Trainer Casse Says War of Will ‘No. 1 on the list’ of Three Noms; Fourteen Graded-Stakes Winners Prominent on List of 37 Nominations
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gary Barber’s War of Will is prominent on a list of 37 nominations for next Saturday’s $75,000 Sunshine Forever at Gulfstream Park, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up.
War of Will’s exploits thus far have been achieved on dirt, including a victory in the 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico last May, but the Mark Casse-trained 4-year-old son of War Front began his career with promise on turf, finishing second in the 2018 Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine.
After running four times on turf, including a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), War of Will broke through with a maiden score at Churchill Downs in his final start as a 2-year-old. War of Will went on to win the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds before finishing ninth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds and seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs..
War of Will rebounded to capture the Preakness by 1 ½ lengths, giving Casse his first success in a Triple Crown event. The Kentucky-bred colt ran four more times on dirt in 2019 with a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx being his best showing.
War of Will has breezed seven times at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, in preparation for his 2020 debut. Three of those breezes came on turf, including two ‘bullet’ moves.
War of Will is among 14 graded-stakes winners nominated to the Sunshine Forever, including Live Oak Plantation’s March to the Arch, whom Casse saddled for a victory in the Wise Dan (G2) at Churchill last June and, most recently, a third in the March 28 Appleton (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
“I could run [War of Will]. I may run March to the Arch. There’s a shot, I might supplement – although I didn’t nominate her – Got Stormy. I don’t know which one I’m going to run. I wouldn’t run all three,” said Casse, who is closely monitoring the developments in California and Kentucky. “Everything’s kind of up in the air right now. All three of them are ready. Like I said, there’s no way I’m going to run all three. I don’t know if I’d run two against each other. Right now, War of Will is No. 1 on the list to go.”
Gary Barber’s Got Stormy, a multiple Grade 1 stakes-winning 5-year-old mare, most recently finished second in the Kilroe Mile (G1) at Santa Anita March 7.
Trainer Michael Maker nominated seven horses, including Paradise Farms Corp.’s Bemma’s Boy, who captured the March 28 Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream, and WSS Racing LLC and Hooties Racing LLC’s Mr. Dumas, who notched a victory in the Commonwealth (G3) at Churchill last fall.
Trainer Todd Pletcher is represented by four horses on the nominations list, including The Elkstone Group LLC’s Social Paranoia, who notched a victory in the Appleton (G3), and Starlight Racing’s Sombeyay, who won the Feb. 29 Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream.
Sam-Son Farm’s El Tormenta, who captured the Woodbine Mile (G1) last fall; Leonard Green’s A Thread of Blue, who captured the Palm Beach (G3) at Gulfstream on his way to winning the $1 million Saratoga Derby last year; and Robert LaPenta and partners’ Hawkish, who won the Penn Mile (G2) at Penn National last June; have also been nominated to the Sunshine Forever.
Gulfstream Park Press
Photo: Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, War Of Will won the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes. Credit: The Maryland Jockey Club