Willow Oak A First Winner For Claiborne's War of Will

Willow Oak | Coady Media

2nd-Presque Isle Downs, $30,500, Msw, 6-17, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f (AWT), :52.72, ft, 1 1/4 lengths.
WILLOW OAK (f, 2, War of Will–Joyful Cat, by Kitten's Joy) was bet nearly in half from her 8-1 morning line off a promising worktab over the Turfway Tapeta and came away late to become the first winner for her Classic-winning freshman sire (by War Front). Under a hustling ride from Adam Beschizza from gate five, the Dede McGehee homebred was a midpack fifth into the turn, was roused right-handed while progressing leaving the quarter pole and did her best work through the wire, pulling away to graduate at first asking by 1 1/4 lengths. Under her Heaven Trees banner, McGehee purchased Joyful Cat–a sister to GSW Charming Kitten, SW/MGSP Queen'splatekitten and MGSP Portfolio Company–for $150,000 with this filly in utero at the 2021 Keeneland November Sale. Joyful Cat is also the dam of a yearling colt by Dialed In and a Yaupon filly foaled Apr. 28. Bought back as a Keeneland September yearling, War of Will was purchased by Justin Casse for €250,000 at the 2018 Arqana May Breeze-Up Sale. Winner of the 2019 GIII Lecomte S. and GII Risen Star S., the Gary Barber colorbearer was a troubled eighth, promoted to seventh, in the GI Kentucky Derby and wheeled back on the short rest to take the GI Preakness S. at 6-1. Third in that year's GI Pennsylvania Derby, War of Will became a dual-surface Grade I winner in the 2020 Maker's Mark Mile and the Mark Casse trainee was retired to Claiborne Farm with earnings of nearly $1.9 million. He is the sire of 113 foals of racing age, two of which–My Emmy and Garden of War–were third in the Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies and Royal Palm Juvenile, respectively. Sales history: $35,000 RNA Ylg '23 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. Click for the Equibase.com chart and VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.
O/B-Dede McGehee (KY); T-Kelsey Danner.



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