War of Will Returns to His Home Base: Keeneland

(War of Will training before the KY Derby / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

Gary Barber’s War of Will, who won the $1.5 million Preakness (G1) at Pimlico on Saturday, has arrived return home — to trainer Mark Casse’s barn at Keeneland.

The 3-year-old War Front colt, a candidate for the Belmont (G1) on June 8, has been at Keeneland several times during his career with Casse’s assistant David Carroll.

Carroll was thrilled to have War of Will back at Keeneland to prepare for his next race.

“He’s just run in the Kentucky Derby (G1); he’s just run in the Preakness. He’s fit as a fiddle,” Carroll said. “We’ll train him nice and quietly. He’ll have an easy week, and we’ll take it from there.

“I’m going to be Mark’s eyes and ears. The horse will tell us what he needs to do.”

While plans are not certain, Carroll said War of Will might ship to New York about 10 days before the Belmont and “have an easy work over the surface – just acclimate to the surroundings.”

Carroll’s wife, Kim, who is an exercise rider for Casse, accompanied War of Will to Pimlico. Carroll said he watched the Preakness on TV with their son, Declan.

“It was terrific not just for me but for the whole team – anyone associated with him,” Carroll said about War of Will’s victory. “Just for him to show what he’s capable of; have a nice, clean trip and run the race we all thought he was capable of. The emotions were overwhelming.”

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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