The 144th Preakness S. (G1) win by War of Will marked the 100th time that a Kentucky-bred won the middle leg of the Triple Crown and topped a terrific day of stakes results for Kentucky horses at Pimlico.
After a his much-publicized trouble in the May 4th Kentucky Derby (G1), War of Will came back with a superb performance in the Preakness. Breaking from post one like he did at Churchill Downs, the War Front colt got a much cleaner trip this time, stalking the pace most of the way before coming through an opening on the rail at the top of the stretch and pulling clear to win by 1 1/4-lengths in 1:54.34.
The morning after his victory, trainer Mark Casse was asked about running in the Belmont S. (G1) on June 8th.
“It’s the third leg of the Triple Crown, who doesn’t want to win it?” Casse said. “There are only three Triple Crown races, and they’re pretty important. I think if you can do it you should do it.”
War of Will, owned by Gary Barber, has now earned $1.491,569 and became racing’s latest millionaire with the win. His record is 4-1-1 from 10 starts and includes victories in the Risen Star S. (G2) and LeComte S. (G3) earlier this year.
War of Will was bred by Flaxman Holdings and is out of Visions of Clarity (IRE) who is the dam of multiple stakes winner Tacticus (A. P. Indy) and is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Spinning World.
Saturday’s card at Pimlico featured eight stakes, with six of them going to Kentucky-breds, including a pair for Calumet Farm, who won the $100,000 James Murphy S. with their English Channel homebred English Bee, and Lexitonian, another homebred by Speightstown, who won the $200,000 Chick Lang S. (G3).
English Channel also tallied a stakes double when Mitchell Road, a homebred of J V Shields, Jr., won the Gallorette S. (G3).
New York Central, a gray son of Tapit, took the Maryland Sprint S. (G3) very impressively. He is owned by his breeder SF Racing, in partnership with WinStar Farm and China Horse Club International.
The stakes action kicked off with the Sir Barton S., won Uncle Mo’s King for a Day. Yet another homebred, he races for Red Oak Stable.
In the Dixie (G2) run just before the Preakness, Catholic Boy returned to action for the first time since November and showed his class with a half-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile turf contest. Bred by Fred Hetrich III and John Fielding, Catholic Boy is by More Than Ready out of the Bernardini mare Song of Bernadette.