‘On His Toes’: War Of Will Sharp In Gate Drill At Keeneland

by | 04.13.2019 | 3:58pm
War of Will, shown winning the Risen Star over Country House

Gary Barber's Kentucky Derby (G1) hopeful War of Will breezed 5 furlongs from the starting gate in :59 over a fast track Saturday morning at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. His time was the best of 44 works at the distance. Trained by Mark Casse, the War Front colt has 60 qualifying points and a guaranteed place in the $3-million Kentucky Derby on May 4.

With jockey Tyler Gaffalione aboard, War of Will clocked splits of :22.80, :34.60 and :46.20 and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:11.60. (Click here for a video of the work.)

“He broke sharp and had running on his mind,” Gaffalione said. “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.”

“Horses sometimes get more (conditioning) from working from the gate,” Casse's Keeneland assistant, David Carroll, said. “He broke very sharp, worked beautifully and the gallop out was tremendous. He cooled out really well, and we are very happy.”

At Fair Grounds earlier this year, War of Will won the Risen Star (G2) and the Lecomte (G3). On March 23, he was ninth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) after losing his footing at the start. The colt arrived at Keeneland four days later.

Carroll said War of Will likely will have another work next week at Keeneland and a final tune-up at Churchill Downs in the days leading to the Kentucky Derby.

He is encouraged by the extra energy War of Will has displayed at Keeneland.

“He is a kind horse to be around, and in the past week he has really been on his toes and is very sharp,” Carroll said. “He told us coming into (today) that he is ready for a good workout. In the Paddock on his way to the track, he was very playful.”

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