(War of Will winning the G2 Risen Star Stakes / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
|Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Last Race||Next Race||Comments|
|1||Game Winner||Bob Baffert||Joel Rosario||1st in Breeders’Cup Juvenile||G2 San Felipe Stakes on 3/9/19||Undefeated 2YO Champ|
|2||War of Will||Mark Casse||Tyler Gaffalione||1st in the G2 Risen Star||G2 Louisiana Derby on 3/23/19||Wow. Again. Next.|
|3||Improbable||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||1st in Cash Call Futurity||G2 San Felipe Stakes on 3/9/19||Yet To Be Tested|
|4||Instagrand||Jerry Hollendorfer||Drayden Van Dyke||1st in Best Pal Stakes||G2 San Felipe Stakes on 3/9/19||Spectacular Until Shelved|
|5||Dream Maker||Mark Casse||Florent Geroux||1st in FG Allowance||G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3/9/19||Maybe Most Raw Talent|
|6||Roadster||Bob Baffert||Mike Smith||2nd in Del Mar Futurity||Undecided||Training Really Well for Next|
|7||Maximus Mischief||Robert E. Reid, Jr.||Jose Ortiz||3rd in G2 Holy Bull||G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on 3/2/19||Too Good To Give Up On|
|8||Mucho Gusto||Bob Baffert||Joe Talamo||1st in G3 Robert B. Lewis||Undecided||Coming On Strong|
|9||Gunmetal Gray||Jerry Hollendorfer||Mike Smith||2nd in Robert B. Lewis Stakes||G2 San Felipe Stakes on 3/9/19||Despite Cut, He’s Back|
|10||Standard Deviation||Chad Brown||Irad Ortiz||2nd in GP Allowance||G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on 3/2/19||Watch Out|
|11||Country House||Bill Mott||Luis Saez||2nd in the G2 Risen Star||G2 Louisiana Derby on 3/23/19||Green, but Talented|
|12||Galilean||Jerry Hollendorfer||Flavien Pratt||1st in California Cup||Undecided||Wow Time in Cal Cup|
|13||Long Range Toddy||Steve Asmussen||Richard Eramia||3rd in G3 Southwest Stakes||Undecided||Better Than Looked|
|14||Sparky Ville||Jeff Bonde||Joel Rosario||1st in G2 San Vicente Stakes||G2 San Felipe Stakes on 3/9/19||Getting Better|
|15||Mihos||James Jerkens||John Velazquez||5th in G2 Holy Bull Stakes||G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on 3/2/19||Another Shot|
|16||Signalman||Ken McPeek||Brian Hernandez||1st in KY Jockey Club Stakes||G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3/9/19||Long Delay|
|17||Well Defined||Kathleen O’Connell||Pablo Morales||1st in Sam F. Davis Stakes||G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3/9/19||Speedy Type|
|18||Harvey Wallbanger||Ken McPeek||Brian Hernandez||1st in G2 Holy Bull Stakes||G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on 3/2/19||Must Step Up Next Out|
|19||Bourbon War||Mark Hennig||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||1st in GP Allowance||G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on 3/2/19||My Longshot Special|
|20||Knicks Go||Ben Colebrook||Albin Jimenez||5th in G3 Sam F.Davis Stakes||G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3/9/19||What Happened?|
|1||Hidden Scroll||Bill Mott||Joel Rosario||1st in GP MSW||G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on 3/2/19||Another Justify? Not Me|
|2||Anothertwistafate||Blaine D. Wright||Juan Hernandez||1st in El Camino Real Derby||Undecided||Won by 7. Son of Scat Daddy|
|3||Roiland||Tom Amoss||James Graham||3rd in the G2 Risen Star||G2 Louisiana Derby on 3/23/19||If Breaks Better? Watch Out|
|4||Our Braintrust||Mark Casse||Jose Lezcano||3rd in G3 Withers Stakes||G2 Rebel Stakes on 3/16/19||Didn’t Finish Strong Enough|
|5||Tax||Danny Gargan||Junior Alvarado||1st in G3 Withers Stakes||Gotham Stakes on 3/9/19||Guts|
|6||Dessman||Bob Baffert||Flavien Pratt||2nd in G2 San Vicente Stakes||Undecided||Deep Bench|
|7||Global Campaign||Stanley Hough||Luis Saez||1st in GP Allowance||Undecided||Need to See Again|
|8||Mr. Money||W. Bret Calhoun||Gabriel Saez||7th in G2 Risen Star Stakes||G2 Louisiana Derby on 3/23/19||Dull. Maybe Needed a Race?|
|9||Kingly||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||2nd in El Camino Real Derby||Undecided||Beaten 7 lengths. Ouch|
Here’s a look at “The Pressbox’s” Kentucky Derby Rankings” — Edition #2. Not a lot of movement, but definitely some — after the impressive performance of War of Will in the G2 Risen Star Stakes and the emergence of both Galilean in the California Cup and Anothertwistafate in the El Camino Real Derby over the weekend.
I don’t know yet what to make of the G3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Watched the race several times now, and, to be honest, I don’t know what to think. Or opine. Or what the horses that ran in it are truly like. For me, the most impressive run in the entire deal may have come from Long Range Toddy, who rallied along the rail to be third. He was the only one making up any ground or posting any speed at the end of the affair, and with a little better luck may have been good enough to be better placed. But that may be a stretch, too.
It was, for me, purely Ho. And his entry mate Hum.
The real tests are still to come, obviously. And, the real horses with a chance to change history on the “First Saturday in May” may be still in their respective stalls waiting for the calendar to flip, and the gates to pop.
But, for my money?
The real deal right now is War of Will.
This son of War Front has yet to be tested on the dirt, or at the Fair Grounds. He was overpowering in the LeComte Stakes. He was overpowering again in the G2 Risen Star this past Saturday. And, that came from the far outside, #14 post position — which has been a death knell for most every other horse to have ever sprung from that slot position.
Yet, it was no issue for War of Will. He looks powerful. He looks speedy enough. And, he looks like he can finish. So far, distance has proven to be no issue. No sweat. no strain.
It will be interesting to see who shows up in Louisiana to contest him in the G2 Louisiana Derby next.
Could it be Country House, runner-up in the Risen Star, who tries him again?
Maybe. But I am not buying the hype that “if he had run straight,” or “if he had not been so green,” that the colt would have won the race.
That is more horse manure than fact.
In my view?
Country House was not going past War of Will in a million years, or another trip around the racetrack. The winner was the winner. Pure. Simple. And, in kick-ass style.
Now, that does not mean that Country House can’t get better.
And, it does not mean that War of Will can’t regress.
Surely, both are possible.
But last Saturday? War of Will whipped Country House and made him like it.
And, for now, War of Will is the one making the run at the 2YO Champ Game Winner, and make a serious run up the ladder of contenders. By the way, Game Winner worked at Santa Anita this morning (Tuesday — Feb. 19) for trainer Bob Baffert. He went 7 furlongs in 1:25 flat at “The Great Race Place,” and was the only horse on the day to clock a time at that distance.
Yet, for now, War of Will is the horse on the move, for my money.
Here’s a closer look at what others are saying:
(Kentucky House of Representatives Speaker David Osborne and Loren Hebel-Osborne)
“Thanks for even including me in a response opinion… I would move Knicks Go out of the top twenty and I would definitely put Hidden Scroll on. I’m biased about Well Defined because he gave me a nice payday. Otherwise — not gonna argue about your top choices. War of Will is super impressive thus far, but how do you knock Game Winner out of number one spot given’s he’s done nothing wrong!
“Can’t wait to read further :)”
Jonathan Lintner, HorseRacingNation and former turf writer for the “Louisville Courier-Journal”:
“With news today that Improbable MAY run in the San Felipe against Game Winner and Instagrand, look for that to be a very short—think four or five-field.
“War of Will’s victory in the Risen Star was impressive inasmuch as he survived that pace better than all of the other front-runners. He’s a lock to win the Louisiana Derby unless a defector from Gulfstream or Oaklawn gets in the field.
“I’m still high on Mucho Gusto and hope he’ll try his luck out East.”