As a 2-year-old, War of Will was looking like a fair to mediocre turf horse, having gone 0-for-4 on the surface. But trainer Mark Casse switched him to the dirt, and he won his maiden late in 2018.
Enter 2019. The son of War Front took the G3 Lecomte Stakes by four lengths, and all eyes were turned to the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Louisiana Fair Grounds to see if he could duplicate his effort.
And although the length of victory was not as wide, the effort was just as impressive, as War of Will fought off Country House to win by 2 1/4 lengths.
The colt had to make up some ground as he started from an outside post position, and jockey Tyler Gaffalione sent him toward the front as the horse stalked front runner Gun It
He waited patiently, and then made his move entering the far turn, easily passing the pace setter. He then settled comfortably in the lead entering the homestretch, and despite hard charges by Country House and Roiland, he won with ease, dazzling the crowd with another impressive display.
War of Will’s win probably placed him in the Kentucky Derby, since this was the first race to award 50 points to the winner.
“For a big horse, he has tremendous speed,” trainer Mark Casse told Thoroughbred Daily News. “He had to hit the gas a little to get over, so that got him a little riled up. It’s like hitting the gas and trying to hit stop. They’re not as easy to stop as a car. He got him rolling and probably made the lead a little earlier than we would have liked. He’s done this a few times early on. When he gets the lead, he starts wandering. If he keeps winning, there will be some big targets for him to chase.”
Next stop for War of Will: The Louisiana Derby On March 23.