Super shocker at Oaklawn Park
February 22, 2019 7:00 AM
by Dave Valento
It was an interesting weekend on the southern circuit as both the Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park saw some quality racing and some predictable, and not-so-predictable results.
The predictable result came at the Fair Grounds Saturday as War of Will prevailed as the even-money favorite in taking the Grade 2 Risen Star. The Mark Casse-trained colt came into the race off a dominant win in the Grade 3 LeComte over many in the field on. Despite having the wide 13 post in the 14-horse field, he always looked a winner and won comfortably in the end, earning a 92 Beyer Speed Figure.
The Risen Star was the seventh start for War of Will. The first four were on the turf and he was winless. He did face Grade 1 company twice on the grass and he ran well. But he has really turned the corner since Casse moved him to the dirt. The field he faced on Saturday was full of potential but lacking in accomplishment.
It’s no wonder Casse wanted to make War of Will a turf runner. His dam is a sibling to $1.7M turf winner Spinning World (Who won the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Mile and was runner-up in the 1996 version of that race). Deeper in the female family is 2001 Hollywood Derby winner (turf) and $1.9M grass earner, Denon. As Cigar showed us in the mid 1990’s, a deep grass pedigree doesn’t always mean the horse will perform best on that surface.
War of Will is being pointed to the Louisiana Derby at Fairgrounds on March 23.
Country House, the runner-up, was nearly three lengths behind War of Will. The Bill Mott-trained horse was bet down to 6-1 from his 20-1 morning line and was coming off a maiden win.
The not-so-predictable result was at Oaklawn Monday in the Southwest Stakes. Super Steed, trained by Larry Jones, rallied five-wide and won as the second longest shot in the field in a 62-1 upset in the Grade 3 Southwest.
He was excellent in his first two starts, was beaten as an even money favorite in his third start in the Sugar Bowl and came into the Southwest off a flat seventh in the Smarty Jones. He was bet in each of those races which indicates there were expectations. He defeated a strong field in the Southwest and earned 10 points in the Kentucky Derby eligibility point system.
Super Steed will most likely start in the Rebel Stakes on March 16th at Oaklawn Park.
Play of the week
Look for Tale Of La Comete to run well on Friday at the Fair Grounds in Race 5. She ships in from Oaklawn Park for trainer Dallas Stewart and is making her second career start in this maiden race.
In her debut, she pressed a 21.4 quarter and tired at 25-1 in a strong maiden race. The fourth-place finisher from that race won Monday at Oaklawn. Tale Of La Comete is 8-1 on the morning line.
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