great, but we’re just going to stand pat and watch how the races run next weekend in the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass and Wood and see where the points stand after that. I think it’ll help indicate to us a little more about where we are.”

April 12 NOTE: Trainer Hennig said, "He is doing wonderful. We're just going to kind of sit back this week and watch what happens in the Arkansas Derby and the Lexington and just see how much further we've dropped in the standings. We'll figure it out after that."

April 28 NOTE: Belmont Park public relations department says the Peter Pan is the likely next start for Bourbon War, but the Preakness hasn't been ruled out. Trainer Hennig said, We'll see how the Peter Pan and the Preakness come up. I'll talk it over and discuss it with all of our clients."

In the 144th Preakness, Bourbon War finished eighth, beaten 9 1/2 lengths by War of Will, after running eighth or 10th the first three calls.

Mark Hennig: “He looked like he was in the bridle early and I was really happy. When he went outside into the clear, he dropped the bridle and then picked it up again.”

Irad Ortiz Jr.: “No excuses. Had blinkers first time, and I tried to get him going but he's still learning."

WORKOUTS SINCE JANUARY 1

Jan. 3, Bourbon War 1.00:86 Breezing 2/8 at GP
Jan. 10, Bourbon War 49:54 Breezing 4/13 at GP
Feb. 1, Bourbon War 48:44 Breezing 14/49 at GP
Feb. 8, Bourbon War 48:03 Breezing 5/42 at GP
Feb. 15, Bourbon War 1.02:38 Breezing 12/22 at GP
Feb. 22, Bourbon War 48:68 Breezing 15/43 at GP
March 15, Bourbon War 50:50 Breezing 29/33 at GP
March 22, Bourbon War 49:88 Breezing 19/30 at GP
April 17, Bourbon War 47:75 Breezing 2/22 at GP
April 25, Bourbon War 48:33 Breezing 9/53 at BEL
May 2, Bourbon War 49:31 Breezing 16/38 at BEL
May 9, Bourbon War 1.01:67 Breezing 3/16 at BEL

 

 

 

 

EVERFAST (KY)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Owner: Calumet Farm
Breeder: Extern Developments
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy, Take Charge Lady)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Awesome Surprise (Awesome Again (CAN), Native Roots (IRE))
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-13-12-0-0 (28) 3.67
Foal Date: Feb. 20, 2016

$47,000 Keeneland January 2017

 
JOCKEY: Joel Rosario   ARRIVAL AT PIMLICO: May 16

Everfast won his debut at Ellis Park last summer, then lost five consecutive races, hitting the board only once. He finished 14th in the Kentucky Jockey Club in November.

In his last outing before the Holy Bull Stakes, he finished fourth in an allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 18, beaten 12 1/2 lengths by Bourbon War.

In the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 2, two horses that weren't supposed to perform made up the exacta. Harvey Wallbanger and Everfast were sent off at 29-1 and 128-1 odds, respectively. Somehow the $2 exacta only paid $2,203.40. Epic Dreamer, sent off at 12-1, set the pace all alone under Irad Ortiz, Jr. with fractions of 23.18, 46.76 and 1:10.89 while 4-5 favorite Maximus Mischief and Jose Ortiz tracked a couple of lengths back in second. The latter one edged closer in the far turn and got to even terms with about a furlong left in the race. Meanwhile, Harvey Wallbanger and Brian Hernandez, Jr. broke slowly and were in last place, about 10 lengths off the pace the first half-mile. They just kept coming to win by a length in 1:43.69 after cutting the corner into the stretch. Everfast, ridden by Chris Landeros, didn't have any obviojus trouble but was was fifth by five lengths at the first call, third by two lengths at the second call, fourth by four lengths at the third call, still fourth and three lengths back with a furlong remaining, and then snuck in to get second, a neck in front of Maximus Mischief. Epic Dreamer held on for fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths.
 
Feb. 23 NOTE: Trainer Romans said, “He’s just a little push-button horse. He goes out there and takes care of business. He doesn’t wow you, but he just does things right.”
 
Feb. 27 NOTE: Trainer Romans said, “He surprised me. He surprised me that he lost. That was the only surprise that I saw. I was disappointed coming out of it. I thought he would win. He just seems good. He acts like he’s better than the races beforehand, and I thought he’d run a big race, and he did.”
 

In the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 2, Everfast finished eighth, beaten 18 1/2 lengths by Code of Honor. He was 10th midway through the race and lost ground after that.

In the Florida Derby on March 30, Everfast finished ninth, beaten 15 lengths by Maximum Security, after starting out in seventh and then steadily losing ground.

In the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on May 4, Everfast finished fifth, beaten 10 1/4 lengths by Mr. Money and a time of 1:35.21.

May 15 NOTE: Trainer Romans said, “It’s a wide-open field, take a shot. He jumped up and ran big in the Holy Bull. When he runs big, he runs big. We’re hoping he throws in one of those big races. Some of the top contenders are missing, so we’ll take a chance. He’s training like he did before the Holy Bull. We’re going to try to wheel him back off the sprint and see if we can get a piece of it. You’ve got a future Hall of Fame rider, so we might as well take a shot.”

In the 144th Preakness, War of Will won, Everfast was second, Owendale finished third and Warrior's Charge was fourth. Warrior's Charge set a brisk pace of 22.50, 46.16 and 1:10.56. For the first half-mile, Market King was in closest pursuit, followed by Anothertwistafate and War of Will. At the third call, Market King was starting a major retreat, Anothertwistafate had moved into second, and local hero Alwaysmining loomed on the outside in third. Warrior's Charge and Javier Castellano continued to lead through the far turn and came into the stretch well off the rail. War of Will came up the rail to take charge and led by a length with a furlong remaining. Meanwhile, Anothertwistafate and Alwaysmining had retreated. War of Will prevailed by 1 1/4 length. Longshot Everfast, sent off as the second longest shot in the 13-horse field at 29-1 odds, came up the inside behind War of Will after entering the second turn in 11th place, almost 10 lengths in arrears, to nab second with Joel Rosario aboard. Owendale and Florent Geroux finished a nose back in third after hitting that turn in ninth, almost seven lengths off the pace. Warrior's Charge hung on for fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths.

Dale Romans: “Second in any classic is great. I thought the whole race he looked comfortable. When he wanted him to start picking up horses, he did. You could see he had the momentum. I thought we were going to win for a minute.”

Joel Rosario: “We almost had it. He ran great. We have a great shot at the Belmont.

WORKOUTS SINCE JANUARY 1

Jan. 6, Everfast 1:02.77 Breezing 20/28 at GP
Jan. 13, Everfast 1:03.53 Breezing 24/34 at GP
Feb. 23, Everfast 1.02:52 Breezing 30/44 at GP
March 23, Everfast 1.01:96 Breezing 20/40 at GP
April 27, Everfast 1.03:20 Breezing 36/43 at CD

 

 



INTREPID HEART (KY)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Robert and Lawana Low
Breeder: WinStar Farm LLC & Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Tapit (Pulpit, Tap Your Heels)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Flaming Heart (Touch Gold, Hot Lear)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-9-14-1-0 (28) 2.50
Foal Date: May 10, 2016

$750,000 OBS April 2018
From his dam also came Commissioner and Laugh Track


NEXT RACE:

Intrepid Heart debuted on Feb. 18 after being shipped in from south Florida to Oaklawn Park and was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in a one-mile maiden special weight. That worked out, and he won impressively. After sparring for the lead with Better Charge It through splits of 23.11, 47.28 and 1:12.63, with the other seven runners strung out three and more lengths back, he shook off his only early foe and drew off in the stretch to win by 7 3/4 lengths under a confident John Velazquez in 1:38.08. Speed App was second after being 10 lengths off the pace early.

Feb. 21 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher is non-commital about Intrepid Heart's next race and said early this week, “I think it’s a wait and see. I’m not sure that we’ll jump into a stake just yet, but at the same time we won’t rule anything out. Very, very pleased (with his win). It’s not something we usually do, shipping an unstarted maiden somewhere, but just felt like he was getting ready to go and the Gulfstream options were going to be six furlongs, which I felt like were a little too short. It’s either that or you wait a couple of weeks until a mile and a sixteenth. With the one-mile race there, we felt like he was ready to go. Since we had some other horses ship in, decided to go forward with that. (He) put himself in a good position early on. He’s a horse that’s very well bred. Lot of stamina on the bottom side, so we felt like a mile was a good starting point for him and hopefully that propels him on to some bigger and better things down the road.”

In a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claimer at Keeneland on April 5, Intrepid Heart got by High Crime in the shadow of the wire to win by one-half length in a nice time of 1:43.39. Frolic More finished another 2 1/2 lengths back in third. High Crime and Luis Saez led through fractions of 24.14, 48.28 and 1:12.40, and at the stretch call were up by 2 1/2 lengths. John Velazquez, after being fanned five wide in the turn, kept after the rallying Intrepid Heart to get up in time. Frolic More ran evenly in fourth or fifth and stayed on to get the show money under Corey Lanerie.

In the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 11, Global Campaign was first, Sir Winston second and Intrepid Heart third. After sitting close off fractions of 23.19 and 46.00 set by Federal Case, Global Campaign and Luis Saez took charge, leading just after six furlongs in 1:10.16. There was no competition for the win from that point forward with Global Campaign opening up by three lengths at the furlong marker. The 1 1/8-mile race was timed in a swift 1:46.71. Sir Winston, who has no early speed, trailed the field by 10 or 11 lengths for the first four to six furlongs, then launched a bid under Joel Rosario to finish a non-threatening second, beaten 1 1/4 length. Post-time favorite Intrepid Heart broke in a tangle and was bumped by stable mate Federal Case. After the first half-mile, he was in fourth position and being asked by John Velazquez. He never contended and finished third, another 4 3/4 lengths back. Final Jeopardy and Federal Case rounded out the order of finish.

WORKOUTS SINCE JANUARY 1

Jan. 7, Intrepid Heart 49.74     Breezing 1/5 at PBD
Jan. 13, Intrepid Heart 1:03.16 Breezing 5/6 at PBD
Jan. 21, Intrepid Heart 1:01.70 Breezing 1/2 at PBD
Jan. 28, Intrepid Heart 1:00.80 Breezing 2/8 at PBD
Feb. 3, Intrepid Heart 50.22 Breezing gate 33/37 at PBD
Feb. 10, Intrepid Heart 1:00.87 Breezing 1/3 at PBD
March 17, Intrepid Heart 49:51 Breezing 8/15 at PBD
March 23, Intrepid Heart 1.02:35 Breezing 7/14 at PBD
March 29, Intrepid Heart 1.01:35 Breezing 3/6 at PBD
April 18, Intrepid Heart 49:78 Breezing 15/36 at BEL
April 25, Intrepid Heart 1.02:90 Breezing training track 9/13 at BEL
May 3, Intrepid Heart 1.02:69 Breezing 5/11 at BEL

 

 

 

GAME WINNER (KY)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owner: Gary L. and Mary E. West
Breeder: Summer Wind Equine
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Candy Ride (ARG), Ride the Rails, Candy Girl (ARG))
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Indyan Giving (A.P. Indy, Fleet Indian)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-6-10-1-0 (20) 2.33
Foal Date: March 6, 2016

$110,000 Keeneland September 2016


KENTUCKY DERBY: April 27 arrival at Churchill Downs. Barn 33. JOCKEY: Joel Rosario.

Game Winner began an undefeated juvenile season with an Aug. 18 maiden special weight win at 9-5 odds at Del Mar. With Joel Rosario up, he beat eight others and had a 5 3/4-length margin of victory timed in  1:11.21. The chart says he " dueled four wide, took the lead on the turn, inched clear leaving the turn, continued off the rail in the stretch and won clear under left handed urging."

On Sept. 3, Game Winner won the Del Mar Futurity with Mario Gutierrez aboard, and they sat five lengths off the pace for a half-mile before coming home in 1:23.18 for seven furlongs. This time he prevailed by 1 1/2 length at 8-5 odds. Rowayton was second, and Roadster, trained by Baffert at 3-5 odds, finished third. Six ran.

On Sept. 29, Game Winner was sent off at 3-10 and was the easy winner of the newly-named American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita, defeating four others. Gunmetal Gray was clearly second best. His time was 1:43.77, about a half-second better than the winning counterpart filly that day. Game Winner flanked Rowayton through fractions of 23.43, 47.50 and 1:11.85, then went on to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Gunmetal Gray was never more than 1 1/2 length back in third and got by Rowayton in late stretch. Rowayton was a length back of him in third at the finish.

Bob Baffert: “I can’t take credit for this horse. The Wests and their team found this horse and trusted me with him. Clients put their trust in me. I just want to get there with a nice healthy horse. This horse tipped us off this summer that he was going to be a good one. He is strong and he still looks a little heavy. It’s exciting to have this horse. These horses sort themselves out. Circumstances dictate who gets there. I had one bullet here and I just want to keep him healthy; I don’t plan to do too much with him before the Breeders Cup. The good ones get there. I was very happy to win the first American Pharoah. Pretty cool and nice of Santa Anita to name a race after him. We had the same groom on this horse as American Pharoah (Eduardo Luna).”

Joel Rosario: “He broke well out of there. I just chirped at him a little bit, put him on the outside, and he responded to that really well. I wasn’t trying to be too far back, and that worked out. He’s a very good horse. He kinda just waits for other horses, he’s a one-run horse. He stays galloping and kinda waited for some company. He’s an easy horse to ride, I was just a passenger today.”

Gary West:  “He came out of the Del Mar Futurity really well. He’d been training well and we thought he’d like two turns. His family all liked a mile and a quarter, but you never know until they do it. I didn’t think he deserved to be that big of a favorite (1-5), but he ran great. We’re looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup for sure…I’ve been in the horse business about 40 years. All days are not like this one.”

In the 1 1/6 mile Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Nov. 5, favored Game Winner overcame adversity to surge past longshot Knicks Go in deep stretch and score a 2 1/4-length victory. Signalman finished third after having to break from the outside, and Mr. Money ran fourth. Game Winner was timed in in 1:43.67 over a fast main track. Second-choice Complexity assumed the early lead and maintained a daylight advantage in the run down the backstretch with 40-1 shot Knicks Go in closest pursuit and Game Winner racing outside in mid-pack. Turning for home, Complexity stopped running hard and Knicks Go took command, but Rosario had Game Winner in high gear on the outside. There was a brief bump between the two at midstretch before Game Winner drew off. Knicks Go held the place by a length over the closing Signalman, with Mr. Money finishing another 6 1/4 lengths back in fourth.

Bob Baffert: "Talk about a rough trip! I was glad Joel was patient with him. I felt a lot of pressure coming here because I have really thought a lot about this colt. I know he is a really good horse. He showed it today; he was much the best. I am so happy for Gary and Mary West. I felt more pressure because I told Gary 'I don't think they can beat us.' Breeders' Cup, you have to step it up. It's championship racing. You have to show up. You have to have a good horse, and you have to be lucky, and we were -- the horse, in the paddock when I saddled him, he couldn't have looked any better. There's some other horses in there. It looked like a good field. There's some nice horses in there. I thought he was a good horse, but he's a lot better than I thought he was. For him to do what he did that last quarter mile and for him to give that horse a head start like that, being that wide, that's a serious horse. I'm glad I wasn't watching the race with Gary, because we both would have been saying, 'We're done, we're done.' But any other horse, he would have been done, but that's how good a horse he is."

Joel Rosario: “He broke fine, but it looked like they took my spot and I had to go wide. He seemed like he didn’t mind that. He was comfortable. That’s why we got him moving at that point, instead of getting inside and taking back. Turning for home, the more I rode him the more he gave it to me.”

Dec. 28 NOTE: He is in light training at Santa Anita.

Jan. 9 NOTE: Trainer Baffert told DRF.com, “Game Winner has gotten bigger and stronger. He’s a pretty serious horse. He’s tough. He doesn’t need the lead, and he’s got the speed to put him anywhere. He’s not one-dimensional.”

Jan. 13 NOTE: Trainer Baffert says Game Winner's next race will be the March 9 San Felipe "if all goes well."

Jan. 21 NOTE: Trainer Baffert told DRF.com after Game Winner's solo workout, "He’ll get ready pretty quick."

Jan. 29 NOTE: It's probably nothing, but we are looking for a workout.

Jan. 30 NOTE: Game Winner worked today at Santa Anita, five furlongs in 1:03.40.

Jan. 31 NOTE: Trainer Baffert said this about Game Winner's Wednesday workout to DRF.com, “He went easy. He went off a little slow. He’s pretty ready. He didn’t lose much condition. We’ve got plenty of time."

Feb. 3 NOTE: Game Winner resides in stall 33 of trainer Baffert's barn at Santa Anita, the same one formerly occupied by American Pharoah.

March 6 NOTE: Game Winner will detour to the Rebel Stakes, per a tweet this afternoon by Joel Rosario's agent, Ron Anderson. Anderson later tweeted that, per trainer Baffert, the Rebel is Game Winner's first option.

March 7 NOTE: Will be shipped to Los Alamitos and will work there over the weekend.

March 10 NOTE: Game Winner again said to be definite for the Rebel Stakes. The plane leaves Southern California on Wednesday. Improbable is also definite.

March 10 NOTE: Trainer Baffert said of Game Winner and Improbable, “We’re coming. They worked well. Everything’s good. There’s no changing between now and then. We knew the Rebel was always there, but at first we were thinking not to ship. We could come back. We hate to ship twice. It changes things a little bit, but right now we’re going through a little crisis here in Southern California. We never dreamed the day would come they would close down Santa Anita, but we’re getting through it. The main thing is that the 3-year-olds, they worked well. They’re coming up there. I think it’s very nice of them to want to split that race. That’s the key thing.”

In the second division of the Rebel Stakes on March 16, Omaha Beach turned back a late-charging Game Winner to win by a nose with the rest of the field far back. Omaha Beach was two lengths behind pacesetter Market King after the first quarter-mile. He took command thereafter with the first half-mile gone in a pressured 47.29 and six furlongs in 1:11.82 leading by a length. Omaha Beach extended his lead to two lengths with a furlong remaining in the race. Game Winner was sixth, five lengths off the pace after the first quarter-mile, but he steadily advanced while four wide in the far turn. He closed ground on Omaha Beach in the final furlong, bumping him in the process, but Omaha Beach would not be denied. Market King stayed with Omaha Beach for six furlongs and steadily lost ground thereafter to finish third, beaten 8 1/4 lengths. Gunmetal Gray was far back in 10th place through the first six furlongs, but he never gave up and passed tiring horses to take fourth place, beaten 9 1/4 lengths. The winning time was 1:42.42.

Trainer Bob Baffert (Game Winner):  “I would have liked to have won, but I’m very happy with both horses. They both ran well off the layoff. Thank goodness for the Cella family (owners of Oaklawn Park). We got to run both horses today. It was great racing.”

In the Santa Anita Derby on April 6, Roadster upset Game Winner, with Instagrand third and Nolo Contesto fourth. Instagrand led the field of six from the start of the race with Flavien Prat up, his initial splits timed in 23.34, 47.84 and 1:12.20. He was under pressure from Nolo Contesto, just a half-length back or less until the far turn, when that one started falling back. At about the same time, Game Winner, who had tracked the leaders into the turn, initiated his move under Joel Rosario going three wide. A stubborn Instagrand still led entering the stretch and was a half-length in front of Game Winner with an eighth of a mile left in the race, but then Game Winner took over. They were both about to be caught by Roadster. Fifth in the early going, but never more than five lengths back, he and Mike Smith began their serious running at the top of the lane and rolled by the two leaders by to secure a half-length victory. Game Winner was better than Instagrand by another 1 3/4 length. Nolo Contesto was fourth by 7 1/2 lengths in all. They were followed by Synthesis and More Ice. The final time for the mile and an eighth was 1:51.28 on a track playing slowly and deep for safety.

Bob Baffert: “They’re two good horses. Game Winner was out there by himself and when he gets by himself, he needs company. It was a good, hard race for both of them, and coming in, that’s what you want to see. This track is deep and slow, but it’s safe, and that’s what we wanted. I couldn’t be happier. We knew that Roadster needed to win or run second. It was a great finish. They were both finishing well, they were fighting; Game Winner is a fighter. It was a great stretch run. At the eighth pole, I knew I was going to win, I just didn’t know which one, but it was exciting. They’ll both like a mile and a quarter. I think Game Winner’s next race will be better. I’ve been bringing him along really easy. left strategy up to my riders. Rosario and Mike know what it is to be at that high level. They did not have any instructions at all. They were on their own and they know their horses. They rode great races. We’re there, we’ve just got to keep them happy and healthy, enjoy the ride, the moment. It’s hard to get to this moment. What I love the best is there’s not a better feeling than there was today.

“The fans, despite what they’ve reading, they showed up, they’re here to watch good racing, they bring their family, they’ll always remember the Santa Anita Derby. It was so comforting to see all these fans here and get behind us. They know at the end of the day we love our horses. We wake up worrying about them, we go to sleep worrying about them. To me, that’s what made this a great day.

Joel Rosario: “I moved a little bit soon because they weren’t putting much pressure on Instagrand, but they weren’t going too fast up front, so I was comfortable with my position. He got a little bit tired the last part, that’s why Roadster got by me.”

April 17 NOTE: Amy Zimmerman of NBC Sports tweeted today that Joel Rosario will remain with Game Winner in the Kentucky Derby. She quotes trainer Baffert saying, "He's the only one of my horses who still has his same jockey!"

April 20 NOTE: After Roadster and Game Winner worked today, trainer Baffert said, “I’m really happy with them. There’s always a lot of anxiety this time of year getting ready for the Derby, but so far, so good.”

In the 145th Kentucky Derby, Game Winner struggled for the last three furlongs and finished sixth, moved up to fifth via the disqualification of the winner, beaten 3 3/4 lengths.

Bob Baffert: “I told them that was the horse to beat (Maximum Security). I told him be thankful you didn’t lose him for $16,000 or else you’d be throwing up all over you horse right now. The field never got separated they were all right there. It was like a kids’ soccer game, they were all right there. I knew the first quarter of a mile I knew I was toast. I told my riders to stay clean, they don’t listen to me.“

Joel Rosario: “I thought he was going to be sharper at the gate. He broke OK but he stayed there for a little bit. I tried to push him a little early. I thought I was going to be OK because they were going fast at the beginning but he struggled the last three furlongs. He also had a little trouble with the track.”

The chart call: "Game Winner was well in arrears widest into the backstretch, bumped solidly with BY MY STANDARDS near the half-mile pole, continued extremely widearound the far turn and into the stretch, exchanged brushes with TACITUS late and did not have enough."


WORKOUTS SINCE JANUARY 1

Jan. 9, Game Winner 35:20 Handily 1/6 at SA
Jan. 20, Game Winner 48:60 Handily 14/86 at SA
Jan. 30, Game Winner 1.03:40 Handily 35/42 at SA
Feb. 8, Game Winner 1.00:20 Handily 6/92 at SA
Feb. 13, Game Winner 1.01:60 Handily 26/50 at SA
Feb. 19, Game Winner 1.25:00 Handily 1/1 at SA
Feb. 25, Game Winner 1.13:60 Handily gate 3/9 at SA
March 4, Game Winner 1.00:60 Handily 6/44 at SA
March 10, Game Winner 59:80 Handily 12/25 at LA
March 26, Game Winner 48:80 Handily 7/23 at SA
April 1, Game Winner 1.13:40 Handily 1/11 at SA
April 20, Game Winner 1.00:80 Handily 2/47 at SA
April 26, Game Winner 1.27:00 Handily 1/1 at SA

 

 

 

MASTER FENCER (JPN)
Trainer: Koichi Tsunoda
Owner: Katsumi and Yasuyo Yoshizawa
Breeder: Mishima Bokujo
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Just A Way (JPN) (Heart's Cry (JPN), Sibyl (JPN))
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Sexy Zamurai (Deputy Minister (CAN), Powder)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-4-6-1-0 (14) 2.50
Foal Date: Feb. 21, 2016

Not sold at auction.


KENTUCKY DERBY: Quarantine Chicago. April 29 arrival at Churchill Downs. Barn 16. JOCKEY: Julien Leparoux.

Master Fencer's first two races were at  about 1 1/4 mile on turf. He finished second at Hanshin on Sept. 23 and fourth at Chukyo on Dec. 2.

He was switched to dirt and won twice going about 1 1/8 mile, a Dec. 23 maiden race at Hanshin by 3 1/2 lengths, and again in a Jan. 14 allowance at Kyoto.

He registered a fourth-place effort in the Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse on Feb. 17.

Most recently, he finished a wide closing second to an even wider Der Flug in the Fukuryu at Nakayama Racecourse on March 31.

He was declared in the Kentucky Derby on April 6. He would become the first horse bred in Japan to run in the Kentucky Derby.

April 6 NOTE: Owner Katsumi Yoshizawa said, “It is an honor to be able to participate in one of the world’s greatest races. In Japan, kids in grade school have a yearly athletic competition that the whole family and close friends all get very excited about. They hope when their children perform they do well but, of course, parents most of all want their children to come back safely. That is how I feel about Master Fencer. I hope he comes back from the race safely most of all. I feel lucky to be able to race my horse in Kentucky.”

Yoshizawa’s training operation has been responsible for six-time Grade I winner Gold Ship, 2014 Longines World Best Racehorse and three-time Grade I-winning Just a Way, and prominent Japanese sire Tanino Gimlet. Yoshizawa has been a prominent buyer at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale for more than a decade including purchasing Master Fencer’s dam, Sexy Zamurai, for $110,000 in 2005.

Two horses based in Japan have run in the Kentucky Derby: Ski Captain (14th in 1995) and Lani (ninth in 2016).

April 13 NOTE: Master Fencer is scheduled to travel to the U.S. on April 23, according to Kate Hunter,  the Japan-based representative for Churchill Downs. He would spend 42-48 hours in quarantine in Chicago prior to vanning to Keeneland on April 25 and continuing to Churchill Downs on April 30.

April 15 NOTE: Julien Leparoux will ride Master Fencer in the Kentucky Derby.

April 26 NOTE: Master Fencer's at Keeneland for the time being, in light training. Shipping agent/manager Mitsuoki Numamoto said, “(Exercise rider Yosuke Kono) wants him to get used to the American circumstances – horses, track and so forth." Kate Hunter, a Japan-based recruiter for Churchill Downs, said, "He’s surprisingly laid back, given the fact he’s never traveled abroad before."

In the 145th Kentucky Derby, Master Fencer was last of all up to the point he left the far turn but finished seventh, moved up to sixth via the disqualification of the winner, beaten four lengths.

Koichi Tsunoda: “He didn’t break that well, but we knew he’d break slowly. He made a huge effort in the stretch. I’m really pleased with how we finished so close to the other quality horses in the race. Great effort by horse and rider. If he comes out of this well, I want to take him to the Belmont next.”

Julien Leparoux: “I very much appreciate the connections of this horse for allowing me the opportunity to ride in the Derby.”

The chart call: "Master Fencer veered out to get away behind his field, was  crowded from heavy  outside pressure at the start, went along striding a bit  awkwardly far back early inside, moved  out up the backstretch, began taking better hold of the track in the two-path into the stretch, moved back inside and finished willingly."

WORKOUTS

May 1, Master Fencer 1:05.20 Breezing 15/15 at CD

 

 

 

 



OWENDALE (KY)
Trainer: Brad H. Cox
Owner: Rupp Racing
Breeder: Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Into Mischief (Harlan's Holiday, Leslie's Lady)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Aspen Light (Bernardini, Zenith)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 1-3-4-0-0 (8) 3.00
Foal Date: Feb. 23, 2016

$200,000 Keeneland September 2017

JOCKEY:  Florent Geroux  ARRIVAL AT PIMLICO: May 15

Owendale was victorious in his third start, which came at at mile at Indiana Grand on Sept. 22. He was favored at 6-5 in a field of eight and prevailed over Kentucky Allstar by 1 3/4 length after getting the distance in 1:40.03. Owendale, away slowly, was last at the first call.

At Churchill Downs on Oct. 28, Owendale ran in a 1 1/16 mile allowance optional claimer while facing winnners for the first time. He finished fourth behind Roiland, :Limonite and Everfast, beaten 3 3/4 lengths.

In a first level allowance going a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds on Dec. 22, Tackett won in 1:44.11, and Owendale was second by a neck. It was an eventful outing, but in simple terms Tackett and Owendale both stalked the pace and were set down at the top of the stretch. Those two battled to the wire with Tackett prevailing by a gritty head. Wicked Indeed, facing winners for the first time, was 5 1/2 lengths back of Owendale in third. The chart says "Tackett hit the inside of the gate at the start, saved ground on the first turn, was well placed in third position, moved out midway down the backstretch, made a bid while asked in the three path on the far turn, came four to five wide into the stretch, dueled on the outside of the runner-up under strong urging in the drive and narrowly prevailed. Owendale went three wide on the first turn, tracked the pace on the outside, made a bid in the two path on the far turn, spun three wide into the stretch, dueled on the inside of the winner under strong urging in the drive and just missed while well clear for the place."

In a one mile 70 yard allowance optional claiming race at Fair Grounds on Jan. 17, Gun It was favored at 6-5, but he faltered badly and it was Owendale, the 3-1 third choice ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, that prevailed. Frolic More, piloted by Corey Lanerie was second by 1 1/2 length, and Gun It was third, beaten 4 1/4 lengths. Cornacchia, second favorite at 3-2, was another five lengths back in fourth. Six ran. Felipe briefly held the lead, then was replaced by Gun It, but it wasn't long before the winner supplanted that one. Pace fractions were honest: 23.84, 47.05 and 1:12.53, and the final time was 1:42.54. The chart says Owendale "went  around  the  first  turn  in  the  two  path, was well placed just  off the pace, chased in the three path on the far turn, made a bid at the five-sixteenths, took the lead in the five path into the stretch, edged clear under a drive around the three-sixteenths and held under steady urging."

Feb. 14 NOTE: Trainer Cox said, “It was a very hyped field last time out (Frolic More second, Gun It third), and we’ll see how good they are. He really ran two fantastic races here. He’s training well.  He’s a little different because we had Golden Mischief and some others that have been decent. We’ve had other Into Mischiefs that have been similar. He’s kind of a big, plain brown horse. Sometime they can have some flash and chrome to them, but he’s just a strong and plain horse. To look at him, you could think that he’s a mile and a sixteenth, mile and an eighth type of horse.”

In the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 16, Owendale finished eighth, beaten 10 lengths by War of Will. He was eighth early, fell back, and then recovered to be eighth again under Shaun Bridgmohan. The chart says of his trip, "Owendale was hustled early, went four wide on the first turn, was urged along while off the pace, raced four wide on the far turn, came six wide into the stretch and failed to threaten."

In the Stonestreet Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 13, Owendale won, Anothertwistafate was second, Sueno third and Knicks Go fourth. Hawaiian Noises, ridden by John Velazquez, and Knicks Go, ridden by Albin Jiminez dueled for the early lead through fractions of 24.33 and 48.33. Those two were still leading into the far turn, with Anothertwistafate and Javier Castellano in closest pursuit while boxed in. In the turn after six furlongs in 1:12.88, Hawaiian Noises abruptly fell back, and leaving the turn Anothertwistafate put away Knicks Go after getting through traffic. Suddenly, Owendale and Florent Geroux come wide from well off the pace and shot to the lead. Owendale quickly separated himself from the field and won by 1 3/4 length in a time of 1:44.14. Anothertwistafate was alone in second, followed 1 1/4 length back by the late-running Sueno and another five lengths to Knicks Go.

Assistant trainer Ricky Giannini: “I wish I could tell you (what happened in the Risen Star). Last race, we felt like he ate too much dirt, and he kind of backed out down the backside and then had too much to do. Today, he ate the same amount of dirt. I think he’s just maturing and turning into a good horse.  He’s always trained like it, and today he put it all together and got the job done.”

Florent Geroux: Did you lose ground? "A little, but gained momentum. The horse was running really quick, and it was time to go. I just tipped him out, tapped him twice. (The plan) changed a lot when the gates opened. He didn’t break so well, (Knicks Go) went out and (Zenden) looked at me. Things change a lot – sometimes you need to go to Plan B very quick. He ran a very good race.”

In the 144th Preakness, War of Will won, Everfast was second, Owendale finished third and Warrior's Charge was fourth. Warrior's Charge set a brisk pace of 22.50, 46.16 and 1:10.56. For the first half-mile, Market King was in closest pursuit, followed by Anothertwistafate and War of Will. At the third call, Market King was starting a major retreat, Anothertwistafate had moved into second, and local hero Alwaysmining loomed on the outside in third. Warrior's Charge and Javier Castellano continued to lead through the far turn and came into the stretch well off the rail. War of Will came up the rail to take charge and led by a length with a furlong remaining. Meanwhile, Anothertwistafate and Alwaysmining had retreated. War of Will prevailed by 1 1/4 length. Longshot Everfast, sent off as the second longest shot in the 13-horse field at 29-1 odds, came up the inside behind War of Will after entering the second turn in 11th place, almost 10 lengths in arrears, to nab second with Joel Rosario aboard. Owendale and Florent Geroux finished a nose back in third after hitting that turn in ninth, almost seven lengths off the pace. Warrior's Charge hung on for fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths.

Brad Cox: “(Owendale) ran great. I need to watch a replay, but it looks like he maybe got stuck in behind some horses. He’s a big horse, probably needs to be more out in the open, clear running where he can keep his motor rolling. He took a little while to get going but ran a great race and I was very proud of both of them.”

Florent Geroux: “I tried to save ground most of the time. I wish I could’ve saved a little more ground. It probably cost us a length or two at the end.”

WORKOUTS SINCE JANUARY 1

Jan. 3, Owendale 47.80 Breezing Sloppy 3/50 at FG
Jan. 10, Owendale 47.80 Breezing 3/50 at FG
Feb. 2, Owendale 48:80 Breezing 35/169 at FG
Feb. 9, Owendale 1.01:00 Breezing 9/61 at FG
March 3, Owendale 49:00 Breezing 31/143 at FG
March 17, Owendale 49:00 Breezing 38/121 at FG
March 23, Owendale 59:60 Breezing 1/21 at FG
March 29, Owendale 48:40 Breezing 8/27 at CD
April 6, Owendale 59:80 Breezing 1/31 at CD
April 27, Owendale 50:20 Breezing 67/78 at CD
May 4, Owendale 1.02:80 Breezing 20/25 at CD
May 11, Owendale 59:20 Breezing 1/31 at CD

 

 

 

 

PLUS QUE PARFAIT (KY)
Trainer: Brendan Walsh
Owner: Imperial Racing, LLC (Michael Foley)
Breeder: Calloway Stables, LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Point of Entry (Dynaformer, Matlacha Pass)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Belvedera (Awesome Again (CAN), Forever Land)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 2-9-15-0-0 (26) 2.47
Foal Date: March 23, 2016

$24,000 RNA Keeneland November 2016
$135,000 Keeneland September 2017
Listed as a ridgling at Equibase. Described as a gelding in a Jan. 11 FG release


KENTUCKY DERBY: April 13 arrival at Churchill Downs. Barn 9. JOCKEY: Ricardo Santana, Jr.

On Oct. 7, Plus Que Parfait won for the first time while racing for the third time, and he did it going 1 1/16 mile at Keeneland in a time of 1:44.78 under Ricardo Santana, Jr. He was always prominent, second by a length the first half-mile behind Absolute Control's opening fractions of 23.66 and 47.29. After six furlongs, those two were pretty much on even terms in 1:12.61. The other one retreated and Plus Que Parfait kept going, only to be caught by Harvey Wallbanger, but Plus Que Parfait remained resolute with that rival and won by a nose. The chart call: "Plus Que Parfait "tracked the pace early, angled off the rail into the lane, was under a long drive down the lane and gamely won the nod at the wire."

On Nov. 24 on a sloppy-sealed track at Churchill Downs, 7-2 second choice Signalman, ridden by Brian Hernandez, Jr., won the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes after grabbing the lead with three-sixteenths of a mile to run.  Fourteen ran. He held off a late charge from 14-1 shot Plus Que Parfait to win by a neck, timed in 1:45.29. Signalman broke from the rail, rated in sixth down the backstretch as longshot Topper T led the field through a quarter mile in 23.12 and a fast half-mile in :46.83. As the leaders neared the final turn, Signalman showed a quick burst of speed and moved into third along the inside. Topper T, also on the rail, passed the six-furlong marker in 1:12.33 but was tiring. King for a Day briefly poked his head in front at the top of the stretch and Plus Que Parfait and Limonite were hitting their best strides after racing near the back of the pack. But it was Signalman who zipped past Topper T while between horses as Plus Que Parfait was engaging in his late challenge. Limonite, sent off at 20-1, narrowly edged King for a Day for third -- they were another 1 3/4 lengths back of the winner. Roiland, Tracksmith, Current, Topper T, Dunph, Royal Urn, 3-1 favorite Knicks Go, Mick’s Star, Blue Steel and Everfast completed the order of finish.

Brendan Walsh: “He ran a great race. I’m very excited and pleased with his effort today. We’ll have a lot of fun with him down the road. He’s just getting going.”

Julien Leparoux: “He ran great. I think he’s just going to keep getting better with each start.”

Jan. 11 NOTE: Trainer Walsh said of Stall 26 across from his office,  “It’s a high pressure stall. Any year I’ve been down here, I always had nice horses in that stall. It’s nice to be able to look up from my desk at him. I definitely would want a good horse of mine to be in there. (Having two-turn experience) always been an advantage. It looks like he’s good enough. He seems to like this track. He’s worked well on it, and I believe that the long stretch will suit him. Just like any of them this time of year, he still has a lot of questions to answer, but I think he’s a pretty nice horse. There’s plenty of stamina in his pedigree.He’s doing well and it looks like he’s very healthy. I saw a photo of him the other day from last September, and psychically he looks twice the horse now that he was then. (Julien Lepareoux) rode him in the Kentucky Jockey Club and said he was keen to stay on him."

Jan. 16 NOTE: Trainer Walsh told DRF.com, “He’s done really well since the Jockey Club. We got a little held up with the rain here, but it’s early and it’s a long year. He’s a pretty active horse. He gets plenty out of his training. He’s an easy horse like that, as straightforward as they come. He doesn’t carry a ton of weight the way he’s made. He won’t have any distance limitations."

In the mile and 70 yard LeComte Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 19, Plus Que Parfait had some excuse for finishing off the board. He finished fifth, beaten 6 1/2 lengths by War of Will and a time of 1:43.44. The chart calls says he "stumbled at the start then bumped with a foe, went four wide on the first turn, was reserved on the outside, came under urging in the four path on the far turn, shifted six wide into the stretch and...lacked the needed response."

Jan. 29 NOTE: Nominated to the UAE Derby.

Feb. 10 NOTE: Trainer Walsh said on Feb. 9, “He ran a good race last time. I think had he not stumbled, it would have had an extra length or two and he would have been more prominent. It was a lot of small things that went against him. He didn’t run a bad race. Between his maiden win and the Kentucky Jockey Club, he’s run some solid races. Hopefully we won’t have as many excuses this time. You hate to be making a bunch of excuses, but hopefully this time we’ll get a better trip and see how good he is. He worked great.  He’s not one that would blow your socks off when watching him work, but I thought he worked great and came back and was pretty much exactly what we wanted. It seems like the horse is doing well.”

In the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 16, Plus Que Parfait finished 13th of 14. He was seven lengths off the pace early in the race and finished 20 1/4 lengths behind winner War of Will. He "came five wide into the stretch and failed to respond."

March 27 NOTE: Tommy Molloy, the assistant trainer to Brendan Walsh, said: “He’s feeling great and doing absolutely wonderful since he arrived from South Florida. He’s full of energy, so we’re over the moon.”

March 28 NOTE: Jose Ortiz said,  “He felt really good today. I think he fits really good in this spot and has a good chance."

On March 30, the UAE Derby at Meydan produced a United States-based exacta with Plus Que Parfait prevailing over Gray Magician by three-quarters of a length. Those two were never far from the pace set by longshot filly Swift Rose, who was most closely pursued by Stubbins around the far turn. As the field turned for home, Swift Rose was about to surrender the lead. Manguzi, who tracked the early pace after breaking from post 14 under Fernando Jara, came wide and took command about 3/16-mile out. Plus Que Parfait and Jose Ortiz got by on the inside around the furlong marker. Nearing the wire, Gray Magician surged and got up for second. Manguzi was third, beaten a length. Derma Louvre was another 5 1/4 lengths back in fourth. The winning time was 1:58.41 for 1 3/16 mile.

Brendan Walsh: “This is huge. Jose gave him such a great ride, and what a night for him with two winners. This has been the plan for quite awhile and his owners are based out here. We said if things didn’t work out to get to the Kentucky Derby, then we would come here. He had a bad day the last time he ran, but we didn’t hold it against him and it has worked out. Brilliant.”

Jose Ortiz: “I have a nice horse. He was running well and around the turn I was trying to find spaces. I was happy that I saved the whole ground in the race. And when I was able to find a way through, he responded really well, so I am very happy and very happy for Brendan. He deserves it. Brendan, he works so hard, and he gave me so many shots, and we haven’t been lucky and now I was able to deliver for him. To win means a lot. It’s tough to come all the way and win and I have been blessed to have two winners, so I am very happy.”

April 12 NOTE: Trainer Walsh said of Kentucky Derby plans, “He got in to Churchill last night. He had a little jog this morning to gradually get him back in training.  He is going to have to really come back in good shape. He has the right mentality for the Derby; nothing really bothers him. We saw that with the way he handled everything in Dubai. That was a good experience for him to learn from. (Spending time in Dubai before being shipped home )gives horses a chance to recuperate, put some weight back on and rehydrate. The next week to 10 days will be very important. If he is not, we will rethink his plans.”  An easy half-mile breeze is set for April 19 or 20 if Plus Que Parfait is showing good energy, Walsh added.

April 15 NOTE: Ricardo Santana, Jr. will ride in the Kentucky Derby. Jose Ortiz rode him in the UAE Derby.

April 20 NOTE: Trainer Walsh said, “He bounced out of the much better than expected. He’s been doing really well since he’s gotten to Churchill Downs. We are just so proud of his effort in the UAE Derby to jump up and win like that. I think it just showed all along that he didn’t really care for the surface at Fair Grounds over the winter.”

In the 145th Kentucky Derby, Plus Que Parfait was 12th early, advanced to fifth at the top of the stretch, but finished ninth, moved up to eighth via the disqualification of the winner, beaten 5 1/4 lengths.

Brendan Walsh; “I’m thrilled with him. I thought he ran his heart out. I couldn’t ask for anything more. He ran his race. He had as good a trip as you’re probably going to get. He’s not beaten very far at all and went all the way to Dubai and came back and ran his race. For a second I thought it could maybe happen and he gave me a thrill. He showed he could run with these horses. He was no 54-1 shot.”

Ricardo Santana Jr.: “I thought my horse ran a solid effort. He may not have liked the surface.”

The chart call: "Plus Que Parfait was unhurried early two wide, continued in that path  improving position after the first mile, but could not sustain the bid."


WORKOUTS SINCE JANUARY 1

Jan. 5, Plus Que Parfait  1.01:00 Breezing 9/71 at FG
Jan. 12, Plus Que Parfait 1.01:80 Breezing 27/77 at FG
Feb. 2, Plus Que Parfait 49:80 Breezing 93/169 at FG
Feb. 9, Plus Que Parfait 1.01:40 Breezing 16/61 at FG
March 3, Plus Que Parfait 50.25 Breezing 30/40 at PMM
March 9, Plus Que Parfait 1:00.80 Breezing 2/22 at PMM
March 16, Plus Que Parfait 1:01.05 Breezing 4/18 at PMM
April 21, Plus Que Parfait FOG unofficially 49.40 Breezing at CD
April 27, Plus Que Parfait 1.02:00 Breezing 28/43 at CD

 

 

 

 

SIR WINSTON (KY)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Owner: Tracy Farmer
Breeder: Tracy Farmer
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Awesome Again (CAN) (Deputy Minister (CAN), Primal Force)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): La Gran Bailadora (Afleet Alex, Affirmed Dancer)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-8-14-0-0 (26) 2.71
Foal Date: April 8, 2016

$50,000 RNA Keeneland September 2017


NEXT RACE:

To begin his career, Sir Winston finished well off the board in a June race at Churchill Downs and a July race at Saratoga.

It was a dead heat, but a win is a win, and he did it at third asking on Sept. 12 at Woodbine going a mile and 70 yards on the Tapeta track. Inclusive arrived at the wire simultaneously with Sir Winston. The race was timed in 1:44.29. Jerome Lemyte was aboard Sir Winston. Sir Winston overcame being steadied in tight quarters on the far turn.

Next time out, which was on Oct. 21, with Lemyte again aboard, Sir Winston finished third in the 1 1/16-mile Grey Stakes on the Woodbine synthetic, beaten four lengths by Solidify and 3 1/2 lengths by the ill-fated Tripwire. He was mid-pack of eight early, dropped back some, was wide on the far turn and swung out wide for a game stretch run -- however, he lost about 1 1/2 length on the leader in the final 5/16 mile. The race was timed in 1:43.90

In his final outing of the year, Sir Winston got a one-length score in the 1 1/16-mile Display Stakes on the Woodbine synthetic, again ridden by Lemyte. His time was 1:45.02. This time, he was put into the race early and was never worse than second and always within 1 1/2 length of the lead. He got the lead running into the stretch, led by two at the furlong marked and prevailed by one length over Inclusive. Global Access was two more lengths back in third. Nine ran.

Dec. 31 NOTE: Sent to Florida, he's put in two workouts at the Casse Training Center in Ocala.
 
Jan. 25 NOTE: Trainer Casse said, "He didn't show a lot early on, but with his pedigree you wouldn't expect it. He's gotten better as he's gotten older. We've had some time with him now, and he's had four solid works over the dirt at our training center, and he's a bit of a mystery horse. I don't think the mile and an eighth will be a problem. Tracy Farmer is a new client of ours, and it was exciting for us to win a stakes with him at Woodbine, especially with a homebred. Tracy and his wife Carol are longtime Thoroughbred owners, but they slowed down for a while. They're getting back into the game now and getting back in a big way. We're excited to have them as owners."

Jan. 31 NOTE: Trainer Casse said, "Sir Winston is a mystery horse for us. He's performed well on the synthetic. He's been training over the dirt in Ocala and training well. We're not really sure how we'll run on the dirt. We just want to see if he can handle the dirt and if he can't, we know he'll probably like the grass, he's run there before. It's all part of the puzzle and trying to figure out what pieces fit where."

In the 1 1/8-mile Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 2, Tax was the 2-1 morning line and 2-1 post-time favorite after some late money came in on him. He wasn't part of the early pace after stumbling at the start, but he got the best of it late after coming up the rail following a somewhat troubled trip under Junior Alavarado to narrowly win in a time of 1:50.27. Not That Brady, who was always prominent and on the lead for over six furlongs while ridden by Reylu Gutierriz, finished a game second, holding off a surging Our Braintrust, who was never worse than third and appeared to hang a bit in deep stretch despite urging from Jose Lezcano. Tax's winning margin over Not That Brady was a head, and he was a neck better than Our Braintrust. Sir Winston came from last of seven to finish fourth, beaten five lengths.

March 8 NOTE: Trainer Casse said, “I think Sir Winston is a bit of a sleeper. He has gotten better as a 3-year-old, and his last race was probably a little better than it looked. It was his first start on dirt since (his debut), and the jockey said he kind of jumped up and down early before he leveled off and made a run. One thing about him: distance is not a problem."

In the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby on March 9, Sir Winston finished fifth, beaten four lengths by Tacitus after he was 11th of 11, 15 lengths off the pace, after six furlongs, so he finished well.

March 22 NOTE: Trainer Casse told VSIN Sir Winston could go next in the Toyota Blue Grass, saying, "Sir Winston's just crying and crying for more ground. Julien came back after the Tampa Bay Derby, and I've never seen Julien so excited. Julien's not an excitable guy, and he said if he'd known the horse a little better, he said he would've been right there. He said he figured him out about the top of the lane, and if you'll see he closes almost 10 lengths down the lane and was running over top of horses at the wire, which suggests that the further distance is going to be better for him. That's the good news. The bad news is that type of running style you need a little luck, you need everything to go your way, you need some pace."

March 30 NOTE: Assistant trainer David Carroll said from Keeneland, “I had him here last fall. He just got here two days ago and looks well.”

April 3 NOTE: Assistant trainer Carroll said, “Sir Winston is a horse who comes from off the pace, so he’ll break and be able to drop on over and get to the outside and make his run."

In the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on April 6, Sir Winston finished seventh, beaten 19 1/4 lengths by Vekoma. He was ninth through the first six furlongs and lost ground from there.

In the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 11, Global Campaign was first, Sir Winston second and Intrepid Heart third. After sitting close off fractions of 23.19 and 46.00 set by Federal Case, Global Campaign and Luis Saez took charge, leading just after six furlongs in 1:10.16. There was no competition for the win from that point forward with Global Campaign opening up by three lengths at the furlong marker. The 1 1/8-mile race was timed in a swift 1:46.71. Sir Winston, who has no early speed, trailed the field by 10 or 11 lengths for the first four to six furlongs, then launched a bid under Joel Rosario to finish a non-threatening second, beaten 1 1/4 length. Post-time favorite Intrepid Heart broke in a tangle and was bumped by stable mate Federal Case. After the first half-mile, he was in fourth position and being asked by John Velazquez. He never contended and finished third, another 4 3/4 lengths back. Final Jeopardy and Federal Case rounded out the order of finish.

Joel Rosario: "It was a nice finish. He put a good run toward the end. The horse that went to the lead never came back. Speed seems to be playing well out there."

WORKOUTS SINCE JANUARY 1

Jan. 7, Sir Winston 49.40 Breezing 1/2 at CAA
Jan. 19, Sir Winston 1:02.80 Breezing 2/6 at CAA
Jan. 26, Sir Winston 49.70 Breezing 11/13 at CAA
Feb. 23, Sir Winston 1.02:00 Breezing 1/5 at CAA
March 2, Sir Winston 49:00 Breezing 2/6 at CAA
March 23, Sir Winston 49:70 Breezing 5/12 at CAA
March 30, Sir Winston 49:00 Breezing 22/48 at KEE
April 24, Sir Winston 1.02:02 Breezing 3/7 at BEL
May 3, Sir Winston 50:54 Breezing 18/20 at BEL

 

 

 

 

 

 

TACITUS (KY)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Owner: Juddmonte Farms, Inc. (Khalid Abdullah)
Breeder: Juddmonte Farms, Inc.
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Tapit (Pulpit, Tap Your Heels)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Close Hatches (First Defence, Rising Tornado)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 6-10-11-1-0 (28) 3.31
Foal Date: Feb. 21, 2016


KENTUCKY DERBY: April 16 arrival at Churchill Downs. Barn 19. JOCKEY: Jose Ortiz

His debut came at Belmont Park on Oct. 4, and he finished a good fourth to King for a Day, Felix the Fox and Kentucky Wildcat, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. There were mere heads separating the two-three-four finishers. With Jose Ortiz up, Tacitus stayed within 1 1/2 length of the lead into the stretch after going three wide on the turn, but he lost a length thereafter. Eight ran.

Tacitus broke his maiden in his second and final start of the year, a Nov. 10 one-mile maiden race at Aqueduct. The track was rated good. He got up to win by a neck over Erlich in 1:38.69 at 3/5 odds, once again ridden by Ortiz, after rating a couple of lengths behind splits of 23.45 and 46.91 set by Skyline Surprise. The third finisher, Motagally, was beaten 3 1/4 lengths. Seven ran.

Jan. 28 NOTE: On Jan. 27, trainer Mott told TDN: "I have no doubt that Hidden Scroll is a really nice horse. But I am also fortunate enough to have another really nice colt for Juddmonte, a Tapit colt named Tacitus. He’s coming back and will be ready to run pretty soon. Last November, he was our Derby hope."

In the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby, Tacitus ran up the rail to win in 1:41.90, a stakes record and just .15 second off the track record. The race unfolded with Zenden and Samy Camacho zipping from the outside post 11 and setting fractions of 22.79 and 45.85, with Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Well Defined and Pablo Morales in closest pursuit, just a length back. Outshine, ridden by Joel Rosario, was in third, 4 1/2 lengths off the pace after a half-mile. After six furlongs in 1:09.57, the same two still led the field, but Outshine was bearing down on them. Meanwhile, Tacitus and Jose Ortiz were in seventh place, eight lengths back. In the lane, Zenden still led by 1 1/2 length after Well Defined retreated. Outshine looked like a winner as he was grinding down Zenden, but Tacitus, ridden by Jose Ortiz, had mounted a rally throughout the stretch and ran past on the inside to prevail over Outshine by 1 1/4 length. The 7-5 favorite Win Win Win, who was threatening in upper stretch under Irad Ortiz, Jr., settled for third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. Zenden held on for fourth, another half-length back, at 19-1 odds.

Bill Mott: “We’ve always liked this horse and thought he could be a horse that would be on the Derby trail. I liked him a lot better today at the 3/8 pole than I did at the 5/8 pole, because it looked like when he was trying to get between horses, I couldn’t tell if he was maybe fighting with the racetrack. He was climbing a little bit but once he got through between those horses, he really got some confidence and got some momentum. Jose said he actually finished with something left. He got to the lead and maybe started to dog it a little bit, but I thought it was a very good race and a very good education for him.”

Jose Ortiz: “He broke very well and gave me a lot of choices by the first turn. When the 9 horse (Dunph) went out, I decided to go in and follow the 1 (Admire) because I thought he had a good chance to win. I took a lot (of dirt), but the dirt doesn’t stick as much here as some other tracks, so I think it was good for my horse. He’s a little green still but we got a rail trip and it opened up for us. He’s a big horse and when he made the lead, he didn’t keep going; he kind of waited a little bit. He does everything so easy and I don’t know if he’s given me 100 percent yet – I don’t think so.”

March 10 NOTE: Trainer Mott said, “He’s run in New York, so it’s very possible we could go there. He stepped up to the plate, and it looked like he has moved forward from his 2-year-old year. He has certainly matured and is going in the right direction. The stakes record was a good thing, and I think Tampa was a good place for him to get a race in. It’s a good, safe racetrack and that should be a good conditioner for him. We really didn’t know what we had until we got into September and started putting a little more pressure on him and asking him, and I said, well, we’ve got to find out, let’s ask him the question, and he started to respond. The tougher the training got, the better he got. Then we got two races in him and got a win out of him in the fall, and for the size of horse he is and the type of horse he is, I thought it was a big accomplishment to get that completed that early in the season. This horse is a big, tough horse, and if we had to, we could run him twice more (before the Kentucky Derby), but with this win under his belt, maybe that won’t be necessary. We’ll keep all the options open."

In the Wood Memorial on April 6, Tacitus overcame early bumping and clipping of his rear heels to win from off the pace. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Tacitus finished the 1 1/8 mile in 1:51.23 after after laying six to eight lengths off contested early fractions of 23.62, 46.91 and 1:11.46 set by Joeiva, then Not That Brady.  Joeivia sprinted to the front when, after breaking from the outside post 11 under Nik Juarez, he accordioned several horses to his inside upon veering in extremely sharply. He and Not That Brady were seven lengths ahead of the runners next in line halfway down the backstretch. At that point, Tax, ridden by Junior Alvarado, and Tacitus were in third and fourth positions. Entering the far turn, the lead built by the early leaders was evaporating as Tax and Tacitus closed in. In the lane, Tacitus, on the outside, was shoulder to shoulder with Tax. Inside the furlong marker, Tacitus came in a bit, leading Tax to do the same, and Tacitus finished best by 1 1/4 length. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to the belatedly closing Haikal, who was eighth in the early going with Ravij Maragh aboard. Longshot Math Wizard, ninth after the first half-mile, finished a half-length back of Haikal in fourth at odds of 64-1 under Eric Cancel.

Bill Mott: "I thought it was a very good effort. It was very rough on the first turn, but fortunately he came out of it in good order. When he got down the backside, I thought he had a nice, clear run by himself. He kind of got his feet back under him and regrouped a little bit. When it was time to run he started to wear them down. It's not a surprise, but you always hope they show up. He's a young horse and you never know what's going to happen in any race. Some horses would have been discouraged with what happened on the first turn. They could have backed out of it or decide they didn't want any part of it after getting roughed up like that. He does take after his dam. She was ready from the word 'go'. She was one that was very aggressive and very fast. He's a little different type of horse. She was good up to a mile, a mile and an eighth. This horse, with the Tapit genes, seems like he's willing to go on, but he also seems to have enough speed to get him up and involved early in a race. He's certainly not a speed horse, but he has tactical speed and we know he's got talent and we know he's willing to overcome a little adversity.

"He'll probably stay here for another week and then go to Churchill Downs. I think the race sets him up well. I think the timing is fine. I think we've got a month to go back to the Derby. He's had two races, and a lot of handicappers think the third race off the bench is the best, so I hope that group of handicappers is absolutely right. I think this effort puts him at or near the top of the list."

Jose Ortiz: "I was pleased with his effort. I don't know about the other horses behind me, it was kind of crazy around the first turn. After that, he got a little bumped and he's a big horse. He managed to take that and go on and win the race. A mile and a quarter will suit him. The mile and an eighth didn't bother him, so I think going a little bit longer can be good too."

Garrett O'Rourke, Racing Manager: "We've been there five times now and came out of them all with our tail between our legs. We had two good runs, a huge disappointment with Empire Maker (second in 2003), because he was the horse that I felt was the best horse in the field and should have won. But it's not easy and we know that, so were going to go into it again knowing that it's not easy. We have a legitimate contender now that's bred to be a Derby horse and he's now proving that, hopefully, he is up to that standard."

THE NEXT DAY: Assitant trainer Leana Willaford said, "He came out of it very well/ He was a little tired, but that's to be expected. It's nice to see him overcome. He'll go back to the track here in three days, and we'll train him lightly and send him over there when Bill gets to Churchill. He's changed a lot from July. Then to not see him over the course of the winter, he's matured a ton. He's definitely filling out. He still has some more growing to do, he's only three. He's a big old horse."

April 15 NOTE: Jose Ortiz will stay with Tacitus in the Kentucky Derby and jump off Improbable. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride Improbable.

April 18 NOTE: Jockey Ortiz said, “I have been with him all along. He was green his first two races; Tampa Bay was OK and the Wood was OK. I think he will be better next time.”

In the 145th Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security was much the best but was disqualified and placed 17th by stewards. He won by 1 3/4 length in a time of 2:03.93 on a sloppy-sealed track. Country House was elevated to first. He was followed by Code of Honor, beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Maximum Security and three-quarters of a length by Country House. Tacitus was elevated to third, beaten 3 1/4 lengths by Maximum Security and 1 1/2 length by Country House. Improbable, who finished fifth, a head behind Tacitus, was moved up to fourth.

Bill Mott: I was second and fourth, and I’m proud of my horses. My horses ran well. I’m pleased. It took Tacitus a little while to get on track but he came flying at the end.”

Jose Ortiz: “My horse ran a huge race. We were a little unlucky since the pace didn’t collapse. Those were good horses in the lead. Country House ran a huge race, too. My horse was digging in late. I had no excuse. In the Belmont, he will be much better running 1 1/2 miles.”

The chart says, "Tacitus steadied while unsettled behind horses first time through the stretch, found a better rhythm through the middle stages, came five wide off the far turn, exchanged brushes with GAME WINNER late and finished with good courage."

WORKOUTS SINCE JANUARY 1

Jan. 6, Tacitus 38.60 Breezing 8/12 at PAY
Jan. 13, Tacitus 36.60 Breezing 1/2 at PAY
Jan. 21, Tacitus 50.20 Breezing 6/23 at PAY
Jan. 29, Tacitus 1.03:40 Breezing 6/12 at PAY
Feb. 9, Tacitus 49:40 Breezing 3/24 at PAY
Feb. 15, Tacitus 50:00 Breezing 10/26 at PAY
Feb. 22, Tacitus 1:01 Breezing 2/3 at PAY
March 3, Tacitus 49:60 Breezing 14/32 at PAY
March 22, Tacitus 49:00 Breezing 2/39 at PAY
March 31, Tacitus 49:80 Breezing 11/31 at PAY
April 22, Tacitus 50:00 Breezing 50/79 at CD
April 28, Tacitus 1.00:00 Breezing 4/25 at CD
May 18, Tacitus 48:57 Breezing 9/33 at BEL

 

 

 

 

TAX (KY)
Trainer: Danny Gargan
Owner: R. A. Hill Stable (Randy Hill), Reeves Thoroughbred Racing (Dean & Patti Reeves), Hugh Lynch & Corms Racing Stable (Lucas Stritsman)
Breeder: Claiborne Farm & Adele B. Dilschneider
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Arch (Kris S, Aurora)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Toll (Giant's Causeway, Yell)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-5-23-1-0 (32) 1.56
Foal Date: April 20, 2016

A gelding.


KENTUCKY DERBY: April 29 arrival at Churchill Downs. Barn 39. JOCKEY: Junior Alvarado.

On Oct. 21 at Keeneland, Tax broke his maiden in his second start, running for $50,000 in a claiming race, winning at 1 1/16 mile by 2-1 odds by two lengths under Brian Hernandez, Jr.  Seven ran. The time was 1:45. 25. In the early going, Tax attended the pace set by Clipboard Money, a couple of lengths behind 23.96, 48.16 and 1:12.57. That one stayed on to finish second. Tax was claimed by Hugh Lynch.

In Aqueduct's Dec. 1 Remsen Stakes at 1 1/8 mile, 7-5 second choice Maximus Mischief won by 2 1/4 lengths under Frankie Pennington with Network Effect taking second with a late effort. After breaking sharply, Maximus Mischief dueled outside Gladiator King through a quarter-mile in 25.12, then gained an edge over that one while fending off Tax from his outside, posting a half-mile mark of 50.67. Tax was still there coming out of the final turn afterf six furlongs in 1:14.60, but Maximus Mischief responded to Pennington's left-handed encouragement and opened up his lead before hitting the furlong marker in 1:38.48 and the wire in a final time of 1:51.34. Network Effect was second by a half-length over Tax. The fourth-place finisher, another 6 1/4 lengths back, was Bourbon War, who was last but only four lengths off the pace after the first half-mile. More than 10 lengths further in arrears were Jungle Warrior, Gladiator King and Chinomado, in that order.

Jan. 16 NOTE: Assistant trainer Rolando Quevedo reportedly told trainer Gargan, "This is the best work he has ever had. He’s getting better and better and stronger.” This was reported at DRF.com. Quevedo was aboard for the workout.

Jan. 24 NOTE: "He's a well-bred horse and bred to run long. He'd only run the one race going short (before we claimed him), and I didn't expect him to be a sprinter. He's a big, strong horse. On replays, he looked like a good mover, so we took a shot on him. When we claimed him, we thought he would be a real good grass horse, but when we started working him on the dirt, he worked really well. So, we decided to give him a shot in the Remsen (when he finished third to Maximus Mischief). The effort is a little better than it looks because we went after the winner. We tried to win the race, and if we would have tried to be second, we could have been second. On the turn, we went after the horse that was in front. That was our game plan, to see if we could eyeball him and beat him. Obviously, he's a really nice horse and a little more seasoned than our horse. We were aggressive, and I like being aggressive in a race. We might work him again on Friday, depending on the weather, if not, he'll go Saturday. I think he got a lot out of his last race, and he's doing really well right now."

Jan. 31 NOTE: Trainer Gargan said, "He's bred to run all day, he's a well-bred horse. Last time, we kind of chased the pace a little bit. This time, there should be enough pace in the race where we'll be able to sit off of it. Hopefully, we finish a little better. If we can get an effort like last time, we think we'll be all right."

In the 1 1/8-mile Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 2, Tax was the 2-1 morning line and 2-1 post-time favorite after some late money came in on him. He wasn't part of the early pace after stumbling at the start, but he got the best of it late after coming up the rail following a somewhat troubled trip under Junior Alavarado to narrowly win in a time of 1:50.27. Not That Brady, who was always prominent and on the lead for over six furlongs while ridden by Reylu Gutierriz, finished a game second, holding off a surging Our Braintrust, who was never worse than third and appeared to hang a bit in deep stretch despite urging from Jose Lezcano. Tax's winning margin over Not That Brady was a head, and he was a neck better than Our Braintrust. Sir Winston came from last of seven to finish fourth, beaten five lengths.

Danny Gargan: "He ran really good today. I think down the backside, he got a really good education. Junior said he was really impressed with him. He said he kind of got stuck down in there and clipped heels a couple of times. I'm happy with the fact that he learned and got in there and got an education. We're going to get into bigger fields as this goes down the road further. As far as our next spot, we'll look at the Tampa Bay Derby, also the Jeff Ruby at Turfway Park. Somewhere like that, a two-turn race. I don't want to back him up, the Gotham is a one-turn mile and I think that's a sprinter's race. So, we'll probably come out of this race and go somewhere like that and probably come back here for the Wood. He's definitely going to run between now and the last prep so I can get three races in if we get lucky enough to get to the Derby."

Junior Alvarado: "I was hoping the hole would open up, and I got lucky and got through. He responded right away when we got the space, it was just enough for him. When we got to the lead at the sixteenth pole he started waiting again for the horses. He's a big guy, but mentally he's not 100 percent in the game yet. He's still learning and today was a great learning experience for him. We had the inside post and he stumbled out of the gate a little bit. I had to help him get into a good position. It wasn't going as smooth as I wanted it to, but he's such a nice horse that he overcame all that. He wouldn't have any problem going a mile and a quarter. The company will definitely be tougher, he'll have to step up his game, but I think he still has more there."

The very comprehensive chart for the top three runners says, "Tax stumbled at the start and came under coaxing to be forwardly placed along the inside through the first turn and into the backstretch, tracked in the loose pocket patiently handled until placed to coaxing three furlongs from home, spun just off the inside into upper stretch, got forced to be taken in hand and paused at the three-sixteenths when placed in tight inside as Not That Brady drifted in, had that rival be corrected outwards and rallied up the inside to take narrow command a furlong out, dug in under threat from a pair through to the finish and repelled the duo gamely on the wire. Not That Brady broke  out at the start and came under coaxing in correction to be forwardly placed,  got  floated five wide into the opening bend by Our Braintrust, ranged up four then three wide through the first turn to seize command with seven furlongs to run tucking to the two path at that station, showed the way through moderate splits in hand just off the inside down the backstretch before tucking along the inside into the far turn, came under coaxing  at  the  five-sixteenths,  spun  just  off  the  inside  for  home  under  growing  threat,  drifted  in  forcing  Tax  to  be  taken  in  hand  in  tight  at  the three-sixteenths under threat from flanking challengers, got corrected and came out bumping Our Braintrust inside that station and was displaced from command, dug in trading leans with Our Braintrust under a near sided stick as that rival got directed under an off sided stick while latched on the leader through to the finish fighting on between foes but was ultimately rebuffed to the end. Our Braintrust broke on top and yielded command nearing the first turn while four wide into that bend floating Not That Brady five wide, had that rival clear outside and tucked three wide midway settling three wide in aim of the front, tucked to the two path half a mile from home, came under coaxing at the three-eighths, swung three to four wide into upper stretch, rallied the outermost of a trio latched on at the three-sixteenths, got bumped by Not That Brady just inside that station, dug in battling on to the finish trading leans under an off sided stick as Not That Brady employed a near sided stick but could not get by the top pair while clear of the rest."

April 3 NOTE: Trainer Gargan said, "He's training tremendous; he looks good. We're just hoping we get a clean trip. He's a nice horse and we're just hoping we can run top-three, so we can go to the Derby. He's a warrior. You have to get lucky and get a horse who wants to win as much as you want to win, and that's the kind of horse he is. He wants to win. He wants to run competitive, and he trains like that. He's real competitive in the mornings, so we just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope for good things going forward because the big goal is to be lucky enough to run him in the Derby. Junior has a lot of insight into him. If it's working well, why change it? When a rider has confidence like that, it can only help."

In the Wood Memorial on April 6, Tacitus overcame early bumping and clipping of his rear heels to win from off the pace. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Tacitus finished the 1 1/8 mile in 1:51.23 after after laying six to eight lengths off contested early fractions of 23.62, 46.91 and 1:11.46 set by Joeiva, then Not That Brady.  Joeivia sprinted to the front when, after breaking from the outside post 11 under Nik Juarez, he accordioned several horses to his inside upon veering in extremely sharply. He and Not That Brady were seven lengths ahead of the runners next in line halfway down the backstretch. At that point, Tax, ridden by Junior Alvarado, and Tacitus were in third and fourth positions. Entering the far turn, the lead built by the early leaders was evaporating as Tax and Tacitus closed in. In the lane, Tacitus, on the outside, was shoulder to shoulder with Tax. Inside the furlong marker, Tacitus came in a bit, leading Tax to do the same, and Tacitus finished best by 1 1/4 length. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to the belatedly closing Haikal, who was eighth in the early going with Ravij Maragh aboard. Longshot Math Wizard, ninth after the first half-mile, finished a half-length back of Haikal in fourth at odds of 64-1 under Eric Cancel.

Danny Gargan: "He ran huge. The horses laying up close all day have been running really well. I told Junior, let's just break out of there and get a good position. I didn't want to take back. Let's make them run into the first turn and make your move turning for home. If we get run down, it's okay. I don't mind running second today, I just wanted to make sure we got enough Derby points to get in. We might have moved a little early today, but we get to go to Louisville, Kentucky now."

Junior Alvarado: "I had a great trip. I knew that Not That Brady had speed and he likes to fight. I was second guessing myself by the three-eighths pole if I should go and attack him, so he doesn't get brave on the lead. At the same time, I wanted to wait a little longer because I know they were rolling up front. It was a decision I had to make, but if I had it to do again I would have waited a little longer to have a better kick at the end. But that's horse racing. He gave me everything turning for home and he never quit."

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Gargan said, "Everything was good this morning. I thought he ran a tremendous race and can move forward off that effort. His last three races, he's improved tremendously. He learned a lot in the Remsen, and then he moved forward in the Withers. We gave him almost nine weeks between those races, and yesterday, he showed up. He got a little tired and got pushed down on the rail late, which was a little dead. But it was his first race in a while. I think we're set to move forward off this now. The goal all along was the Derby. That's why we passed on the Gotham.  It was a risk to only run twice because with these point systems, you have to run well every time if you aren't running. We were lucky enough to win one prep and do well in another. To pass on a race in between, it was a gamble, but it's going to pay off in the long run. He breaks good out of the gate. If he breaks good, he can sit forwardly placed. He can also sit in the middle of the pack, he's a cool horse that way. If everything goes as planned and we get to the Derby, we have a chance. His numbers line him up with anyone. As of now, there doesn't seem to be any Justify in there or any monsters. No one has really been better than anyone else yet. So, we're just hoping to get blessed and get a good trip."

April 10 NOTE: Trainer Gargan said at Keeneland, where he has a string of horses stabled, “He is an exciting horse, and he came out of the Wood great. He would not come here. He would go straight to Churchill, and I haven’t decided whether he’ll have one or two works. I will keep him in New York (for now), but I have some horses to ship next week, and I will work that out in the next few days.”

April 26 NOTE: Jockey Alvarado said of yesterday's workout, "I thought it was great and I loved the way he started; it's really important when you're getting ready to ride a mile-and-a-quarter race that your horse can be in the bridle but won't try and run off. Coming down the lane, he has such a beautiful, long stride. I was paying attention to his gallop out and it was outstanding. He showed me everything I wanted to see. He did it nice and strong, pretty much on his own. He's a great gate horse. Even when he won with me, he stumbled and still had the ability to be near the lead. It helps. When you go to a 20-horse field, having a horse who can break out of there and get you to a good position helps. It's very important, and that's something that he's done with me. It doesn't matter what part of the race, when you need him to make a move, he's always there for you. It's always quick. He's not a plodding horse who takes time to get going. He's pretty much a push-button horse. If you need to make a little move to get in a better spot, I know he'll be there for me."

In the 145th Kentucky Derby, Tax was never better than ninth and finished 15th, moved up to 14th via the disqualification of the winner, beaten 15 lengths.

Danny Gargan: Had no comment

Junior Alvarado: “My horse was bothered by the splash in his face. He was not happy about that. He kept trying but he was focused on the mud being kicked in his face.”

The chart call: "Tax saved ground throughout and was no factor."

WORKOUTS SINCE JANUARY 1

Jan. 7, Tax 48:77 Breezing training track11/86 at BEL
Jan. 16, Tax 49:23 Breezing training track 11/35 at BEL
Jan. 25, Tax 50:00 Breezing training track 21/51 at BEL
Feb. 23, Tax 51:24 Breezing training track 107/132 at BEL
March 1, Tax 48:40 Breezing training track 16/84 at BEL
March 9, Tax 59:60 Breezing training track 2/23 at BEL
March 16, Tax 49:60 Breezing training track 85/110 at BEL
March 28, Tax 47:80 Breezing training track 3/31 at BEL
April 25, Tax 47:80 Breezing training track 1/49 at BEL

 

 


 

WAR OF WILL (KY)
Trainer: Mark E. Casse
Owner: Gary Barber
Breeder: Flaxman Holdings Limited
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): War Front (Danzig, Starry Dreamer)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Visions of Clarity (Sadler's Wells, Imperfect Circle)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-8-17-4-0 (34) 1.72
Foal Date: April 17, 2016

$175,000 Keeneland September 2017
$298,550 Arqana May 2018
His dam is a half-sibling to multiple grade I winner Spinning World


JOCKEY: Tyler Gaffalione  ARRIVAL AT PIMLICO: May 14

War of Will didn't win in his first four starts, but he was competitive in stakes company.

After finishing third in a Woodbine maiden special weight, on Sept. 15 he finished second to by less than a length to Fog of War after having a stretch lead in the Grade I Summer Stakes.

He was shipped to Kentucky, and on Oct. 7 he ran fourth in the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes won by Current, with Henley's Joy and Salvator Mundi getting second and third.

He finished fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf as a maiden.

Then, on Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs, he broke his maiden in his fifth start going 1 1/16 mile on a sloppy sealed track under Tyler Gaffalione. Eleven ran. His time was 1:45.45. He engaged in a stalking trip and cleared the field going away by five lengths under a hand ride. The chart says he "stalked the pace early, shifted into the three path in the far turn then drew off down the lane while ridden out to the wire."

Jan. 16 NOTE: Trainer Casse said, “He’s a horse that we loved as soon as my brother (Justin Casse) bought him. Our assistant Jamie Begg had him for about two weeks at Belmont and said that he was special. We kind of rushed him into his maiden race and I thought he would have a good chance to win the Summer Stakes. Finally, in the Breeders’ Cup, he had a really wide trip so he ran an exceptionally well fifth considering the hand that was dealt to him. Early on, we felt like he needed to stay on grass, but he trains as good as a horse can train on the dirt. I personally don’t think he could’ve won any more impressive and it was a solid field. He ran ten one hundredths of a second slower than the Kentucky Jockey Club. Tyler geared him down in the last sixteenth, so no doubt he could’ve run faster than the Kentucky Jockey Club. All that said, we like our chances. Weather could play a factor (in the LeComte) even though I think a little moisture in the track won’t hurt our feelings. This is a heck of a race, it’s going to be a trip. It’s a mile and 70 yards with a big field and quick run to the first turn. You’re going to need luck, and it can’t be bad.”

Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, 8-5 favorite War of Will stalked, pounced and drew off to win the LeComte Stakes on Jan. 19 going a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds in a field of 12. He got home in a time of 1:43.44 on a track rated fast, which is 1.9 second faster than Needs Supervision won the Silverbulletday one race prior. Hog Creek Hustle closed from eighth, four or five lengths off the early pace, to finish second. Third was Manny Wah, who was hustled from the far outside post by Channing Hill to grab the lead while dueling with Maplpais going up the backstretch, the half-mile going in 49.22. Manny Wah easily shook off Malpais in the far turn but was immediately engaged by the three-wide War of Will, who was never more than 1 1/2 length off the pace. War of Will hit the six-furlong mark barely in front in 1:14.63. In the stretch, War of Will got away from Manny Wah, and Hog Creek Hustle came by too. War of Will beat that one by four lengths going away, with Manny Wah another two lengths back in third. Wicked Indeed finished fourth, beaten 6 1/2 lengths, and a head in front of Plus Que Parfait, who was a neck in  front of Chase the Ghost.

Mark Casse: “This was about a month ago, but I had some friends over and I said ‘We have a big chance to win the Derby this year.' I don’t usually say things like that, so that tells you what I think of him. I’ll talk to Gary, but (the Risen Star Stakes) would make the most sense, it’s why we’re here. We love this place, and it’s a great place to get a horse ready. I don’t know that there would be a real reason to leave.”

Tyler Gaffalione: “My horse broke sharp. It looked like (Manny Wah) had a little more speed going into the turn, and I took him back and went to his outside to try and get the best trip possible. He relaxed for me on the backside and when they came down to run, he really turned it on.”

Jan. 21 NOTE: Trainer Casse told DRF.com on Jan. 20: “He acts like he didn’t even really run. What I didn’t notice right away was his gallop-out yesterday, which was really strong. He ran to his works and his gallops. He’s an impressive horse to watch train.”

Jan. 24 NOTE: Trainer Casse said, "He's doing extremely well. I can't say enough great things about him, and I think he's an absolute superstar. I think he's a better dirt horse, although with a better trip in the Breeders' Cup, he could have been a Breeders' Cup winner. But it was probably a blessing because had he won the Breeders' Cup, it would have been much tougher to try him on the dirt. Sometimes things happen for a reason."

Feb. 10 NOTE: Trainer Casse said on Feb. 9, “I don’t think that he could have worked any better, so that was good. It’s pretty well the same bunch that he’ll be up against (in the Risen Star). Obviously the post is outside, but we’d rather be out there than inside. He’s got enough speed so he’ll get over and if he’s as good as we think he is, it shouldn’t matter.”

Feb. 14 NOTE: Bloodstock agent Justin Casse, brother of trainer Casse, said “I always call Gary (Barber) when I find something that I like. I didn’t really run it by Mark because he trusts me, so I called Gary because one of the first horses I bought for him was Jack Milton, who also was by War Front. I bought him two other stakes horses by War Front, so he knew that the sire worked. I called him only 30 minutes before he went through the ring. Told him he’d be reasonably priced. He breezed well at the sale, he was a good mover, had a good turn of foot and speed for his size. The rest is history, Gary got him. He didn’t look like a dirt horse, but he didn’t strike you as one that’s all turf either. He was just a real good looking horse, but I didn’t really classify him as one or the other. In pedigree, he’s instantly classified as turf because of who a lot of his relatives are, but if you look deeper into his pedigree he’s related to horses like Tacticus and Aldebaran. The horse that beat him in the Summer is debatably the best now 3-year-old turf male, Fog of War. To run second to him in only his second start in a Grade I spoke volumes for him. Obviously everyone was buzzing about how he worked on the dirt. With horses that I buy, I feel like I own a piece of them because I get really excited and get really into it. I feel like they’re my own to a certain extent, and to be there with my brother, family and girlfriend would be special too. Trying to take it one step at a time and appreciate having such a nice horse. It’s hard to not get caught up thinking about the Derby and it’s fun to daydream. There are too many things that can happen between today and tomorrow.”

In the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 16, War of Will won, Country House was second, longshot Roiland third and Hog Creek Hustle fourth. War of Will broke well from post 13 and pursued front-runner Gun It -- who broke from post 14 -- and Dunph leaving the first turn, and the first quarter-mile run in 23.71. Up the backstretch, Gun It continued to lead the way, with War of Will in closest pursuit, followed by Dunph, Mr. Money and 10 others and the half-mile  gone in 47.36. Far back of those four were Country House, Roiland and Hog Creek Hustle. Into the far turn, War of Will took charge and led with six furlongs timed in 1:12.20 with Gun It, Mr. Money and Dunph about to fall away. War of Will opened a clear lead in the stretch. Country House, ridden by Luis Saez, came on strong to finish 2 1/4 lengths back of the winner after being in 11th position, almost 10 lengths off the lead, after the first half-mile and ninth on the far turn. Roiland, third by a total of 3 3/4 lengths under James Graham, was able to accomplish that at 69-1 odds when he came from dead last, 16 1/2 lengths off the pace, at the second call. Hog Creek Hustle ran his second straight credible two-turn race to come fourth, 2 1/4 lengths behind Roiland. He was 13th after the first half-mile.

Mark Casse: “For a big horse, he has tremendous speed. He had to hit the gas a little to get over, so that got him a little riled up. It’s like hitting the gas and trying to hit stop. They’re not as easy to stop as a car. He got him rolling and probably made the lead a little earlier than we would have liked. He’s done this a few times early on. When he gets the lead, he starts wandering. If he keeps winning there will be some big targets for him to chase. As long as he’s happy and healthy, that’s where we’ll go and then we’ll talk about it from there I think (Fair Grounds) is a wonderful place to get a horse ready for the classics. We have right now four or five Derby horses and our two major Derby horses are here right now. I think a lot of that. I have (assistant) David Carroll, who I have utmost respect for, so that’s important for me. Last year we almost won the Kentucky Oaks with Wonder Gadot, and she stabled here. It’s a great place, it’s nice and the weather isn’t bad. Horses stay happy and safe here for the most part.”

Tyler Gaffalione: “The horse broke well today. I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane, but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there. Mark and his team have done a great job. They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Feb 17 NOTE: Assistant trainer David Carroll said, “He looked wonderful (this morning). He cleaned up his feed last night and cleaned up his breakfast this morning.  Just had a little jog this morning and jogged beautifully. He seems very bright and not tired. We’re thrilled to death with him. He likes it here, and I don’t see Mark or Mr. Barber wanting to change anything, so as long as he stays healthy and sound it is the game plan (to stay for the Louisiana Derby). With the outside post, we needed to get a forward position, and once we did that he was on the bridle. Tyler took over a little sooner than he had liked. He said yesterday was the first time he waited on horses. Once he got after him I thought that he finished up very nice and his gallop out was very strong. I like to think there’s plenty left in the tank.”

March 2 NOTE: Assistant trainer David Carroll said, “We had a sealed racetrack this morning but it gives you such confidence because it’s a superior surface. It has a great bottom on it, so we were very comfortable breezing today. War of Will went beautifully. Just finished up the last eighth and galloped out on his own steam. We never did ask him for anything today, it was just nice to see him back stretching his legs. He looked as great as ever and cooled out beautifully. I don’t think he has to improve a whole lot at this stage. We know that he’s very talented, and we’re just going to keep him happy and healthy, which are the two most important things. If he’s happy and healthy, then we’ll let his talent do the talking.”

March 10 NOTE: After War of Will's workout yesterday, assistant trainer David Carroll said, “We just wanted to keep him focused and have a target today. Once he had his target and it was time to go, he just kept on going. I thought last time maybe he eased up a little bit, but today he was totally focused and Declan was very, very happy with him. He’s just a beautiful piece of work. Every time he works, it’s just that way with him. He’s very push button and is in a great place mentally and physically. The horse is just a privilege to be around and has been this way from the word ‘go’ last year.  At the end of the day, we’re all going to be respectful of the opposition regardless of who comes. Our focus is on him and him only, just making sure that he’s happy and healthy. After that, it’s up to him. Hopefully we’ll have a good couple of more weeks and get there safe and win his race.”

In the Louisiana Derby on March 23, War of Will, the 4-5 favorite, was in sixth place at each of the first three calls, and leaving the far turn he was only 2 1/4 lengths off the lead. He clearly struggled in the stretch and finished ninth, beaten a dozen lengths.

Mark Casse: “We think what happened was about four jumps out of the gate. He actually broke in front, and if you watch he buckles on his right hind. And we believe, maybe it was stumble of some sort. But when he did, we think he strained maybe a muscle or whatever. But he was significantly off after the race. He’s significantly off. I’ve just been on the phone with Dr. Robert McMartin, he’s my main guy. He thinks he might have caught his stifle or something. We feel like he’ll probably be a little better tomorrow and we’re going to further evaluate him. I would not absolutely rule him out (of the Kentucky Derby) because this is something that he can get over very quickly. We’ll see. The good news is he hasn’t broken anything. It’s a muscle strain of some sort. We’re confident of that.”

THE NEXT DAY: War of Will shipped out to Keeneland shortly. Following trainer Casse's comment yesterday that the horse was "significantly off" after the race, today Casse told Alicia Hughes he is "feeling a lot better." The Kentucky Derby hasn't been ruled out.

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Casse said, “It’s amazing how much better he was today. I just feel fortunate that he’s okay first and foremost. We’re fairly certain that he probably caught his patella a little bit right at the start. So what we’ll do is we’ll do some exercising and probably laser treatment to strengthen the patella muscle. But we feel optimistic that we can still make the Derby.”

March 30 NOTE: Assistant trainer David Carroll said, “He got here Wednesday and had a full evaluation Thursday with X-rays and ultrasound. He got the go-ahead to train. We will jog him for a few days and ease him back into it.”

April 13 NOTE: After War of Will's workout from the gate, jockey Gaffalione sadi, “He broke sharp and had running on his mind. He did everything very easy. Mark said he wanted a good five-eighths, so I just let him do his thing. He cruised along and pulled up great and came back happy. He is really proud of himself.” Assistant trainer Carroll said, "Horses sometimes get more from working from the gate. He broke very sharp, worked beautifully and the gallop-out was tremendous. He cooled out really well, and we are very happy. He is a kind horse to be around, and in the past week he has really been on his toes and is very sharp. He told us coming into it that he is ready for a good workout. In the paddock on his way to the track, he was very playful.” Carroll said War of Will likely will have another work at Keeneland and a work at Churchill Downs in the days leading to the Kentucky Derby.

April 19 NOTE: Assistant trainer David Carroll said, “He trained beautifully all week, and he definitely has progressed from his last breeze. All indications were that he would go exceptionally good today, and we saw that. We couldn’t be any happier. All systems are go at the moment. Each day he seems to be getting better. He cooled out beautifully this morning. They put a good seal on the track, and it had a really good bottom on it today.”

April 19 NOTE: War of Will is scheduled to ship late this coming week from Keeneland to Churchill Downs, where he will have his final workout for the Kentucky Derby.

In the 145th Kentucky Derby, War of Will was fourth after a half-mile, stayed in contention, made a move leaving the far turn, had to check when Maximum Security came out, got going again and then flattened out in the stretch. He finished eighth, moved up to seventh via the disqualification of the winner, beaten 4 1/2 lengths.

Mark Casse; “Yeah, we got bothered too. We almost clipped heels with (Maximum Security). We got excited. The horse ducked out and that’s when we nearly clipped heels. Tyler (Gaffalione) said he felt great. He said if he could have gotten him to relax a little he thought he would finish a little better. I have to talk to Gary (Barber) about (the Preakness) but maybe.”

Tyler Gaffalione: “I really thought I was going to win the Derby. I checked pretty hard when the seven (Maximum Security) came out as far as he did.”

The chart call: "War of Will  found a good spot saving ground off the leaders under a firm hold, continued along reserved waiting for room into the far turn, shifted outside MAXIMUM SECURITY leavingthe three-eighths pole, was forced out by that rival into LONG RANGE TODDY, checked hard off heels, remained prominent in the three-path to upperstretch and weakened."

In the 144th Preakness, War of Will won, Everfast was second, Owendale finished third and Warrior's Charge was fourth. Warrior's Charge set a brisk pace of 22.50, 46.16 and 1:10.56. For the first half-mile, Market King was in closest pursuit, followed by Anothertwistafate and War of Will. At the third call, Market King was starting a major retreat, Anothertwistafate had moved into second, and local hero Alwaysmining loomed on the outside in third. Warrior's Charge and Javier Castellano continued to lead through the far turn and came into the stretch well off the rail. War of Will came up the rail to take charge and led by a length with a furlong remaining. Meanwhile, Anothertwistafate and Alwaysmining had retreated. War of Will prevailed by 1 1/4 length. Longshot Everfast, sent off as the second longest shot in the 13-horse field at 29-1 odds, came up the inside behind War of Will after entering the second turn in 11th place, almost 10 lengths in arrears, to nab second with Joel Rosario aboard. Owendale and Florent Geroux finished a nose back in third after hitting that turn in ninth, almost seven lengths off the pace. Warrior's Charge hung on for fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths.

Mark Casse: “It was so important to win it. I just wanted him to get his chance to show everyone how good he is because he is a super horse. We thought we were going to win it two years ago (with Classic Empire) and we got beat at the wire so I kept trying to figure out where the wire was. It was exciting, just unbelievable.”

Tyler Gaffalione: “I’m just so happy for Mark and his team, they do a fabulous job. Barber has given me so many opportunities and I’m just so happy for them. I’m very happy for Mark to get his first Classic win. Very happy for the horse, he deserved it more than anything. He’s so special.”

“It really hasn’t even hit me yet. I can’t even put it into words. I can’t thank my family enough for all the support. Of course my valet down in Florida, Jay Glass, and my agent, Matt Muzikar. Great team effort, I’m just so thankful.”

“He’s got so much heart. We always knew he had the ability, we just had to get a little bit lucky and today was our day.”

WORKOUTS SINCE JANUARY 1

Jan. 5, War of Will 59.60 Breezing 2/77 at FG
Feb. 2, War of Will 52:40 Breezing 157/169 at FG
Jan. 12, War of Will 48.00 Breezing 3/145 at FG
Feb. 9, War of Will 47:20 Breezing 2/135 at FG
March 2, War of Will 50:20 Breezing good 63/87 at FG
March 9, War of Will 1.01:60 Breezing 19/48 at FG
March 15, War of Will 47:60 Breezing 3/31 at FG
April 6, War of Will 48:80 Breezing 33/106 at KEE
April 13, War of Will 59:00 Breezing gate 1/44 at KEE
April 19, War of Will 1.00:20 Breezing muddy 1/9 at KEE
April 27, War of Will 47:60 Breezing 1/78 at CD

 

 

 

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