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War of Will Begins Preparation for May 18 Preakness Stakes

Middle Jewel of Triple Crown in Play for Win Win Win

May 8, 2019

BALTIMORE, MD – In preparation for a start in the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course May 18, Gary Barber’s War of Will returned to the track Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs, four days after he was involved in the melee that resulted in the historic disqualification of first-place finisher Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby (G1). 

War of Will got caught in a squeeze play when Maximum Security drifted out as the leaders started to round out of the far turn, their legs becoming entangled. War of Will finished eighth, only 4 ½ lengths behind the first-place finisher, and was moved up to seventh through the disqualification.

War of Will was scheduled to jog Tuesday, but the light training exercise was called off. Trainer Mark Casse said War of Will started feeling some discomfort in his right front foot and it was determined that the shoe had shifted in the course of the race.

“After a day or two, it was starting to bother him,” Casse said by phone. “He was a little uncomfortable (Tuesday) morning. So we pulled his shoe off, soaked his foot, put his shoe back on today. And he was 100 percent and went out to train today.”

Casse joked that War of Will shared the experience with tens of thousands of Derby-goers. “No different than what probably 50,000 or 75,000 women who wore their pretty shoes did the day after the Derby, right?” he quipped. “Today he felt like new, and they probably put their gym shoes on. He was feeling the same effect.”

Casse said Tyler Gaffalione will be back on War of Will for the Preakness. War of Will, who won the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) before finishing ninth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds, jogged a mile Wednesday and probably will jog again tomorrow, Casse said.

“I do a lot of jogging with him anyways. Obviously, we just missed winning the Preakness two years ago by a head with Classic Empire. I never breezed him in between the two races, and I’m not going breeze this one either,” said Casse, who saddled Classic Empire for a fourth-place finish in the 2017 Kentucky Derby prior to his narrow loss to Cloud Computing in the Preakness.

“To me, it’s more about getting back your energy level. We don’t have to worry about fitness at this point in time. He’s not going to do a whole lot of anything. Do some jogging, some galloping,” he added. “He’s going to Baltimore Monday if everything stays like it is today, and everything is perfect and he’s happy and his energy level is good. We’ll do some blood work on him in a day or two.”

Middle Jewel of Triple Crown in Play for Win Win Win

Maybe Maybe Maybe.

Live Oak Plantation’s Win Win Win is a possible candidate for the 144th Preakness Stakes, trainer Michael Trombetta said Wednesday.

Win Win Win ended up ninth in the Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1) following an extremely wide trip. The homebred colt has been returned to Trombetta’s home base at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. and went out to the track for the first time since the Derby on Wednesday morning for easy exercise. Trombetta said he will watch Win Win Win this week and reach a verdict by Friday on whether to go the Preakness.

“I have the luxury of being close to home for a change,” he said. “I just want to see the horse train for a couple of days and figure there is no reason to make that decision before I see that.  It’s only fair to the horse at this point.”

So far, Trombetta likes how the son of Hat Trick looks at Fair Hill. “Today was his first day back on the track for a light jog. It was fine. Everything seems fine,” he said. “I just want to observe and make sure that I am completely happy before I go in that direction and make that commitment. It was a hard trip and it was a bit of tough circumstances with the race.”

Trombetta joked that it took two days to dry clean the colt after the Derby, which was contested on a sloppy, sealed track, but said that Win Win Win did not have a scratch on him.

“He’s good, which we’re all grateful for,” Trombetta said. “To get out of those conditions in good order is important.”

Win Win Win qualified for the Kentucky Derby field after finishing third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and second in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. Win Win Win launched his career last fall with a pair of victories before finishing second behind Alwaysmining in the Dec. 29 Heft Stakes at Laurel. Trombetta has saddled one Preakness runner, Sweetnorthernsaint, who was second behind Bernardini in 2006.

Bodexpress Resumes Training for Likely Preakness Start

Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Bodexpress, who finished 14th and was placed 13th in the Kentucky Derby, returned to the track at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning. Gustavo Delgado Jr., assistant and son of trainer Gustavo Delgado, looked on as the son of Bodemeister jogged two miles in the company of a pony.

Top Racing LLC, GlobalThoroughbred and GDS Racing Stable’s Bodexpress stalked the pace Saturday whileracing three-wide before being steadied in traffic approaching the turn intothe homestretch after front-running Maximum Security drifted out suddenly.

“He was one of the affected ones,” Delgado Jr. said. “We think he could have hit the board if it wasn’t for that, the way he was developing. The most important thing is that the horse came back in good shape and is doing well.”

The final Preakness decision is “day by day.”

 “I’ve got to wait for Pops to get here to see his horse,” Delgado Jr. said. “He’ll make the decision. But the owners would like to run.”

Bodexpress is winless in six career starts but has finished second three times, including his Florida Derby effort in which he chased front-running winner Maximum Security throughout the 1 1/8-mile Triple Crown prep.

Preakness Notes: Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Laughing Fox, winner of Saturday’s Oaklawn Invitational that earned the Steve Asmussen-trained colt an entry-fees paid berth in the Preakness, arrived at Churchill Downs from Arkansas Monday and returned to the track for training Wednesday.

Also galloping at Churchill were Preakness prospects Owendale and Signalman, who finished first and third, respectively, in the April 13 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland.

Kenny McPeek, trainer of Signalman, said Tuesday’s news that adjudged Kentucky Derby winner Country House will not run in the Preakness did not change things.

“Not really,” he said. “It was going to be a tough race either way. I mean, there are some good horses coming back in there. The ones that skipped the Derby are nice horses, as well. It’s not going to be a giveaway at all.”

Other Preakness prospects include: Improbable, fifth-placed-fourth in the Kentucky Derby; Bourbon War, the Fountain of Youth (G2) runner-up and Florida Derby fourth-place finisher whose trainer Mark Hennig reported Wednesday that Irad Ortiz Jr. has accepted the mount; Alwaysmining, who extended his winning streak to six races in the Federico Tesio at Laurel Park on April 20; and Anothertwistafate, runner-up in the Lexington and the Sunland Derby (G3) in his last two races.

About Pimlico Race Course

Legendary Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the Middle Jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed, American Pharoah and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.

The Stronach Group is North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, home of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at david.joseph@marylandracing.com or call 954.658.7156.