Grading out last week’s 2019 Kentucky Derby, Oaks preps

Photo: Hodges Photography

After a week without points-paying preps toward the 2019 Kentucky Derby and Oaks, the trails resumed at Fair Grounds, where War of Will prevailed in the Lecomte (G3) a race after Needs Supervision took down the Silverbulletday for fillies.

Will those victories set them up for bigger success down the line? Let’s delve into their performances and find out. 

Silverbulletday Stakes

Date Run: 
Jan. 19, 2019

Winner: Needs Supervision

On the Board: Eres Tu, Grandaria

Distance/Time: 1 mile and 70 yards/1:45.34

Speed Figure: 91 TimeformUS 

Grade: F

 Fair Grounds has produced a number of great fillies from its prep series in the past, namely Monomoy Girl a year ago. But she didn’t run in the Silverbulletday, and I think we’ll have to look beyond the 2019 renewal for any bigger picture prospects again.

The pace dawdled, with the first six furlongs in 1:15.83, and the final quarter mile plus 70 yards in the stretch measured 29.51 seconds. This race screams of a toss.

Liora, a narrow winner of the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) who earned a 95 Timeform figure that day, regressed when she folded after making the lead around the final turn. Meanwhile, the winner shortened her stride late. Though none in the field closed well enough to catch Needs Supervision, Eres Tu did make a mild rally during the final furlong.

The track was slow and tiring, and that was exhibited over the entire card with dirt drying out from rain earlier in the day. Still, it would appear to take a big move forward for one of these fillies to impact the Oaks.

Lecomte Stakes

Date Run: 
Jan. 19, 2019

Winner: War of Will

On the Board: Hog Creek Hustle, Manny Wah

Distance/Time: 1 mile and 70 yards/1:43.44

Speed Figure: 110 TimeformUS 

Grade: B

The speed figure won’t knock anyone’s socks off, though it’s on par with what you’d expect from a nice horse at Fair Grounds this time of year. To boot, there’s more to the race than a number.

When compared to the Silverbulletday, run one race earlier on the card, both the pace and finish were much faster. War of Will completed his final split in 28.81 seconds, and his final time was nearly two seconds faster than Needs Supervision ran.

War of Will looked full of energy down the stretch despite losing ground throughout the race. He ran straight and strong, while striding out exuberantly, leaving the impression that more distance will suit him fine.

While the strength of what he beat can be questioned — hence, the B prep rating, the winner put for a solid, legitimate performance. War of Will looks like a dangerous horse on the Derby trail.


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