KY Derby Stepping Stone: War of Will has no problem with Lecomte’s fast track

NEW ORLEANS – It’s says in some weathered chapter of the horseman’s manual that you can get away with running a turf horse on a sloppy track, and when War of Will, who is turf-bred and made his first four starts on turf, won his dirt debut Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs, he did so on a sloppy track.

But what we apparently have here is not a turf horse who managed a wet-track win, but a natural dirt horse originally miscast as a grass horse.

For as good as War of Will looked beating maidens in the Churchill slop, he looked even better winning the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes over a Fair Grounds main track rated fast.

War of Will, a barely controlled bundle of energy stalking the pace wide down the backstretch under Tyler Gaffalione, inhaled Manny Wah at the top of the stretch and ran off to a four-length win in the Lecomte. The performance was visually impressive and pretty good on the clock, War of Will stopping the timer in 1:43.44 for the one mile and 70 yards. That was nearly two seconds faster than Needs Supervision’s winning time in the Silverbulletday Stakes over the same distance one race earlier.

Asked how War of Will traveled on the fast track early Saturday evening compared to the sloppy Churchill going, jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, “He was better, really.”   Read more…