Less than 24 hours after enduring a scare when beaten Louisiana Derby favorite War of Will was reported to be significantly off following his ninth-place finish, trainer Mark Casse said the son of War Front was much improved Sunday morning, adding that his hopes of making the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve remain intact.
“It's amazing how much better he was today,” Casse said. “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.”
War of Will appeared to lose his action in his hind end shortly after breaking from post 6 in the Louisiana Derby. The bay colt never got into contention after that en route to suffering his first loss in four starts on dirt.
The Gary Barber-owned runner headed into Saturday's test atop the leaderboard on the Road to the Kentucky Derby courtesy of his victories in the Grade III Lecomte Stakes and Grade II Risen Star Stakes presented by Lamarque Ford. He is slated to ship to Keeneland on Tuesday where will remain in the day-to-day care of assistant trainer David Carroll.
“We're going to change his exercise a bit for a while, just try to strengthen his patella ligaments,” Casse said. “It's something that as a trainer for 40 years, I've been dealing with patella ligaments since the beginning of my career but I've never seen one catch like that one did. But the good news is he was happy this morning.”
Doing some timing work for the Louisiana Derby, and this is what the picture looks like at the start of timing for War of Will. Doesn't look good at all to my eye. pic.twitter.com/9Q7kEGibLe
— Craig Milkowski (@TimeformUSfigs) March 24, 2019
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