Gary Barber’s War of Will earned 60 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby series and sits in 12th place on the leaderboard in anticipation of his Run for the Roses on May 4. The Mark Casse trainee is a two-time graded stakes winner this campaign and he looks like an interesting longshot in his chase for Derby glory.
War of Will was Grade-1 placed on the lawn as a juvenile and concluded his creditable two-year-old season with a maiden win at Churchill Downs while making his dirt debut. The Kentucky-bred appreciated the surface change and rolled home to convincing wins in both the Risen Star Stakes (G2) and Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds to start 2019.
The colt was bred in the Bluegrass State by Flaxman Holdings Ltd. and fetched a bid of $298,625 at the Arqana Breeze-Up Sale at Deauville from Justin Casse. He is by top global sire War Front, who from 10 crops to race is responsible for more than 80 stakes winners and eight individual champions. His progeny have been wildly successful both in the United States and abroad, performing at the highest level on any surface they race upon.
War Front is by the remarkable Danzig and out of the stakes-winning Rubiano mare Starry Dreamer. This makes him a half-brother to dual Grade 2 queen Teammate, multiple Grade 3 victor Ecclesiastic and stakes star Riviera Cocktail.
War of Will is out of the stakes-winning Sadler’s Wells mare Visions of Clarity. He is a half-brother to Group 1 winner Pathfork, as well as two-time stakes hero Tacticus (not to be confused with Wood Memorial [G2] star Tacitus).
Visions of Clarity counts herself as a half-sister to the brilliant Spinning World, who concluded his sensational career by conquering the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) and was twice named a European champion. This outstanding female line traces back to foundation mare Best in Show, the 1982 Broodmare of the Year.
War of Will is bred to be great and he has looked the part on a few occasions during his sophomore season. The three-year-old bay had a major hiccup in the Louisiana Derby (G2) most recently when finishing ninth, though he has trained swiftly following his Fair Grounds flop and his oft-conservative conditioner wouldn’t point him towards Churchill Downs unless the colt was fit and healthy.
The Kentucky Derby contender has an abundance of class throughout his bloodlines and 1 1/4 miles should be within his scope if he is good enough.
PHOTO: War of Will wins the Risen Star Stakes (c) Holly M. Smith Photography