Preakness winner War of Will probably will skip the Travers. His trainer, Mark Casse, said on Wednesday that it is “very unlikely” that the 3-year-old horse will run in the $1.25 million Midsummer Derby on Aug. 25.
Casse has said that the next start for War of Will probably is the Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa., on Sept. 21. That race is run at 1 1/8 miles while the Travers is a 1 1/4-mile race.
Trainer Mark Casse spoke about the conversations he has had with owner Gary Barber.
“It’s been a lot of thought and talking and thinking,” he said. “If we were to go in the Travers, I just don’t think there is enough time where I can feel confident in what we are doing. So, maybe we just don’t do it.”
War of Will’s Year
War of Will has been in seven races this year, and he has three wins with four finishes outside the top three. The last two races that he was in were not good for the racehorse. He finished ninth in the Belmont Stakes on June 8 and then fifth place in the Jim Dandy on July 26.
War of Will was part of the field of horses who ran in the Kentucky Derby. He finished seventh after the disqualification of Maximum Security in the unprecedented race.
In his first two races of 2019, War of Will won the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes as well as the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds in Louisiana. After that, he ran in the Grade 1 Louisiana Derby on March 23, a race where he finished ninth after an incident. He lost his action in his hind and was never able to compete in the field.
Trainer Mark Casse did not run War of Will again until the Kentucky Derby on May 4.
“He was sharp and ready to go for the Kentucky Derby,” Casse said. “I think we are going to try and do the same thing (for the Pennsylvania Derby).”
There were 42 days that War of WIll did not race between the Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby. If he does skip over the Travers and not race until the Pennsylvania Derby, it will be 56 days that the horse will not run between the Jim Dandy and then.
“I would not say it’s 100 percent, but I would say it’s 95 percent that we won’t run in the Travers,” Casse said.
As of right now, War of Will is the only winner of any of the Triple Crown races who is a possible run in the Travers. If he skips it, there will be no winners from any of the Triple Crown legs.
Country Horse, the winner of the Kentucky Derby after the disqualification, is out for the year, while Sir Winston, the winner of the Belmont and Casse trained, is suffering from a minor injury.
Maximum Security and Others
While it is likely that War of Will will skip the Travers, there is still a possibility that Maximum Security will run. Others that are looking to take part in the race are Jim Dandy winner Tax and the second-place finisher Tacitus, Highest Honors, winner of the Curlin, Bob Baffert-trained champion Game Winner, and Code Honor, the winner of the Dwyer at Belmont Park.
Jason Servis, trainer of multiple Grade 1 winner Maximum Security, said that he won’t decide about the horse running in the Travers until Aug. 19 or 20.
“I just want to make sure he is 100 percent,” Servis said. “He’s still not there yet.”