War of Will Faces Ten Others In Grade II Louisiana Derby

2/16/2019 – War of Will with jockey Tyler Gaffalione aboard wins the 47th running of the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

By Ryan Martin

A field of 11 sophomores has been set for Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ final prep on the Road To The Kentucky Derby – the 106th running of the Grade II $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby on Saturday, March 23.

Six weeks out from the Grade I $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, the Louisiana Derby is the first race on the Road To The Kentucky Derby that awards the Top 4 finishers points on a 100-40-20-10 scale and has been a notable stop for many hopefuls wishing to qualify for America’s most prestigious race. Such horses include the likes of 2017 eventual Horse of the Year Gun Runner as well as 2013 Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Revolutionary and eventual Grade I winners Girvin in 2017.

Heading the field is Grade III Lecomte and Grade II Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford winner War of Will who has been made the 6-5 morning line favorite by Fair Grounds odds maker Mike Diliberto and will look to sweep the series of local preps for the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Mark Casse and owned by Gary Barber, the son of War Front has not lost over the main track. After a quartet of performances on grass, he switched to the dirt with a five-length triumph in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs in November, which was contested over a sloppy track. From there, he would go on to take the Lecomte and Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds and climb atop the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard garnering a total of 60 points towards the Run for the Roses. War of Will has also acquired the most lifetime earnings of the Louisiana Derby having banked a total of $491,569 with a lifetime record of 7-3-1-1.

Purchased from the Arqana Breeze Up Sale in Deauville, France War of Will is out of the Sadler’s Wells broodmare Visions of Clarity (Ire.) who is a half-sister to 1997 Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Spinning World. Visions of Clarity also produced 2010 Group 1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes victor Pathfork. Other members of his family include North American Grade I turf winners Good Journey and Denon.

Regular rider Tyler Gaffalione will pilot War of Will from post six.

A handful of familiar faces will be taking another crack at War of Will including Risen Star runner-up Country House. Owned by Mrs. J.V. Shields E.J. McFadden and L N J Foxwoods, the son of Lookin at Lucky was beaten 2¼ lengths by War of Will in the Risen Star which was his stakes debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. He broke his maiden by 3½ lengths at third asking over a fast main track at Gulfstream Park on January 17. In his prior two efforts, he finished behind eventual stakes winner Empire of War and eventual graded stakes placed Kentucky Wildcat, respectfully.

Country House will break from post eight as the 9-2 second choice under jockey Luis Saez.

The third and fourth-place finishers of the Risen Star, Roiland and Hog Creek Hustle, will also be seeking the opportunity to turn the tables on War of Will. A James and Mary Durlacher homebred son of Successful Appeal, Roiland closed late ground in the Risen Star Stakes to finish third at odds of 69-1. He broke his maiden at first asking over the main track at Indiana Grand Race Course on August 31 and defeated winners two starts later at upset odds of 28-1. He is trained by New Orleans native Tom Amoss, who seeks his first victory in the Louisiana Derby and will be guided by jockey James Graham. Something Special Racing’s Hog Creek Hustle breaks from post 11 at odds of 12-1 under jockey Miguel Mena and will seek his first victory since defeating winners in a seven-furlong allowance event on November 10. Trained by Vickie Foley, the son of Overanalyze was a first out maiden winner at Ellis Park on August 18 and was a respective second and fourth behind War of Will in the Lecomte and Risen Star Stakes.

Trainer Bret Calhoun will send out a pair of Allied Racing-owned sophomores with Mr. Money (post seven, Adam Beschizza, 20-1) and By My Standards (post five, Gabriel Saez, 12-1). The latter of the two Calhoun trainees was a distant seventh behind War of Will in the Risen Star Stakes in his 3-year-old debut and rounded out the superfecta in last year’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on November 2 at odds of 41-1. While the son of Goldencents has some graded stakes experience under his belt, By My Standards will enter the Louisiana Derby fresh off of a 4¼-length maiden victory over the local main track. Also by Goldencents, By My Standards found the winner’s circle at fourth asking but has finished in the money in his quartet of outings. He enters the Louisiana Derby off of an easy half-mile work in :49.80 on March 16 and fired bullets in his prior two breezes with a half-mile work in :47.20 (March 2) and a five-furlong work in :59.00 (March 9).

Trainer Todd Pletcher has won the Louisiana Derby a total of four times with Circular Quay (2007), Mission Impazzable (2010), Revolutionary (2013) and Noble Indy (2018). This year, he sends Wertheimer and Frere homebred Spinoff in hopes for a fifth Louisiana Derby triumph. The son of Hard Spun broke his maiden at first asking over the main track at Gulfstream Park last June and followed that win with a third-place finish in the Grade II Saratoga Special Stakes on August 12 behind Call Paul. He did not race again until February 22, but when he did, he returned to action in astonishing fashion with a 11¾-length romp against winners at Tampa Bay Downs.

Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen and owner Ron Winchell teamed up to win two Louisiana Derbies with Pyro (2008) and Gun Runner (2016) and they’ll be double dipping in this year’s race with Limonite (post three, Jose Ortiz, 20-1) and Bankit (post nine, Irad Ortiz, Jr., 20-1). The former of the two runners was fifth beaten 7¼ lengths behind War of Will in the Risen Star and is still seeking a victory against winners. The son of Lemon Drop Kid broke his maiden going seven furlongs over the Keeneland main track on October 6. Meanwhile, Bankit has the most amount of lifetime starts of any horse in the field having run eight times. The New York-bred son of Central Banker broke his maiden second time out at Saratoga on July 27 by 6¾ lengths and three starts later won Belmont Park’s Sleepy Hollow Stakes ollow by 5¾ lengths. He is seeking his first victory against open company as both of his wins took place against fellow New York-breds. Both horses are owned by Winchell in partnership with Willis Horton Racing.

Trainer Keith Desormeaux will send Grade III Southwest Stakes runner-up Sueno (post four, Corey Lanerie, 8-1) to Fair Grounds for the Louisiana Derby. Owned by Silverton Hill, the son of Atreides broke his maiden second time out for an $80,000 tag at upset odds of 24-1 nby 4 ¾ lengths at Del Mar on August 31 and shipped to Golden Gate Fields to win the Gold Rush Stakes on December 1 for his next start. A native of Lafayette, Louisiana, Deseromeaux seeks his first Louisiana Derby win.

Rounding out the field is Lemniscate (post two, Brian Hernandez, Jr., 15-1) for trainer Kenny McPeek who won the Louisiana Derby with Repent in 2002. Owned by Susan Mouton and Magdalena Racing, the son of 2000 Louisiana Derby runner-up Exchange Rate broke his maiden over the turf at Gulfstream Park on March 3 last time out, which was won at third asking.  Sure to show some pace in the Louisiana Derby, Lemiscate ran on the lead in both of his last two outings. Prior to his maiden win, he was a close second over the main track at Gulfstream Park on February 9.

The Louisiana Derby (5:13 p.m. CT) is carded as the last of 13 races on Saturday, March 23 and is also the final leg of a $500,000 Guaranteed All Stakes Pick 4, which kicks off in the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (Race 10, 3:34 p.m. CT).  First post on Louisiana Derby day is 11:00 a.m. CT.

Sunland Derby Post-Position Draw

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
by Eric Alwan

Sunland Derby Post-Position Draw on Sunday, March 17

The post-position draw for the 2019 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) will happen on Sunday, March 17 starting at noon in the Sunland Park Turf Club. The entire process will be broadcast live on the Sunland Park simulcasting network.

Sunland Derby (Gr. III) runs on Sunday, March 24

The $800,000 Sunland Derby will be run as the 11th race in a 12-race all-Thoroughbred card to be held on Sunday, March 24. Over $1.5 million in stakes races will be presented on Sunland Park’s biggest day. Last year’s Sunland Derby day generated an all-time New Mexico State record handle of over $4.3 million. It was the most ever bet in the 60-year history of Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

Advance wagering on the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day card will begin on Saturday, March 23.

This year’s winner of the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) earns 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby which is a virtual berth for the “Run for the Roses.” Second place earns 20 points. The third place finisher gets 10 points and fourth gets 5 points.

Elite horses from around the country are expected to compete in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III), $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks, $100,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes and $100,000 Harry W. Henson Handicap. Also on the big card are the $100,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks, $100,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby and the $85,000 NMSU Stakes.

Post time for the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day program is 12:50 p.m. The Sunland Derby (Gr. III) will run at 5:30 p.m.


Peter Redekop

Local owner and breeder, Peter Redekop’s,  Anothertwistafate is the 3-1 second choice in Sunday’s, $800,000 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park.

ELEVENTH RACE Probable Post 5:30 MDT 
1 1/8 Miles. 3-Year-Olds. SunDrby (Grade 3). Purse: $800,000


 1   Mucho Gusto   Talamo J    122       8-5 
 2   Anothertwistafate   Hernandez J J    122       3-1 
 3   Hustle Up   Laviolette B S    122       5-1 
 4   Wicked Indeed   Contreras L    122       6-1 
 5   Cutting Humor   Velazquez J R    122       8-1 
 6   Walker Stalker   Medellin A    122       15-1 
 9   Diamond Blitz   Desormeaux K J    122       15-1 
 7   Pasamonte Man   Tohill K S    122       20-1 
 8   Collusionist   Juarez A J Jr    122       25-1 
 10   Eye Cloud   Enriquez I D    122       30-1 


THIRTEENTH RACE Probable Post 5:13 CDT 
1 1/8 Miles. 3-Year-Olds. LaDerby (Grade 2). Purse: $1,000,000


 6   War of Will   Gaffalione T    122       5-2 
 4   Sueno   Lanerie C J    122       4-1 
 8   Country House   Saez L    122       9-2 
 9   Bankit   Ortiz I Jr    122       6-1 
 10   Spinoff   Velazquez J R    122       6-1 
 11   Hog Creek Hustle   Mena M    122       10-1 
 7   Mr. Money   Beschizza A    122       12-1 
 3   Limonite   Ortiz J L    122       15-1 
 1   Roiland   Graham J    122       20-1 
 2   Lemniscate   Hernandez B J Jr    122       20-1 
 5   By My Standards   Saez G    122       30-1 

The Stronach Group Programs Carry Weight with Bettors

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Bettors have a new handicapping tool in their programs at all Stronach Group tracks – the weight of horses.

The Stronach Group is the first Thoroughbred racetrack operator to include the weights of horses in the past performance lines of its handicapping programs. This includes Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields.

“We’re always looking for innovative handicapping tools to help our bettors, and this is something bettors domestically and internationally began asking for last year,” said The Stronach Group’s COO Tim Ritvo.

The Stronach Group tracks began collecting the information last spring. The information has been shared with bettors on the track simulcasts since last summer.

“This is data-driven world, and we’re excited about adding this data to our programs as we continue our growth internationally,” Ritvo added. “Bettors and horsemen have used this information in the past to find out a horse’s optimum racing weight. We believe you can never provide enough information.”

Horses at all Stronach Group tracks have been weighed on a scale located in the paddock areas. That information has been shared on each track’s daily simulcast since last summer.

The Stronach Group is North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, home of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact david.joseph@gulfstreampark.com


The Derby Bar and Grill Newsletter would like to add a new feature and that is to hear from you,  We would like to hear your story on your favorite horse or  race of all time preferably at Hastings Racecourse or any track or horse that might have been your favorite?

We will run your story in our newsletter along with any photos you might have of that particular horse or race.

Please take a few minutes and tell us your story, include as much information as possible and forward it to glen@nathc.ca

We would prefer your story in a word document and photos in jpg format


Owners, trainers and jockeys seeking victory, points, strong efforts in Saturday’s Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby to keep dreaming of roses; Samy Camacho makes donation to Carlos Carrasco Children’s Foundation; Ademar Santos is Señor Tequila Mexican Grill Jockey of the Month.

You couldn’t prove it by this morning’s wintry blast, but spring is right around the corner. And with the arrival of the new season, numerous horsemen are contracting their annual case of Derby fever.

First, Saturday’s Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. Eight weeks from Saturday, well. … anything is still possible, and Churchill Downs beckons.

Eleven were entered today in the 39th annual Tampa Bay Downs showcase, to be run at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track. At stake, in addition to the purse money, are “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying points, awarded to the first four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 scale.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is scheduled as the 11th race on a 12-race card beginning at 12:12 p.m. It is one of five stakes races on the program worth a combined $1-million in purse money.

The first 7,500 patrons through the gates will receive a commemorative umbrella, with paid admission.

Florida-bred colt Win Win Win, who set a Tampa Bay Downs 7-furlong track record of 1:20.89 in his Pasco Stakes victory on Jan. 19, has been established as the 5-2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby morning-line favorite. The second choice at 7-2 is the Florida-bred gelding Well Defined, who won the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes here on Feb. 9 at the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby distance.

Reigning Eclipse Award Outstanding Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., will ride Win Win Win, whose trainer, Michael Trombetta, is scheduled to be track announcer Richard Grunder’s guest at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the “Morning Glory Club” Show on the first floor of the Grandstand.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is scheduled as the 11th race on a 12-race card beginning at 12:12 p.m. It is one of five stakes races on the program worth a combined $1-million in purse money.

Well Defined was all by himself approaching the finish line in the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 9 (courtesy SV Photography)

Two graded turf stakes for females are on tap: the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough, for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of a mile-and-an-eighth, and the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth.

The Hillsborough is the ninth race and the Florida Oaks is the 10th. Saturday’s other stakes are the $100,000 Challenger Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on the turf.

Here is the field for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby in post position order, with trainers and jockeys:

  1. Admire, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado; 2. Sir Winston, Mark Casse, Julien Leparoux; 3. Lord Dragon, Jordan Blair, Jose A. Bracho; 4. Dream Maker, Mark Casse, Florent Geroux; 5. Well Defined, Kathleen O’Connell, Pablo Morales; 6. Outshine, Todd Pletcher, Joel Rosario; 7. Win Win Win, Michael Trombetta, Irad Ortiz, Jr.; 8. The Right Path, Jorge Duarte, Jr., Joe Bravo; 9. Dunph, Michael Maker, Daniel Centeno; 10. Tacitus, William Mott, Jose Ortiz; 11. Zenden, Victor Barboza, Jr., Samy Camacho.

Although the Live Oak Plantation homebred Win Win Win has been training here since his Pasco victory, the hometown favorite is Well Defined, a homebred racing for breeder-owner Gilbert G. Campbell’s Stonehedge, LLC.

Campbell and O’Connell teamed to win the 2011 Tampa Bay Derby with Watch Me Go to earn a trip to that year’s Kentucky Derby, and the two-time leading Tampa Bay Downs conditioner is optimistic Well Defined is sitting on another big effort after his Sam F. Davis romp.

“He’s coming up to the race just as good or better than last time. I couldn’t be happier with how he’s doing, and I’m happy with the post position,” O’Connell said.

Morales will be riding Well Defined for the second time after guiding him in his front-running Sam F. Davis score. “This horse has plenty of speed, and Pablo fits him very well,” O’Connell said. “He just has to be forwardly placed, and the rest will be seen.

“I’m just happy he’s going in the right direction and hope they all stay healthy. We need to run a big race Saturday” (to stay on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve trail), she added.

The third choice on the morning line at 4-1 is Dream Maker, one of two entrants trained by Mark Casse, along with Sir Winston.

The Hillsborough has attracted 10 older fillies and mares. Top contenders include millionaire Hawksmoor, trainer Arnaud Delacour’s 6-year-old mare who won the Grade III Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes here on Feb. 9; and the Chad Brown-trained duo of 5-year-old French-breds Onthemoonagain and Rymska.

There are 11 3-year-old fillies entered in the Florida Oaks. Brown, the three-time reigning Eclipse award Outstanding Trainer, has entered the French-bred La Feve and the Great Britain-bred Blowout.

Other Florida Oaks entrants certain to attract attention and wagering dollars are Grade II turf winner Concrete Rose, trained by George “Rusty” Arnold, II, and Elsa, a Grade III winner from the barn of Michael Stidham.

The Columbia has drawn 11 sophomores, including the Brown-trained Irish-bred Digital Age and Casse’s Proliferate. Heading the six-horse Challenger field are Casse’s 4-year-old colt Flameaway, who won last year’s Sam F. Davis and finished second in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, and the John P. Terranova, II-trained 5-year-old Killybegs Captain, upset winner of the Pelican Stakes here on Feb. 16.

Camacho aids foundation. Leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Samy Camacho has donated his purse earnings from Saturday’s three-victory performance, minus agent and valet fees, to Venezuelan countryman Carlos Carrasco’s eponymous youth foundation to aid needy children in the South American nation.

Carrasco, a native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela who resides in Tampa, is a right-handed pitcher for the Cleveland Indians.

Samy Camacho (right, with silks and jockey’s helmet) with members of Tampa’s Venezuelan community and others after Saturday’s 7th race (courtesy SV Photography)

Camacho’s donation of $1,995 will be used to provide books, toys, medical supplies and other goods to children in his homeland, which has been devastated by the ongoing economic crisis.

“I’ve known about (Carrasco) and his foundation for a long time, but I first met him about a month ago when he and his wife Karry came to the racetrack,” Camacho said. “We made a connection then and talked about the foundation and how I could help.

“A lot of people in my country are suffering and I’m doing well here, so I have a chance to give something back. His (Carrasco’s) foundation is a great way for me to help those in need,” said the 30-year-old Camacho, who hails from Caracas.

The Carlos Carrasco Children’s Foundation aspires to give children a strong foundation for lifelong success by providing impactful resources for disadvantaged youth in Venezuela, Cleveland and Tampa.

Santos earns Jockey of Month honor. Ademar Santos has spent the last six weeks reminding Tampa Bay Downs horsemen he’s the same guy who finished eighth in the standings last season with 32 victories.

Ademar Santos

Santos didn’t ride his first race this season until almost a month after the start of the meeting, and he won with only two of his first 40 starters. Since Feb. 6, however, he has won 10 times from 55 mounts, earning the Señor Tequila Mexican Grill Jockey of the Month Award.

“It’s important to know that my work is being seen, and I just have to enjoy it and try to get some more wins,” said Santos, who won races for six different trainers during his recent roll. “I’m the same jockey as I’ve been, but I’m riding better horses now, I’ve gotten some lucky trips and I’ve won a few races.”

Santos knew he might start slow after he arrived late from Woodbine in Toronto, where he had a strong summer and fall that included a victory in the Grade II, $210,400 Kennedy Road Stakes on Ikerrin Road on Nov. 24 (also Opening Day at Tampa Bay Downs).

After he arrived here, some questioned the wisdom of using his wife, Rose Miranda, as his agent. But they have proven to be a formidable team, with Miranda enthusiastically selling her rider’s talent and work ethic to Oldsmar trainers.

“Some people might look at it like she’s my agent because we’re married, but we work well together,” said Santos, who has climbed into a tie for sixth in the standings with 17 victories. “She does a great job getting me on good horses, and the rest is up to me. Even if I’m on (a long shot), it’s up to me to make a difference.”

Santos acknowledges that when he first came to Tampa Bay Downs 10 years ago, he might not have dealt as well with a slow start. Experience helps, as well as embracing the responsibilities of fatherhood with his three sons: twins Lucas and Gabriel, 12, and Rafael, 10.

“I’m more mature, and I know the people because I’ve been coming here since 2009, so they know what I can do,” he said. “The track is kind of like a little family, and over the years you get more confident and people get more confidence in you.”

Santos sounds like an Academy Award recipient as he thanks the trainers who have put him on winning mounts: Gerald Bennett, Laura Cazares, Darien Rodriguez, Juan Arriagada, Nick Caruso; he’s sorry to leave anybody out.

Spreading the credit around might help business in some measure, but those he didn’t mention this time are unlikely to stop using him as long as he delivers results.

“I’m grateful to be doing well and I appreciate all the help from everybody,” Santos said. “My goal is to keep getting better and go back to Canada and try to be in the top six of the standings. I had a good experience there, and riding with that colony helped me get better.”

Around the oval. Daniel Centeno rode two winners today. He was aboard 7-year-old Florida-bred mare Royal Jewely in the second race for owners Michael Reynolds and Anthony J. Piarulli and trainer Gerald Bennett. Centeno added the fifth race on 3-year-old gelding Skole for breeder-owner Green Lantern Stables and trainer Arnaud Delacour.

Thoroughbred racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:45 p.m. The track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.