Click here for a replay of the race and interviews with jockey Tyler Gaffalione and David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse
Gary Barber’s War of Will eased past longshot Parlor in the final yards to win the 32nd running of the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) for 4-year-olds and up by a nose Friday afternoon at Keeneland.
With Tyler Gaffalione aboard, War of Will raced in the clear after breaking from post 10 and tracked the pace set by High Crime and Parlor, who raced through fractions of :23.17 and :46.91.
Approaching the stretch, Parlor put away High Crime, completing 6 furlongs in 1:11.09. Under Florent Geroux, Parlor opened a daylight advantage but was unable to hold off the final surge from War of Will and Gaffalione.
Trained by Mark Casse, War of Will covered the mile on a firm turf course in 1:34.55. It is the first Maker’s Mark victory for Casse and Gaffalione.
The victory was worth $180,000 and increased War of Will’s earnings to $1,796,069 with a record of 16-5-1-2 that includes a Grade 1 dirt victory in last year’s Preakness.
A Keeneland sale graduate, War of Will is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of War Front out of the Sadler’s Wells mare Visions of Clarity (IRE).
War of Will returned $13.80, $6.80 and $3.60. Parlor paid $20.40 and $7 and finished a neck in front of favored Raging Bull (FR), who paid $2.40 to show under Joel Rosario.
It was another half-length back to Without Parole (GB), who was followed in order by Emmaus (IRE), English Bee, Hembree, High Crime, Everfast and Next Shares.
Maker’s Mark Mile Quotes
Winning rider Tyler Gaffalione: “Getting the last race out of the way (May 25 Shoemaker Mile-G1 at Santa Anita on the turf) got the nerves out. Taking the blinkers off helped him relax beautifully going around there. And when I called on him he finished up nicely.”
Is War of Will better on turf or dirt? “I think he can do either. He’s just a quality horse.”
David Carroll, assistant to winning trainer Mark Casse: “Coming into this race, if you’d asked me two weeks ago, I was a little bit nervous. I didn’t think he was training quite as sharp as he could. But his last work was like, OK he’s back. I felt a lot more confident. We’re happy to see him back on turf; he’s bred for it. Felt like today with the pace scenario he’d be laying close, and what a ride for Tyler. It was an unbelievable race.”
Mark Casse: “We’re so excited. It’s great for everybody. We’re just so excited.
“Tyler gave him a tremendous ride. I wasn’t sure (at the finish if he won). I wasn’t sure until they put (his number) up. (My wife) Tina and I were just jumping up and down. It’s means so much to the horse. We love him so much. And it means so much for a stallion prospect and everything (to be a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf). Gary Barber and I will have to talk about (if he goes back to dirt or remains on turf). But everyone knows how much we love him, and it’s so wonderful.”
Mike Maker, trainer of runner-up Parlor: “That was a tough one to lose. He’s had a tough trip last couple of times and I thought he had a good chance today. He ran his race. I sure thought he was going to hang on. He got out of the gate well and handled the turf well. No excuse. He was just second best.”
Whit Beckman, assistant to Chad Brown, trainer of third-place finisher and beaten favorite Raging Bill (FR) and fourth-place finisher and second choice Without Parole (GB): “(Raging Bull) broke well and (jockey) Joel (Rosario) kind of rode the same race that he’s used to riding. He got himself a nice pocket trip, six to seven (lengths) back off the pace. It was (:23.17 for the first quarter). (The pace) wasn’t super, super fast but it wasn’t slow either so he had every opportunity to close. Down the lane he switched his inside lead and back to his outside lead so he kind of lost momentum there. The horse in front just ran a super race. But I think bringing him back to these mile races this year, we’ve found exactly what he wants to do. He didn’t run a bad race, just a little unlucky.”
Sponsor Maker’s Mark, the world-famous bourbon distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, has announced it will commit $10,000 to The LEE Initiative Reboot Relief Program.
As restaurants around the country look toward reopening, The LEE Initiative is committed to helping reset the supply chains for farmers and restaurant operators who are committed to sustainable food. The LEE Initiative’s Restaurant Reboot Relief Program is committing at least
$1 million to purchasing food from sustainable farmers in 16 regions, including Central Kentucky, and giving that food directly to restaurants in those areas. The restaurants that have hosted relief centers in those areas will be receiving the food and helping to select which other restaurants will be receiving the food as well.
Maker’s Mark is a proud partner of this program. For more information or to support this effort, please visit leeinitiative.org.
Four Graces Sets Track Record in Beaumont Presented by Keeneland Select
Click here for a replay of the race and interviews with jockey Julien Leparoux and trainer Ian Wilkes
In the race prior to the Maker’s Mark Mile, Whitham Thoroughbreds’ homebred Four Graces set a track record by winning the 35th running of the $100,000 Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select by 4¾ lengths over Sconsin. She covered the Beard Course of 7 furlongs, 184 feet over a fast main track in 1:24.90 for a stakes and track record.
Jockey Julien Leparoux put Four Graces on the lead with second choice Wicked Whisper just to her outside as the two raced through early fractions of :22.29 and :44.37.
At the head of the stretch, Four Graces put Wicked Whisper away, opened a daylight margin and cruised to the finish line well clear of Sconsin. For Leparoux, it is his third Beaumont victory with previous wins coming in 2009 with War Kill and 2016 with Lightstream.
Trained by Ian Wilkes, Four Graces picked up 20 points toward the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) on Sept. 4 and hiked her total to 40, a figure that ranks 12th. The Oaks is limited to the top 14 point earners to pass the entry box.
The victory was worth $60,000 and boosted Four Graces’ earnings to $194,450 with a record of 5-4-0-0. It was her third consecutive victory and second Grade 3 having won the Dogwood at Churchill last month.
Four Graces is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Majesticperfection out of the Seeking the Gold mare Ivory Empress. She returned $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10. Sconsin, who picked up her initial eight Oaks points, paid $3.20 and $2.40 under James Graham. Turtle Trax, who finished 4¾ lengths back in third under Brian Hernandez Jr. and paid $3 to show. Wilkes also trains Turtle Trax, who picked up four Oaks points to raise her total to six.
Wicked Whisper (12 Oaks points) finished fourth followed by Slam Dunk.
Beaumont Presented by Keeneland Select Quotes
Winning rider Julien Leparoux: “She’s a fast filly. The track is pretty quick today too. But she was doing it very nicely for me in a good rhythm. That’s the way she likes to run – free – and she makes that big kick at the end.
“I’m surprised we broke the track record, really. But she’s getting much better right now and she’s doing very good.”
Winning trainer Ian Wilkes:
On what he was thinking when he saw the fractions: “I was watching Julien and the filly, and he hadn’t asked her. She’s got her ears flipping back and forth, so I was quite comfortable with her. Then I was switching back and watching Turtle (Trax, his horse who finished third) too.”
Would you consider stretching her back out to a route of ground at some point? “No, not right now. I’ll talk to (owner) Mrs. (Janis) Whitham and (most likely) we’ll point to the Test (G1, going 7 furlongs on Aug. 8 at Saratoga).”
Saturday marks the highlight of the five-day Summer Meet with a 10-race program beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET that features six graded stakes headlined by the $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2). Also scheduled are three Grade 1 races: $400,000 Central Bank Ashland, $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley and $250,000 Madison.