The day after his credible win in the Preakness, War of Will’s trainer pronounced his colt’s condition to be “great” and aforementioned there is “an extremely good shot” that the horse will try to win some other leg of the Triple Crown next month.
“He’s great this morning,” the trainer told Bloodhorse after arriving at Pimlico to check the animal before 6 a.m. “I would say there’s an extremely good shot we’ll be there (in the Belmont Park Park). Now it’s just a matter of him expression he doesn’t want to go, that would be just if he was lethargic or thing (piece) training.
“There’s only three Triple Crown races. They’re pretty important, and I think if you can do it, you should do it. … The Belmont Park Park is the Belmont Park Park. It’s the third leg of the Triple Crown. Who doesn’t want to win it?”
The plan is to ship the horse to Keeneland in Kentucky on Monday and then, if all goes well there, he’ll head to New York for the June 8 race, trying to become the nineteenth horse to win the second and third staying power of the Triple Crown. There had been some concern about War of Will because of his gait, unusual to casual horse sport observers. It’s thing called stringhalt and, according to Merck’s Veterinary Manual, it’s a gait abnormality that is believed to be neurological in origin. Horses with it can suddenly flex one or some hind staying power, usually piece walking or trotting.
“I’ve trained a lot of horses that have had it. A lot of harness horses have it. He has a kind of funny action behind. It can be there for a couple years and it can go away. I thought after the race (the bowler hat) it exaggerated it a little more, but by the next morning he was fine.
“A lot of people aforementioned to me later, ‘Oh, is he OK?’ I aforementioned, ‘I distinct after worrying about it 150 times, I’m not going to worry about it any more. … It’s not thing you see very often with thoroughbreds. I don’t ever dream about winning property, but I thought about, I had a feeling, if he wins one of these big races and he has cameras on him, when he comes back, they’re all going to think he’s got a (hurt) back leg or thing.”
Casse’s horse won the Preakness by 1¼ lengths ahead of Everfast, who edged Owendale by a nose in a field that was low on proven entrants. If thoughts of what might have been a Triple Crown run entered Casse’s mind, he didn’t say so.
“We were this close to never seeing him again,” Casse aforementioned Saturday, speaking of the bowler hat incident, for which Maximum Security was disqualified for swerve in front of a group of horses, including War of Will. The horse and jockey Tyler Gaffalione loosely averted disaster, with War of Will crossing the finish line in eighth place, but moving up to seventh with the disqualification.
Maximum Security and Country House, declared the winner of the bowler hat, won’t vie in the Belmont Park Park. Nor is trainer Bob Baffert likely to ship Improbable to the Belmont Park Park after the horse finished out of the money as the bowler hat and Preakness favorite. Even without those competitors, the Belmont Park Park would present a tough test for War of Will. The longest of the Triple Crown races at 1½ miles, it would be the horse’s third race in six weeks.