Gary Barber's War of Will, a winner of last year's Grade I Preakness Stakes and idle since well beaten in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic, squares off with sharp veteran turf miler River Boyne, top French-bred miler Raging Bull and others, as they head an outstanding field of 11 three-year-olds and up in Monday's Grade I, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile (turf) at Santa Anita.
The Shoe Mile is a Breeders' Cup Challenge race, which enables the winner to receive an automatic berth and fees paid into the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile Nov. 7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY. Named for the legendary Hall of Fame jockey, Bill Shoemaker was Santa Anita's leading rider for an unprecedented 17 consecutive Winter/Spring Meetings, from 1950-51 through 1966-67.
Headquartered with soon-to-be Hall of Famer Mark Casse at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida, War of Will ships west and will be trying turf for the first time since late in his 2-year-old campaign, while Red Baron's Barn, LLC and Rancho Temescal's Irish-bred River Boyne, a recent winner of Santa Anita's Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile, seeks his third consecutive win over the course for trainer Jeff Mullins.
WAR OF WILL
Owner: Gary Barber
Trainer: Mark Casse
A much troubled eighth, beaten 4 ½ lengths in last year's Kentucky Derby, War of Will took the Preakness Stakes five starts back on May 18, 2019 and was subsequently well beaten in the Grade I Belmont Stakes. Winless in four starts since his Preakness victory, the 4-year-old colt by War Front made his first four career starts on turf, his most recent a close fifth place finish in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf as a maiden on Nov. 2, 2018. Winless in four tries on turf and 14-4-1-2 overall, War of Will arrived at Santa Anita on Tuesday and Casse has been bullish about his return to turf at one mile. Ridden in his last 10 starts by Tyler Gaffalione, he'll be ridden for the first time by leading man Flavien Prat, who won six races here this past Sunday. Casse will also be represented by Florida-bred longshot March to the Arch, who comes off a third place finish as the 7-2 favorite in a Grade III one mile turf stakes March 28 at Gulfstream Park.
Owner: Red Baron's Barn, LLC & Rancho Temescal
Trainer: Jeff Mullins
A phenom at age three, this 5-year-old Irish-bred was winless in seven starts at age four, but has enjoyed a resurgence this year when paired with an aggressive Abel Cedillo, who pointed him to a 2 ½ length score two starts back in the Grade III, one mile turf Thunder Road Stakes on Feb. 8 at 9-2 and a neck victory at 4-1 in the Grade I Kilroe Mile on March 7. A winner of eight out of his 13 starts over the Santa Anita turf, River Boyne, who is 24-9-5-4 with earnings of $1,211,918, has never been better as he bids for his sixth graded turf stakes win on Monday.
Owner: Peter Brant
Trainer: Chad Brown
Last seen in Southern California winning the Grade I Hollywood Derby Dec. 1, 2018 at Del Mar, Raging Bull is winless in five subsequent Grade I assignments, but was only beaten 1 ¼ lengths in the Woodbine Mile after getting bothered badly at the break. All five of his wins (from 12 starts) have come in combination with Rosario and it would appear all systems are “Go” off a lengthy freshening with three-time Eclipse Award winner Brown, who will also send out English-bred Without Parole, who was well beaten as the 3-1 favorite in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Jan. 25 at Gulfstream.
THE GRADE I SHOEMAKER MILE WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 11 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT
- Without Parole—Irad Ortiz, Jr.—122
- True Valour—Jose Valdivia, Jr.–124
- Next Shares—John Velazquez—124
- Voodoo Song—Mike Smith—122
- War of Will—Flavien Prat—122
- Blitzkrieg—Drayden Van Dyke—122
- Majestic Eagle—Jorge Velez—122
- Raging Bull—Joel Rosario—122
- March to the Arch—Victor Espinoza—124
- Neptune's Storm—Umberto Rispoli—124
- River Boyne—Abel Cedillo–126
First post time for an 11-race card on Monday is at 12:30 p.m. While there is no public admittance, fans are encouraged to wager via 1stBet.com or Xpressbet.com. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
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