Keeneland news: War of Will 'getting better' for Kentucky Derby

Keeneland Barn Notes
April 19, 2019 12:47pm
Gary Barber’s 2019 Kentucky Derby contender War of Will breezed five furlongs Friday in 1:00.20 over a sealed muddy surface at Keeneland when the track opened at 5:30 a.m. In company with maiden winner Battle of Memphis, War of Will clocked splits of :24.40 and :48.60 and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:13.60.

“He trained beautifully all week, and he definitely has progressed from his last breeze,” David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, said. “All indications were that he would go exceptionally good today, and we saw that. We couldn’t be any happier. All systems are go at the moment.”

With 60 qualifying points, War of Will has a guaranteed place in the Derby starting gate.

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

On April 13 at Keeneland, War of Will breezed 5 furlongs from the gate in :59, the best of 44 at the distance.

”Each day he seems to be getting better,” Carroll said. “He cooled out beautifully this morning. (Track Superintendent Javier Barajas) put a good seal on the track and it had a really good bottom on it today. He does a tremendous job on the track.”

Carroll said no decision has been made about when War of Will would ship to Churchill Downs.

Three Chimneys Farm and Fern Circle Stables’ Restless Rider, runner-up in the Central Bank Ashland (G1) on April 6, was scheduled to van to Churchill Downs Friday afternoon to continue training for an expected run in the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 3, according to Patrick Gilligan, assistant to trainer Kenny McPeek.

Also scheduled to ship to Louisville was stablemate Signalman, third-place finisher in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2). Owned by the partnership of Tommie Lewis, Steve Crabtree, Dean Demaree, David Bernsen, Jim Chambers and Magdalena Racing, Signalman would need two defections from horses under consideration for the Derby be in the starting gate for the May 4 race.


Trainer Rusty Arnold said Friday morning that Giant’s Causeway winner Morticia could make her next start in the $125,000 Unbridled Sidney Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 2.

“I am probably not ruling out the Churchill race because she came out of her last race so good,” Arnold said of the 5-year-old mare, who has earned nearly $600,000 in her career.

Owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr., Morticia finished second in last year’s Unbridled Sidney after finishing third in the Giant’s Causeway. …

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who sustained a fractured right collarbone in a spill at Fair Grounds on March 2, has been cleared to resume riding.


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