War Court Goes Long in G3 Valedictory 

November 30, 2023

War Court and jockey Christopher Husbands winning Race 6 on August 24, 2023, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

TORONTO, Ont. – The $150,000 Valedictory Stakes (G3), set for 1 ½ miles on the Tapeta this Sunday at Woodbine, has attracted 14 starters, including War Court. 

The marathon test, for 3-year-olds and up, will mark the 11th career start for the son of Declaration of War-Kindersley, who has posted three wins, a second and two thirds in his past seven starts.

Trained by Layne Giliforte for owner and breeder Chiefswood Stables, War Court won his final two starts of 2022 and notched his third career victory, by 3 ½ lengths over 1 1/16 miles on the Tapeta on August 24th.

In his latest start, the Durham Cup (G3) on October 7, the Kentucky-bred finished fifth, 3 ½ lengths behind the winner, in the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta event.

“I thought he ran well for his first stakes race,” said Giliforte. “It was a pretty decent group of horses, and he ran a very credible race for his first time against that type. As obvious as it is, the start before, on August 24th, was so impressive. It was a competitive group, and he was able to draw away from them.”

After a pair of tough results, eighth and seventh, respectively, to launch his career in the summer of 2021, War Court finished fourth in his return to racing the following August. One race later, he broke his maiden in a 1 1/16-mile Tapeta race at Woodbine. 

Giliforte, who has 913 career wins, is pleased with how War Court has continued to elevate his game. 

“He has turned out to be quite consistent. He’s a lightly raced horse and we’ve tried to be selective with spots. He’s a horse that comes from off the pace and has an aggressive late-pace kick, which is always a timing issue. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it isn’t, depending on the pace. He tries every time, he’s consistent, and he’s talented. I think the distance of the race is something we are excited about. It’s something that speaks to his stamina.”

The Valedictory has been on the radar for a long time. 

“We’ve always wanted to run him in this race, so getting the chance this year, I think he is going to flourish with the distance. He has shown us a lot the past two years.”

War Court has also shown a spirited side in the barn since he arrived on the Woodbine backstretch.

A green cone sits outside his stall. 

“He’s a bit of an aggressive type. He’ll come at you. I joke with the groom Lindsay [Robinson] all the time – he doesn’t like me. I’ve tried to pet him and go in his stall, and he comes at me with both ends. I watch the groom duck under his head, and War Court doesn’t do anything. I duck under his head, and he comes at me with his jaws wide open.”

Other starters include multiple graded stakes winner Millie Girl, graded stakes winner Palazzi, multiple graded stakes placed English Conqueror, Lake Ontario Stakes winner Jim’s Hope, and graded stakes placed Luckman, So High (GB), and Win for the Money.

Last year, Wentru and Who’s the Star dead-heated for first in the Valedictory. Pumpkin Rumble won consecutive editions, in 2018 and 2019. Try On, ridden by Alf Bavington, won the first running in 1952.  

First post for Sunday is 1:05 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com, bet365, and the Dark Horse Bets app.  

Valedictory Stakes (G3, Race 7) 

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – Prideofdistinction – Jose Campos – Martin Drexler 

2 – Conglomerate – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse 

3 – Jim’s Hope – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Paul Buttigieg 

4 – So High (GB) – Kazushi Kimura – Naipaul Chatterpaul 

5 – Luckman – Jason Hoyte – Vito Armata 

6 – War Court – Christopher Husbands – Layne Giliforte  

7 – Rapper Zapper (S) – Keveh Nicholls – Michael Doyle  

8 – Win for the Money – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse 

9 – Seventyseven Stone – Jeffrey Alderson – Paul Lepiane 

10 – Collective Force – Ryan Munger – Rachel Halden 

11 – Millie Girl – Rafael Hernandez – Catherine Day Phillips 

12 – Palazzi – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse 

13 – Meyer – Eswan Flores – Martin Drexler 

14 – English Conqueror – Justin Stein – Darwin Banach 

@Tracking_Trips yessir!

Jason Heidl @jasonHeidl View testimonials