Prat Ready for Future & Shoemaker Mile

May 25, 2020

French Jockey Prat Celebrates the Weekend American-style with a United Win & a Mount in the Shoemaker Mile

Photo Credit: Santa Anita

Racing takes strange twists and turns on occasion, to wit: today, when America celebrates Memorial Day, Flavien Prat rides War of Will for trainer Mark Casse in the G1 Shoemaker Mile.

As fate has it, War of Will is the horse that was interfered with in the Kentucky Derby last May 4 when ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, resulting in the disqualification of Maximum Security from first, moving Prat and his mount, Country House, from second to first, awarding the 27-year-old Frenchman his first victory in the Run for the Roses.

War of Will finished eighth in the Derby but was promoted to seventh.

“Casse called me and asked if we’d be open to ride in the Shoemaker,” explained Prat’s agent of six years, Derek Lawson. “When the smoke cleared and we were available, I called back and said, ‘You got us.’ ”

Meanwhile, this morning, both jockey and agent were still basking in the victory glow of Saturday’s Charles Whittingham Stakes, in which Prat guided favored United to a nose triumph in arguably one of the most exciting renewals of the race named for the late, great Hall of Fame trainer.

“It was a race Charlie Whittingham would have appreciated,” Lawson said. “When you watch the head bob on the slow-motion replay, it looks like United got his head down just at the right time.

“But Flavien actually thought he got beat. Then when he came back and saw the numbers flashing (on the tote board due to the inquiry) and saw his number (five) was first, he knew he won.”

In the first five days of the recently revived meet at Santa Anita, Prat has 15 wins and 60 overall, 16 ahead of runner-up Abel Cedillo.

The Whittingham was Prat’s third stakes win this meet, giving him 74 in his career at Santa Anita, fourth among active riders behind three Hall of Fame members, Kent Desormeaux, Victor Espinoza and Mike Smith.

Amazingly, Bill Shoemaker, for whom tomorrow’s headliner is named, is the career leader in stakes wins at Santa Anita with 260. He is followed by Laffit Pincay Jr. (253), Chris McCarron (242), Gary Stevens (212), Eddie Delahoussaye (159) and Alex Solis (151), each retired and each enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

The Shoemaker is the first Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In’ Challenge Race in the United States this year, which entitles the nominated winner automatic entry into the 2020 TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on Nov. 7.

The field for the Shoemaker Mile, race 9 with a 12:30 p.m. first post time:

1. Without Parole, Irad Ortiz, Jr., 4-1

2. True Valour, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 20-1

3. Next Shares, John Velazquez, 12-1

4. Voodoo Song, Mike Smith, 12-1

5. War of Will, Flavien Prat, 4-1

Workout War of Will (Casse) 5-21-20

6. Blitzkrieg, Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1

7. Majestic Eagle, Jorge Velez, 20-1

8. Raging Bull, Joel Rosario, 7-2

Workout Raging Bull (Brown) 5-21-20

9. March to the Arch, Victor Espinoza, 6-1

Workout March to the Arch (Casse) 5-21-20

10. Neptune’s Storm, Umberto Rispoli, 15-1

11. River Boyne, Abel Cedillo, 4-1

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Finish Lines 

Authentic, Bob Baffert’s early favorite for the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on June 6, worked six furlongs this morning with Drayden Van Dyke up in 1:12 flat and “galloped out strong,” according to XBTV’s Millie Ball.

Workout Authentic (Baffert) 5-24-20

Shooters Shoot, also likely for the Derby on June 6, worked six furlongs Saturday in 1:13 for Peter Eurton, while the trainer’s Eclipse Award winner as champion two-year-old male of 2019 Storm the Court went four furlongs in 48.60. Eurton does not expect the bay son of Court Vision to race until Del Mar.

Workout Storm the Court (inside) and Absolute Unit (Eurton) 5-23-20

Baffert worked a pair of three-year-old fillies in company this morning, unbeaten Gamine and Gingham, who was second two starts back in the Grade II Las Virgenes on Feb. 2, were both clocked a half mile in 48.80.

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Recommended Viewing

Santa Anita’s Memorial Day pre-race handicapping seminar. Hosted by Tom Quigley, his guest will again be the inimitable Voice of Santa Anita, Frank Mirahmadi, who provides players with an unscripted stream of consciousness that is both entertaining and informative. “Game time” is from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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Other Workouts from XBTV

Midcourt (Shirreffs) 5-24-20

McKale (Baffert) 5-24-20

Ce Ce (McCarthy) 5-24-20

Thousand Words (Baffert) 5-23-20

Higher Power (Outside) (Sadler) 5-22-20

Toinette (Drysdale) 5-22-20

Honor A. P. (Outside) and Mobou (Shirreffs) 5-22-20

Edited Press Release

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