Jockey Tyler Gaffalione returned back to his “new home” in the Churchill Downs jockey colony following his victory aboard War of Will in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (Grade I) at Pimlico Race Course.
Gaffalione, a 24-year-old native of Davie, Fla., was on the Churchill Downs backstretch early Sunday morning to work horses and was named to ride eight races.
“It really hasn't sunk in yet that we won,” Gaffalione said. “I can't thank my family enough for all of the years of support they've given me. After everything that went on between the Louisiana Derby (GII) mishap and the trouble in the Kentucky Derby (GI), I'm just simply happy for the horse. He deserved it most of all.
“We're back at our new home (Churchill Downs) and ready to keep the meet rolling.”
Owned by Gary Barber, War of Will is scheduled to arrive at Keeneland on Monday and could run next in the June 8 Belmont Stakes, according to trainer Mark Casse.
“We changed the warm up a little bit to get him to relax in the Preakness and he fired when Tyler asked him to go,” Casse said. “I am extremely proud of his Derby to overcome so much adversity that afternoon and even dating back to the Louisiana Derby mishap. There were some fresh shooters in the Preakness that concerned us a little bit entering the race but he really put his best hoof forward (Saturday).”
War of Will dominated the Lecomte Stakes (GIII) and Risen Star (GII) at Fair Grounds prior to breaking awkwardly in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby to finish ninth.
“We really never knew how he'd respond out of the (Louisiana Derby),” Casse said. “He trained super into the Derby and into the Preakness.”
Fellow locally-based Preakness contender Improbable, who was sent off as the 5-2 post time favorite, was scheduled to return to Churchill Downs on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET.
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