War Of Will Adds To Grade 1 Résumé With Maker’s Mark Mile Victory On Keeneland Turf

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 in Lexington, Ky.

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 six 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.

“Getting the last race out of the way (May 25 Shoemaker Mile-G1 at Santa Anita on the turf) got the nerves out,” said Gaffalione. “Taking the blinkers off helped him relax beautifully going around there. And when I called on him he finished up nicely.”

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.

Gaffalione was all smiles after the Maker’s Mark Mile

“We’re so excited,” said Casse, who was not at Keeneland, where War of Will was saddled by assistant trainer David Carroll. “It’s great for everybody. We’re just so excited.

“Tyler gave him a tremendous ride,” Casse added. “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.”

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.

“That was a tough one to lose,” said Mike Maker, Parlor’s trainer. “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.”

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