ELMONT, N.Y. — Grade 1 Preakness Stakes winner War of Will went back to the track for the first time since his classic triumph, turning in an easy jog at Keeneland on Thursday, May 23.
Getting the bay colt's energy reserves replenished following the first two legs of the Triple Crown is the main objective for David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, in preparing War of Will for an expected run in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, slated for Saturday, June 8.
Carroll said the son of War Front would have an easy time of things this week before likely shipping to New York approximately 10 days before the race and having a workout over the Belmont main track.
"He was happy to jog and right now we're just building up his energy," said Carroll. "He was good. He felt great soundness wise. I'm sure in a couple days he'll be wanting to do a bit more. But it was good to get him back under tack."
It has been an eventful few weeks for War of Will, beginning with his highly-publicized run in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve on May 4 where he nearly became entangled with Maximum Security. After crossing the wire eighth and being elevated to seventh via disqualification, Gary Barber's colt showed what he could do with a clear trip when he surged up the rail to capture the Preakness by 1 ¼ lengths.
That victory marked the first win in a Triple Crown race for Casse, Barber, and jockey Tyler Gaffalione. It also sparked a wild celebration scene inside the Carroll household back in the Bluegrass.
"It was terrific not just for me but for the whole team — anyone associated with him. 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," said Carroll, who has been with the Casse barn since 2016. "The emotions were overwhelming. I watched [the Preakness] at home with my son Declan and it got pretty crazy. I'm glad no one had a camera on us."
Meanwhile, Maximum Security breezed a mile at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. on May 22. It was the first work for the Jason Servis trainee since the Kentucky Derby. The colt is not expected to run in the Belmont.
The Derby debate is not over yet as Maximum Security’s owners have filed a lawsuit to contest the decision in court.
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