April 16, 2024

War of Will aims for third Grade 1 triumph in Woodbine Mile

War Of Will
War of Will (center) wins the 2020 Maker's Mark Mile (G1) (Coady Photography)

Trainer Mark Casse’s goal for 2019 Preakness (G1) winner War of Will this season was a Grade 1 win on turf, which the son of War Front achieved last out in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland. There’s nothing wrong with a little padding of the record, though, which the 4-year-old will attempt to do Saturday in the C$1 million Woodbine Mile (G1), a “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) back at Keeneland in November.

“He’s coming off that nice win in the Maker’s Mark Mile and he’s trained as good as I’ve ever seen him train since that race,” said Casse, who trained champions Tepin (2016) and World Approval (2017) to victory in the Mile. “We’re expecting him to run well.”

War of Will started his career on the Woodbine turf in 2018, finishing third in his debut and a close second in the 2018 Summer.

Casse also sends up March to the Arch, who snapped a four-race losing skid when taking the Aug. 15 King Edward (G2) by 2 1/4 lengths over the course and distance.

“I was extremely impressed with his last win,” Casse said. “More importantly, he’s come back and trained very well.”

The reigning Canadian Horse of the Year, the 7-year-old mare Starship Jubilee, started her season 4-for-4 in the States but comes off of a fourth-place finish in a five-horse Diana (G1) at Saratoga against fillies and mares. Her last stakes attempt against males came in the 2017 Sky Classic (G2), in which she finished fifth of six.

Shirl’s Speight, who passed on the Kentucky Derby (G1) earlier this month after developing a cough, is the Mile wild card. The son of Speightstown has looked like a good thing this summer at the Toronto course, but has just two starts underneath him. An eight-length maiden win going 7 furlongs on the turf was followed by a 2 3/4-length score in the 1 1/16-mile Marine (G3) over the main track.

Admiralty Pier, who captured the Tampa Bay (G3) in February, has run second in the Connaught Cup (G2) and King Edward in his last two, while Value Proposition was a last-out third in the Poker (G3) for trainer Chad Brown.

Saturday’s card also includes the C$125,000 Singspiel Stakes (G3) for older horses at 1 1/4 miles on the turf. Admiralty Pier is cross-entered in the Singspiel while Tiz a Slam is back to defend his stakes title.

Also on the undercard are the C$135,000 Ontario Racing Stakes for 2-year-olds, and the C$135,000 Woodbine Cares Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, both scheduled for 5 furlongs on the inner turf.