Belmont next for Preakness winner War of Will

Trainer of Preakness winner, Mark Casse
Trainer of Preakness winner, Mark Casse

Mark Casse has described War of Will — that’s now classic winner War of Will — as “a little different” than other horses, both in talent and temperament.
“If you were walking him and you dropped the shank, he would probably stand there and look at you,” Casse said Sunday morning, basking in the War Front colt’s Preakness Stakes victory. “I don’t think he would go anywhere. But he has good energy.
“As everyone has seen, he has extremely good energy on the track.”
War of Will found room on the rail to run to a 1 3/4-length victory at Pimlico Race Course after a roughly run Kentucky Derby two weeks prior. Next, Casse said, it’s likely on to the June 8 Belmont Stakes — even with no Triple Crown sweep on the line.
“There’s only three Triple Crown races,” Casse said. “They’re pretty important. I think if you can do it, you should do it.”
Casse reminded that under similar circumstances — Classic Empire was a narrow Preakness runner-up in 2017 — he planned to saddle that one in the Belmont until injury counted him out.
“That’s us. That’s what we do. We run,” the trainer said.
War of Will hit the wire in time as deep closers Everfast and Owendale ran on to fill out the board. Neither ran in the Derby, nor did Warrior’s Charge, the Preakness pacesetter who held on for fourth in a field of 13.
“For our horse to continue, he was pretty close to the pace, and it was hot,” Casse said. “I liked the fact that even afterwards when they were galloping out, he took off again.”
In terms of others exiting the Derby, favoured Improbable ran a flat sixth, Win Win Win was right behind in seventh, and Bodexpress, the maiden, notably tossed jockey John Velazquez at the gate.
But War of Will?
“He’s tough and able to overcome things,” Casse said. “You probably saw yesterday — the Derby was very, very trying, and I was worried about that with him.”
Having discussed preliminarily with owner Gary Barber the third leg of the Triple Crown, Casse said “there’s an extremely good shot we’ll be there” in three weeks at Belmont Park.
“Now it’s just a matter of him saying he doesn’t want to go,” he added, “and that would just be that he was lethargic training.”
That would be a first for War of Will, who leaves Monday to train up to his next start at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *