Barn Notes: Saturday, January 5

  • War of Will Records Penultimate Work for Lecomte

By Ryan Martin


Just a couple of more steps away from his sophomore debut in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, War of Will continues to train the way that he is supposed to.

Over a fast main track early Saturday morning, the Gary Barber-owned son of War Front breezed five furlongs in 59.60 under the supervision of David Carroll who oversees trainer Mark Casse’s division of horses at Fair Grounds.

“He’s a very fit horse and he’s a very clean winded horse,” Carroll said. “We weren’t looking to do anything real serious today, but it’s the first time we had a fast track it what seems like forever. The track was playing fast this morning but he breezed beautifully, galloped out strong and he cooled out great. We’re very happy. We’ll bring him back and breeze an easy half mile next weekend and start off his year in the Lecomte and hopefully start out on a good note with him. We’re very happy with where he is.”

War of Will enters the Lecomte off of a five-length maiden special weight victory over a sloppy main track at Churchill Downs on November 24. He had raced over the grass in his prior four career starts, including a runner-up finish in the Grade I Summer Stakes at Woodbine on September 16. In addition, he also competed in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf over Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course where he was fifth.

War of Will was bred in Kentucky by Flaxman Holdings and is out of the Sadler’s Wells broodmare Visions of Clarity (Ire) who also produced Irish Group 1 winner Pathfork as well as two-time dirt marathon stakes winner Tacticus. He was purchased by Casse’s brother, Justin, at the Arqana May Two-Year-Old Breeze Up Sale in France this past May for $298,550.  He was consigned by Oak Tree Farm.

Carroll stated that Fair Grounds allowance winner Mo Speed also is possible for the Lecomte, which is a part of Churchill Downs’ Road To The Kentucky Derby and awards the Top 4 finishers points based off of a 10-4-2-1 scale.

Meanwhile, Chocolate Kisses is scheduled to breeze on Sunday morning for a possible starter for the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes 

The 3-year-old daughter of Candy Ride (Arg) broke her maiden at second asking over the turf at Saratoga on July 22 and raced back the following month to a third-place finish in the P.G. Johnson Stakes. Casse then ran her on the main track in the Grade I Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland on October 5, where she finished fourth behind Restless Rider.

“She will breeze (Sunday) and we’ll see where we’re at with her,” Carroll said. “We’ve been training on an off track so we’re looking forward to getting her back on a fast track.”

Owned by Gary Barber and John C. Oxley, Chocolate Kisses is a half-sister to Synchrony, a four-time graded stakes winner on turf and is out of the Forest Wildcat broodmare Brownie Points who was a multiple stakes winner on both surfaces. Bred in Kentucky by Pin Oak Stud, Chocolate Kisses was sold for $410,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale where she was consigned by Denali Stud.

Both the Silverbulletday and the Lecomte Stakes are run on Road To The Derby Kickoff Day, which will be held on Saturday, January 19.

Also appearing on the Saturday work tab is Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul who breezed five furlongs in 59.60 in preparation for the Grade I $9 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on January 16.

Trained by Dallas Stewart, the 6-year-old son of Perfect Soul (Ire.) was third in the Grade I Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on November 24 last time out, a race that he won in 2017. He finished fifth behind Gun Runner in last year’s edition of the Pegasus World Cup.

“He had a huge work last week (six furlongs in 1:11.00) and he followed it up with a strong five-eighths work. He looked great and it looks like he’s on track. He’s where we need him to be.”