BALTIMORE – Trainer Mark Casse’s War of Will has gotten unlucky at the worst time of year for a 3-year-old thoroughbred. He drew the dreaded rail in the Kentucky Derby and overcame it, only to lose any chance of victory when disqualified winner Maximum Security fouled him approaching the stretch.
Last week, Casse predicted War of Will would get the rail again for Saturday’s Preakness, and on Wednesday he did. Sometimes the gift of prophecy can be a curse, but Casse doesn’t think post 1 is the major negative it is in the Derby.
“The Preakness is run a little differently than the Derby,” Casse told Newsday. “They don’t seem to be in such a hurry to get position. Warrior’s Charge [post 3] and Improbable [post 4] have speed, but I don’t think Javier Castellano and Mike Smith will want to go head and head with us.”
The field grew to 13 with the late addition of 50-1 shot Everfast. He’s the ninth who didn’t run in the Derby, whose first four finishers – Maximum Security, winner Country House, Code of Honor, Tacitus – stayed home. That left trainer Bob Baffert’s Improbable, who was placed fourth, the 5-2 morning-line favorite by default.
“It looked like he got bogged down in the mud in the Derby,” co-owner Elliott Walden said. “We’re hoping he can get into his stride on a fast track.”
War of Will is the 4-1 second choice, with new shooters Anothertwistafate (6-1) and Alwaysmining (8-1) next. Walden is impressed with locally based Alwaysmining, a winner of six straight against weak fields at Laurel. “The Maryland horse is fast and has a really good bounce to him,” Walden said.