War of Will brings clout to Santa Anita this weekend

On Monday, a bit of horse racing history will be written as, as expected, War of Will runs in the $ 300,000 Grade 300 Shoemaker Mile as part of Santa Anita’s holiday weekend.

War of Will won the Preakness Stakes last year, and it is believed that he will be the first Preakness winner to compete in the Shoemaker, known as the 1938-1989 Premiere Handicap when it was held in Hollywood Park.

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“I am not aware of a Preakness winner who has ever walked the Shoemaker Mile,” Santa Anita morning line maker and race historian Jon White wrote in an email.

However, there is a link between the Preakness and the Shoemaker Mile, White emphasizes.

J.O. Tobin finished fifth in the 1977 Preakness won by Seattle Slew. J.O. Tobin naturally won the 1977 Swaps Stakes when Seattle Slew finished fourth in the first loss of his career, ”White noted.

J.O. Tobin won the premiere the following year. ‘

War of Will, a 4-year-old son of War Front, has not raced since finishing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in Santa Anita in November. He returns to the turf in the Shoemaker Mile for the first time since making the first four starts of his career on the grass as a two-year-old.

He finished fifth in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in Churchill Downs, while largely walking.

“Thank God he had an awful journey,” trainer Mark Casse told Ed An of Santa Anita’s publicity. “If he had won, he may never have tried the dirt, so sometimes you have to be happy with what doesn’t happen.”

Casse is happy with the way War of Will enters the race.

“War of Will trained exceptionally well,” he said. “He’s a Grade I winner on Earth, so we’ll see if we can make him a Grade I winner on the field.”

Santa Anita’s leading rider, Flavien Prat, will ride War of Will for the first time.

Casse also plans to start March to the Arch in the Shoemaker.

“March to the Arch has been unlucky in its last few starts,” said Casse. “He could easily have won two. He is a pretty good horse in his own right. He is going to run well. ”

Santa Anita is hosting five grasses worth $ 1.1 million this weekend, starting Saturday with the $ 200,000 Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes and $ 100,000 Grade III Daytona Stakes.

The Whittingham, which is run at 1 1/4 miles, will be a West vs. East confrontation, while Richard Mandella-trained United, the 6-5 morning line favorite, will face Chad Brown-trained Rockemperor, the co-second-choice 5-2.

United achieves a victory in the Grade II San Marcos rings in Santa Anita on February 1. He has developed into one of the best turf marathon runners in the country, coming just one neck behind the 2019 Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar last fall. Breeders’ Cup Turf in Santa Anita.

Cistron will bid for his third straight win in the Daytona Stakes, a 5 1/2 furlong sprint. The 6-year-old was trained by John Sadler and wins the track on March 21.

First message every three days this weekend at 12:30 PM.

HOLIDAY RACING

When: Saturday to Monday.

True: Santa Anita Park.

First post: 12:30 pm daily.

Feature races: $ 200,000 Charles Whittingham Stakes and $ 100,000 Daytona Stakes on Saturday, and $ 300,000 Shoemaker Mile, $ 300,000 Gamely Stakes and $ 200,000 Monrovia Stakes on Monday.

Television: The Shoemaker Mile will be shown live on NBCSN, with coverage starting at 3pm.

Note: Spectators are not allowed at Santa Anita until further notice.

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