Casse expects War of Will to be 'extremely tough' in Preakness Stakes

Maryland Jockey Club
May 15, 2019 02:43pm

On a crisp, sunny Wednesday morning, exercise rider Kim Carroll guided Preakness Stakes contender War of Will to the track at Pimlico Race Course with trainer Mark Casse walking close behind.


After a jog followed by a leisurely gallop around the track, Gary Barber’s War of Will was led back to the Preakness Stakes Barn, cooled down,  posed for photos, and received  a sponge bath from Casse’s crew.


All systems are go for Saturday’s $1.65 million race.


“Right now, it’s just about being happy. We’re not going for any type of fitness,” said Casse, seeking his first win in a Triple Crown race. “We’re just letting him get over the track and regain some of the energy he used in the Derby. Then, of course, we vanned here. We’re just going for leisurely gallops. He looked nice today. He relaxed a little better today than he did in Kentucky, even galloping.” 


War of Will finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and was placed seventh after Maximum Security finished first but was disqualified to 17th for interference. Country House finished second but was declared the winner.


War of Will won the LeComte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) but ran ninth in the Louisiana Derby (G2). In the Kentucky Derby, War of Will checked heading into the final turn in tight quarters with Maximum Security and did not get back into contention.


For the Preakness, Casse is hoping jockey Tyler Gaffalione can be “somewhere farther off the rail so he (War of Will) can relax.”


“We want him close, but some of his best races have been outside. So we’d like to see him outside, and it looks like there’s fair amount of speed out there [in the Preakness].


All is good, said Casse, adding that “unless something changes in the next few days, I think we’re going to be extremely tough.”


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