All trainer Mark Casse wanted for his horse- WAR OF WILL, (a casualty of interference in the KENTUCKY DERBY) was a fair shot in the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes. He got all of that, and the Win.
Gifted young jockey Tyler Gaffalione capitalized, breaking from the rail and working out a beautiful ground-saving trip en route to a 1 ¼-length Victory over long-shot EVERFAST before 131,256 fans on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.
Two weeks ago, WAR OF WILL appeared to get the worst of it from (disqualified) MAXIMUM SECURITY. In contrast, the colt that was seemingly star-crossed in the KD had everything go his way during the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.
It was hotly debated during the two weeks between the KD and Preakness just how much WAR OF WILL had left in the tank before Gaffalione was forced to check him, in order to avoid a catastrophe, and eventually finish seventh.
As far as Casse was concerned, his horse was just beginning to strut his stuff; “We had a great trip until what I call the incident,” he said. “I would like to think if it wasn’t for the incident, it would have been an interesting race down the lane.”
WARRIOR’S CHARGE was in front through three-quarters of a mile, going 1:10.56, while Gaffalione, coolly bided his time in fourth. When the wilting pacesetter began to drift off the rail, Gaffalione knew what needed to be done. So did his horse.
“I took my shot and went through there,” said the jockey. “The horse didn’t hesitate and he finished the job.”
WAR OF WILL powered home the final three-sixteenths of a mile and covered the 1 3/16-mile distance in 1:54.34. He returned $14.20 for a $2 Win wager.
Mr. Casse is regarded as one of the game’s more aggressive trainers when it comes to the frequency with which his horses run and his bold placement of them.
“I would say if all goes well, you know us. We like to run,” he said. “We’ll probably be at the Belmont.”
The Daily Racing Blog hopes he does run in the Belmont Stakes, we’d also like to see MAXIMUM SECURITY race in it as well. It would certainly give this installment of the Triple Crown Series the excitement and anticipation it sorely needs.