Sunday, June 23, 2019

Horse Racing - An Industry At The Tipping Point: PART I


©2019 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

The death of 30 horses at Santa Anita Park since January and the Stronach Group’s banning of Hall of Fame Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer from racing at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, highlights the intense scrutiny that the Horse Racing Industry has received in recent months.
That intense scrutiny by track and state investigators and the media has shown the national spotlight on trainers and how they manage the horses in their care.
In a CNN interview by Nick Watt, Scott Herbertson, a professional gambler and horse owner, said: “I think it’s a few bad apples that make us all look bad, you got guys pushing horses beyond their limits and causing these catastrophic accidents.”
Jockey Club President James Gagliano said: “We think that we are at a tipping point and this is America’s legacy sport. But it has to look inside and make some substantial changes.”
As I read the news about the horse deaths, I’m reminded of another time and era when horses and racing were viewed more as a sport and not a commercial enterprise or product.
In a 1979 interview by Michael Horacek for The Thoroughbred Record, noted author and developer of Dosage, Franco Varola, stated: “The racecourse should a center of equine life. I fear we shall end up with horrible metropolitan tracks. I fear we shall let the Turf be covered by empty Coke cans and garbage during mass Saturday meetings with punters shouting, ‘Come on, Number Seven!...Sometimes, I admit, I tend to be depressed by the Turf changing itself from sport into industry, by the clandestine betting, by the atmosphere so different from that of my younger days.”
And, in his book Typology of the Racehorse (page 231), Varola wrote: "…the Thoroughbred is sociologically significant because, as often repeated in this book, it is a microcosm of man and repeat’s man’s motives and trends in the various areas and times.”
Burchard von Oettingen was the Director of the German Royal Stud at the turn of the Twentieth Century and in his book Horse Breeding In Theory and Practice (page 194), he wrote: “Our present day Thoroughbred is the outcome of race propositions, and of the manner of breeding and training, which those propositions entail. These propositions are made on human understanding, and are influenced by human misunderstanding, and what is much worse, by many side interests. Only by clever and purpose-answering race propositions, as well as by reasonable breeding and rational training, shall we be able to still more improve our Thoroughbreds.”
Anyone who’s followed my blog for any length of time knows that much of my study of Thoroughbreds has been greatly influenced by Varola, Oettingen and Federico Tesio who was a world-renowned owner, breeder and trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses. I’ve written numerous blogs about them and chronicled their story in Horse Profiling: The Secret to Motivating Equine Athletes – a book I co-authored with Kerry Thomas, founder of the Thomas Herding Technique.
At this point, I thought it fitting to look back in time to see what Oettingen wrote about training horses in Horse Breeding In Theory and Practice (pages 399-404).


Training.

I HAVE already mentioned in previous chapters the importance of individualisation in the treatment of both breeding material and foals. It is quite evident that when training horses, whether for the purpose of racing or hunting or other performances, it is most important to individualise, and it is therefore impossible to give a hard and fast rule. I only intend to give general points of view, ideas and experiences, from which each individual breeder must build up his own theory according to the particular requirements of his available material, the training track and climate, etc. The difficulty of the art of training lies in the fact that its object, the horse, like all other living creatures, is endowed with many powerful characteristics, rendering a machine-like and uniform treatment impossible. If the horse were a machine, then training would not be an art, and racing tests to the lifeless clock time would be all that would be required. Furthermore, the work of the trainer is made difficult by the task of having to obtain the highest possible degree of fitness by a fixed time, i.e., the race day. The object of all training consists in removing all superfluous fat and connective tissues, in strengthening the muscles and sinews, and in clearing the wind. In order to obtain this result the horses must be watched carefully and correctly every day and properly dealt with. The trainer's eye is the cause of horses being fit or unfit.

The suitable English and Irish soil, as well as the admirable racing tracks —given by the grace of God—especially at Newmarket, has led the Englishmen also in this branch into the comfortable and tenacious conservatism which is just as dangerous and hostile to all progress as was the former conservatism of artillerymen with reference to breech-loaders not invented by them. It has taken a long time before the simplest doctrines of hygiene could remove much of the evil in English training. The distinct successes of the Americans in training and riding during the course of the last ten years have caused Englishmen to think and reform where necessary. In both training and riding, Americans, who are not bound down by tradition, and who are not spoiled by English pastures and galloping grounds, obtained great successes through their practical ideas and almost inconsiderate leaning to what is natural. Moreover, the Americans have reason to be proud of the fact that Old England, with its long history of classical races, has had to learn such a rough lesson from them!

(a) The Training Methods.

The training methods of the eighteenth century, that is, at the time of Eclipse, born 1st April, 1764, had to adapt themselves to the following circumstances: —
1. There were only a few attainable racecourses for each horse, and the racing season was much shorter than it is today, often only three months.

2. In most cases only four-year-old and older horses ran. Three-year olds only since 1756, and two-year-olds only since 1773.

3. There were no railways, and consequently the visiting of the different racecourses entailed long journeys on foot.

4. Most races were run for a distance of 2 to 4 English miles, with heats, the weights for six-year-olds being 12 stone.

At that time it was very usual to keep horses in training for only three to four months, and to send them for the rest of the time to grass. After the grazing, training began with weekly physics and bleedings. Then the horse received about two sweating gallops weekly, over distances of 2 to 6 English miles. During the sweating gallops with woollen rugs, some parts of the body which had too much flesh very often—for example, the neck—were covered with extra heavy rugs. In these gallops the last quarter of a mile had to be ridden a little more quick, that means at half speed. After the sweating gallop the nose and mouth were washed, then the horses were brought into the stable or in the so-called rubbing-down house, and there covered with several woollen rugs until the sweat oozed out in sufficient quantities. The sweat was then removed with a sweating knife, and the horse rubbed dry by four persons with woollen cloths, then covered with fresh rugs and given walking exercise for half an hour. Some days a week complete rest days were usual, whilst long walking exercise, as is common today, was almost unknown. The usual daily canter or gallop was over 2 to 4 English miles, often without a leading horse, and in anv case at a slower pace than is usual to-day. The word "canter," meaning a quiet gallop, arises from the slow manner in which the pilgrims walked to the grave of Archbishop Thomas Becket at Canterbury, murdered 1170.

The development of training in the last century, after the coming into prominence of the classical races for two and three-year-olds, proceeded as follows:—

1. According to Darvill, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, following sweating gallops were given. For yearlings over 2 miles, for two-year-olds over 2½ miles, for three-year-olds over 3 to 3½ miles, for four-year-olds over 4 to 4½ miles, and for 5 and 6 year-olds over 5 miles.
2. The sweating gallops gradually became more scarce, and were held over somewhat shorter distances. The sweating gallops of two-year-olds (at the beginning once weekly, over 1 English mile) gradually ceased altogether.

3. Sweating gallops at the beginning of the nineteenth century were given in addition to the daily work, i.e., in addition to the quick work or so-called gallop. Later on there was no quick gallop on the days of the sweating gallops.

4. Opening medicines, called physics, became more rare, and are finally limited to one or two doses a year, especially in spring, shortly before the beginning of quicker work, i.e., beginning as they are transferred from the straw-bed to the racecourse.

5. The daily work consisted of 1½ to 2 hours in the morning, and about 1 hour in the afternoon. This afternoon work, however, does not seem to have been generally practised, and ceases almost everywhere towards the end of the nineteenth century.

6. The work in the forenoon for the two-year-olds consisted of a short walk and trot, then two quiet canters of about 1,000 metres, and then a somewhat quicker canter of about 1,200 metres, the latter once or twice weekly, at full or half speed. The older horses cantered and galloped just as often, but over longer distances. The distance was gradually increased to the distance of the racecourse, i.e., extending eventually over 4 miles, equal to 6,437 metres. In Autumn the yearlings cantered two or three times daily, each time 600 to 800 metres, and in the late autumn were tried up to 800 metres with the assistance of an older leading horse. The afternoon work consisted only in walking and a little trotting.

7. About the second half of the nineteenth century the work of the yearlings and of the two and three-year-olds was limited to two canters daily, of which the second canter was somewhat longer and quicker. Once or twice weekly the second canter was made almost at racing pace, in accordance with the progressive condition. The three-year-old and older horses cantered generally about 1 English mile, seldom more than 2,000 metres. Derby horses, for example, galloped at least two or three times before the race 1½ miles, equal to 2,414 metres, at full racing speed. Gallops over longer distances than 1½ English miles gradually cease altogether, even in the case of horses, for example, which were trained for the Doncaster St. Leger (distance 1 mile, 6 furlongs, 132 yards, equal to 2,937 metres).

The present day views on training are characterised as follows :—

1. Sweating gallops and physics are only applied in exceptional cases when the condition of the legs does not permit that quantity of work by which the useless fat and flesh, called in German luder, can be removed, and yet at the same time muscle can be formed. Further physics are given if a horse, in consequence of too much work, has become stale or has broken down, so that during the time of its enforced rest it may not put on too much flesh. If a broken down horse has to be blistered or fired, it is given a pill before and after the rest of four to six weeks. Where needed it is also given a physic about eight days before the race when some slight accident to a fit horse requires an important reduction of work.

2. The daily work consists in the morning of 1½ to 2½ hours' walking exercise, none or very little trotting, and two canters or gallops. In the afternoon ¾ to 1 hour's walking exercise, either led or with a man up. After the beginning of the fast work, it is calculated that under normal conditions about six weeks are sufficient to make the horse fit for racing up to I3 English miles, equal to 2,000 metres; whilst at least two months are required if the distance is IJ English miles, equal to 2,400 metres.

3. In the case of the two daily canters or gallops, the last 500 to 800 metres (or as some trainers say, the last 300 to 600 metres) should, according to the American idea, be done at medium pace, and in the case of a more advanced condition at racing pace, at first only in the second canter, later on in both. The beginning of this gallop in any case must be done at such a slow pace that one can trot alongside. This slow part of the canter may be accordingly extended up to 2,000 to 3,000 metres. Once or twice weekly, in the case of more advanced condition, the quick part of the second gallop may be extended up to 1,200 to 1,600 metres, later on up to at the most 2,000 metres, when, of course, the slow part can be very much reduced, or omitted altogether. Only few trainers are of the opinion that the gallop at racing pace may be extended up to 2,400 metres.

The idea which underlies this kind of training is that the daily gallops over short distances, at a medium or at racing pace, bring the muscles which are used for quicker work, and the lungs, better and more surely into condition than the former usual longer gallops, undertaken once or twice weekly, for which the horses were not sufficiently prepared, as the other daily work was only slow cantering.

The new method of training is supposed to effect a daily, uninterrupted and gradual improvement of condition, whilst formerly, according to the doctrine of the old trainers, every two steps forward should be counteracted 'by one in the opposite direction. Moreover, experience has taught that gallops at racing pace for longer distances than about 2,000 metres do not improve the condition, but rather the reverse. The winner of the St. Leger, 1906, Troutbeck, has, as I have been assured by his trainer, W. Waugh, never during the whole of his existence galloped or cantered over a longer distance than 2,000 metres. On the other hand, the American trainer, Walker, who gets perhaps the most out of his horses, gave his Derby candidate. Eels, several gallops at racing pace over 2,400 metres, sometimes even with relay leading horses. But even this trainer is of opinion that this distance is the extreme limit, and is even sufficient, for example, for the preparation of the Grand Prix, which is run over a distance of 3,000 metres.

In the bigger and better American racing stables, one often finds the practical arrangement of using one part of the stablemen for riding only, whilst the greater part is employed in cleaning, feeding and leading the horses. A racing stable of about 30 horses not far from New York, had, for example, only two stable boys who could ride. Besides these, the stable jockey also rode. The cleaning and feeding of the horses, as well as taking them to their daily work on the racecourse, and in the afternoon generally to the yard, was undertaken by about eight to ten young fellows who, however, never were allowed to ride. By this arrangement the two stable lads had plenty of opportunity to practise galloping, as they galloped each of their about 7 horses twice daily. It is principally owing to this very practical division of work that the Americans are in the position to produce so many good jockeys. Some of them even learn to accomplish fairly accurately the very difficult task of doing a gallop whilst training at a certain defined pace (eventually 1 mile in about 1 min. 50 sees.). In American training such tasks are very popular. The most difficult task, however, is to ride definite distances in the shortest possible time. The partisans of racing against time do not recognise, in my opinion, sufficiently the difficulties attached to same. Thev think that in our racing to a finish the art of the jockey in riding is more important than the capacity of riding in the shortest possible time. If the horse were a mere machine it would be an easy thing to get the best record by letting it go full speed ahead from start to finish. With living horses, however, the best record would certainly not be obtained by this method.

…Besides a horse's galloping performances, there are several other very remarkable signs to show how far its condition has improved. To commence with, notice must be taken how long it takes the horse to snort (clear the wind) after it has been pulled up. The sooner this happens the more forward is its condition, especially the breathing. If the horse, for example, requires a minute or more to snort, it is a sure sign that the horse has been asked to do too much in the gallop in question, i.e., a mistake has been made. If the horse is very fit and the gallop has been too short, i.e., it has been easy work for it, it takes a long time lo snort, or it does not snort at all. The length and pace of the gallop must fit the condition, so that if it clears the wind by snorting 10 to 30 seconds after being pulled up, it is a sure sign that everything is all right.

In the case of a horse which is fit the skin becomes thinner, the hair more shiny, and the flesh firmer. The latter, as well as the disappearance of useless fat, can best be noticed at the mane and on the ribs. A little easy sweating is by no means a sign of bad condition, on the contrary, a fit horse certainly sweats less but more readily, as its sweat is more liquid and its skin thinner and more readily penetrated. The sweat of a fit horse looks like clear water; on the other hand, that of an unfit one like lather, which can be most distinctly seen between the hind legs, and dries up less quickly. If the horse when galloping begins to become long, or to breathe more deeply, pressing the knees of the jockey outwards, it is a sign for the jockey to pull up.

Finally, I must add that before the race, and in order to get a perfect condition, in most cases several gallops at full speed, over not more than 2,000 metres, are required, and that the last quick gallop—which often works wonders—must be undertaken two or three days before race day. Of course, even after this last gallop the horse must do its usual two canters daily up to the day of the race. On the day of the race itself, early in the morning, give the horse 1 to 1½ hours' walking exercise, a short canter of 800 metres, and a so-called sprint for the same distance. If desired, you can do as the Americans like to—let the sprint follow the canter without any interval. About five hours before the race give the horse some oats with a little water. An hour before racing lead the horse out of the stable…


(In Part II, we’ll take another look back in time at Oettingen’s “Conclusions and Propositions as to the Improvement and Breeding of Thoroughbreds.)


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Unlocks Secret Of Ancestral Herd, Pedigree, To Determine Outcome of Belmont Stakes


Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Unlocks Secret Of Ancestral Herd, Pedigree, To Determine Outcome of Belmont Stakes

By Calvin L. Carter and Dallas Carter
©2019 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

The classic trail to the third jewel of the Triple Crown takes us this Saturday to Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, where TACITUS has been tagged as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the 151st running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1). Post time is 6:37 ET.
Knowing as much as possible about the Thoroughbred and what it takes to produce a classic champion has been a passion of mine since the early 1990s. My research and study led to the creation of the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®  which is an analytical tool that measures the breeding influences in the five-generation pedigree. The profile is breeding, sales and racing analysis tool used to measure the graded stakes and classic potential of young Thoroughbreds.
In addition to the profile, we have also created a Behavior Index which allows us to identify legitimate and false race contenders and thus move some horses up or down in ranking.
Let’s look at the profile grade rankings for the horses in the Belmont Stakes.



As you can see in the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® chart above, seven of the ten horses entered in this race have a grade ranking of A or better making this a very good Belmont field of contenders.
In the second chart, the Behavior Index has been applied to five horses highlighted in red allowing us to move horses up or down in ranking. Regarding handicapping, if you think that any of the top four horses in the first chart are false contenders, then they could be moved down in ranking and horses like Tax and Intrepid Heart, in the second chart, could be moved up into the top four ranking.
Let’s look at the horses I like in this race.


TACITUS has been tabbed the 9-5 morning-line favorite and he comes into this race with a 3-0-1 record in five starts for trainer Bill Mott including fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He was placed third due to the disqualification of Maximum Security who crossed the finish line first. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

TACITUS steadied while unsettled behind horses first time through the stretch, found a better rhythm through the middle stages, came five wide off the turn, exchanged brushes with GAME WINNER late and finished with good courage.

Tacitus ran well in just his third start of the season to finish only 3¼ lengths shy of victory.
Tapit, the sire of Tacitus, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 3-0-0 record in six starts with $557,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Tapit was undefeated in two starts including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3).  Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of his three-year-old season but he did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
At stud, Tapit has sired numerous graded stakes winners including the Belmont Stakes (G1) champions Tapwrit (2017), Creator (2016) and Tonalist (2014).
Tacitus has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s the best-bred horse in this herd of runners. Tacitus has the breeding to win this race and I look for him to take another step forward in the stretch out to 12 furlongs.


WAR OF WILL (2-1) comes into this race with a 4-1-1 record in ten starts including a win in the Preakness Stakes (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

WAR OF WILL broke alertly, was nicely in hand saving ground on the first turn, rated kindly behind the leader down the backstretch, advanced leaving the far turn, had an opening along the inner rail, took command leaving the three sixteenths, edged away under brisk urging and held firm.

War of Will’s win in the Preakness Stakes (G1) was sweet redemption after he was hampered severely by Maximum Security at the top of the stretch in the Kentucky Derby (G1)
War Front, the sire of War of Will, was a graded-stakes winner of the 8½-furlong Princelet Stakes which he won by 8-lengths in a final time of 1:41.79. However, most of War Front’s other races were in sprints where he had a penchant for finishing second. However, he did win the 6-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2) by 2½-lengths.
At stud, War Front sired Soldat, winner of the 2010 With Anticipation Stakes (G2) and second-place finisher in the 8-furlong Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes (G2), and 8½-furlong Pilgrim Stakes (G3). Soldat went on as a three-year-old to win the 9-furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).
He also sired The Factor, a speedy colt who as a two-year-old won the 7-furlong San Vicente Stakes (G2) and went on as a three-year-old to win the 8½-furlong Rebel Stakes (G2).
War of Will has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and that makes him a legitimate contender.


TAX (15-1) comes into this race with a 2-2-1 record in six starts including a fifteenth-place finish in the win in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

TAX saved ground throughout and was no factor.

Tax is much better than how he ran in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and I look for him to improve off that race.
Arch, the sire of Tax, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 5-1-0 record in seven starts with $480,969 in career earnings.
Arch made only one start as a two-year-old easily winning a maiden special weight at Keeneland in October 1997. As a three-year-old, Arch won an allowance race at Keeneland in April 1998 and compiled a 4-1-0 record in six starts including wins in the 10-furlong Super Derby (G1) and the 9½-furlong Fayette Breeders' Cup Stakes (G3).
Arch passed away in 2016 and as a stallion, his best runners include: Instilled Regard, Nyaleti, Arklow, Blame, Grand Arch, Arravale, Hymn Book, Art Trader, Les Arcs, Archarcharch and Pine Island.
Tax has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he has the breeding to be competitive. I look for him to run good.


INTREPID HEART (10-1) comes into this race with a 2-0-1 record in three starts for trainer Todd Pletcher including a third-place finish in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

INTREPID HEART stumbled at the start then got bumped by FEDERAL CASE who broke inwards, chased just off the inside down the backstretch, came under coaxing at the nine-sixteenths and tipped four wide through the turn, swung five wide into upper stretch, drifted in straightened away and weakened while passing a pair of tiring rivals to secure the show honors.

In just his third career start, and second start of the season, Intrepid Heart finished a respectable third in the step up to Graded Stakes competition against seasoned runners.
Tapit, the sire of Intrepid Hearst, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 3-0-0 record in six starts with $557,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Tapit was undefeated in two starts including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3).  Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of his three-year-old season but he did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
At stud, Tapit has sired numerous graded stakes winners including the Belmont Stakes (G1) champions Tapwrit (2017), Creator (2016) and Tonalist (2014).
Intrepid Heart has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he has the breeding to be competitive. He’s an improving colt and I look for him to take another step forward in his third start of the season.

Tacitus has the best breeding by far and he should win this race. There’s not much in the profile score that separates the other five horses with an A+ profile. Honorable mention goes to Bourbon War (12-1), Spinoff (15-1) and Sir Winston (12-1).







Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Unlocks Secret Of Ancestral Herd, Pedigree, To Determine Outcome of Preakness Stakes


By Calvin L. Carter and Dallas Carter
©2019 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

The classic trail to the second jewel of the Triple Crown takes us this Saturday to Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland, where IMPROBABLE tagged as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the 144th running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1). Post time is 6:48 ET.
Knowing as much as possible about the Thoroughbred and what it takes to produce a classic champion has been a passion of mine since the early 1990s. My research and study led to the creation of the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®  which is an analytical tool that measures the breeding influences in the five-generation pedigree. The profile is breeding, sales and racing analysis tool used to measure the graded stakes and classic potential of young Thoroughbreds.
In addition to the profile, we have also created a Behavior Index which allows us to identify legitimate and false race contenders and thus move some horses up or down in ranking.
Let’s look at the profile grade rankings for the horses in Kentucky Derby 145.




As you can see in the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® chart above, five of the horses entered in this race have a grade ranking of A or better and three have a ranking of B.
In the second chart, the Behavior Index has been applied to five horses highlighted in red allowing us to move horses up or down in ranking. In regard to handicapping, if you think that any of the top four horses in the first chart are false contenders, then they could be moved down in ranking and horses like Improbable and Anothertwistafate in the second chart could be moved up in raking.
Let’s look at the morning line favorite as well as others that I like in this race.


IMPROBABLE comes into this race with a 3-2-0 record in six starts for trainer Bob Baffert including a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Improbable was placed fourth on the disqualification of Maximum Security. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

IMPROBABLE went along in striking range covered up in the two path, idled through the far turn in traffic losing some position, shifted out in the drive and offered some mild response.

In our Kentucky Derby analysis, we had Improbable ranked sixth and he finished fifth.
City Zip, the sire of Improbable, ran mostly in sprint races, compiling a 9-5-4 record in 31 starts with $818,225 in career earnings.
As a two year old, City Zip won the Tremont Stakes (G3), Sanford Stakes (G2), Saratoga Special (G2) and the Hopeful Stakes (G1). However, as a three year old on the 2001 Kentucky Derby Trail, his best finish was a third place to Songandaprayer in the 8½-furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1).
Despite his propensity for sprinting, at stud City Zip has sired his share of numerous, good, sprinters as well as several middle-distance runners such as Collected, Get Serious, Alert Bay, Acting Zippy, Dayatthespa, With a City, Unzip Me, City to City, Workin for Hops and Personal Diary.

Improbable has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and his Behavior Index indicates that he will be competitive in this field. I look for him to run a good race.


WAR OF WILL (4-1) comes into this race with a 3-1-1 record in nine starts including an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

WAR OF WILL found a good spot saving ground off the leaders under a firm hold, continued along reserved waiting for room into the far turn, shifted outside MAXIMUM SECURITY leaving the three-eighths pole, was forced out by that rival into LONG RANGE TODDY, checked hard off heels, remained prominent in the three path into upper stretch and weakened.

War of Will was running well but lost his momentum when Maximum Security moved out and nearly collided with him.
War Front, the sire of War of Will, was a graded-stakes winner of the 8½-furlong Princelet Stakes which he won by 8-lengths in a final time of 1:41.79. However, most of War Front’s other races were in sprints where he had a penchant for finishing second. However, he did win the 6-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2) by 2½-lengths.
At stud, War Front sired Soldat, winner of the 2010 With Anticipation Stakes (G2) and second-place finisher in the 8-furlong Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes (G2), and 8½-furlong Pilgrim Stakes (G3). Soldat went on as a three-year-old to win the 9-furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).
He also sired The Factor, a speedy colt who as a two-year-old won the 7-furlong San Vicente Stakes (G2) and went on as a three-year-old to win the 8½-furlong Rebel Stakes (G2).

War of Will has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and his profile  makes him a legitimate contender.


BOURBON WAR (12-1) comes into this race with a 2-1-0 record in five starts for trainer Mark Henning including a fourth-place finish in the Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

BOURBON WAR was unhurried early in the two path, raced three then four wide around the far turn, and improved position without a solid bid.

Bourbon War looked good and appeared to be poised for at least a placing, of not victory, in classic competition.
Tapit, the sire of Bourbon War, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 3-0-0 record in six starts with $557,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Tapit was undefeated in two starts including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3).  Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of his three-year-old season but he did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
At stud, Tapit has sired numerous graded stakes winners including the Belmont Stakes (G1) champions Tapwrit (2017), Creator (2016) and Tonalist (2014).

Bourbon War has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s much better than his fourth-place finish in the Florida Derby (G1) indicates. I look for him to run a good race.
I think that three horses mentioned above are solid competitors. Other horses that could be factors in the bottom of the exotics are Anothertwistafate, Bodexpress, Alwaysmining and Laughing Fox.