Owned by the Coolmore connections of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier, The Great War was initially based in Ireland with trainer Aidan O’Brien and made his first seven starts overseas, winning thrice. He shipped to the U.S. for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last fall and recorded a respectable fourth behind top Kentucky Derby contenders Texas Red, Carpe Diem and Upstart.
The Great War remained stateside afterward and was transferred to trainer Wesley Ward. He’s been training this winter on the Polytrack at Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky and made his 2015 reappearance in the 6 ½-furlong 96 Rock at that oval on January 31, easily defeating a group of overmatched rivals by a 7 1/4 –length margin in front-running fashion.
By the outstanding stallion War Front, who stands for a $150,000 stud fee in 2015, The Great War was bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm. He sold for $1 million at the 2013 Keeneland September sale.
The well-bred bay colt is out of the Pulpit mare Guide, who is a sister to three stakes winners. This is the immediate female family of multiple Grade 1 winner and sire Zensational; and multiple Grade 2 winner Departing, an earner of more than $1.5 million.
The Great War registered a solid 97 BRIS Speed rating when making his 2015 bow and will stretch out to two turns for his upcoming starts, most likely the March 1 John Battaglia Memorial and March 22 Spiral Stakes (G3). Both races take place at Turfway, but the Spiral (50-20-10-5) is only one that offers points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.
Ward is a former jockey. He won two Breeders’ Cup races in 2014, the Juvenile Turf and Filly & Mare Sprint, but has never had a starter in the Kentucky Derby.