ETOBICOKE, Ontario - War of Will debuted at Woodbine in 2018 and will now look to win one of Woodbine's signature races in Saturday's Grade 1,
$1 million Woodbine Mile on the E.P. Taylor turf course.
The winner of the Woodbine Mile will earn a fees-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Mile on Nov. 7 at Keeneland.
War of Will, the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the Woodbine Mile, has not raced at Woodbine since finishing second to Fog of War in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes on turf in his 2-year-old season of 2018. After focusing on a dirt campaign as a 3-year-old last season - and winning the Preakness Stakes - War of Will has raced on grass in his two starts this year. He finished fifth in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on May 20 at Santa Anita, and then won the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile on July 20 at Keeneland.
War of Will has been training at Churchill Downs since his victory in the Maker's Mark Mile and shipped up to Woodbine earlier this week.
"He's coming off that nice win in the Maker's Mark Mile and he's trained as good as I've ever seen him train since that race," trainer Mark Casse said. "We're expecting him to run well."
Casse has entered three in the Woodbine Mile - War of Will, March to the Arch, and Olympic Runner. Rafael Hernandez had ridden March to the Arch in his win in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes here Aug. 15, but will ride War of Will in the Woodbine Mile. Casse said he had been pointing War of Will to the Woodbine Mile for a while, and Hernandez committed to the mount before March to the Arch's victory in the King Edward.
"We had got the call for Rafael for the Mile two or three weeks before March to the Arch ran," he said. "So it doesn't have anything to do with him picking one over the other. He had committed to Gary Barber and War of Will before he even rode March to the Arch. I don't want anybody to read anything into it - that they think one is better than the other. It has no bearing."
A pair of local stars will look to defeat the Casse trio - last season's Canadian Horse of the Year Starship Jubilee and the undefeated 3-year-old Shirl's Speight. Trainer Barb Minshall has entered a pair in the Woodbine Mile - King Edward Stakes runner-up Admiralty Pier and Armistice Day. The field is rounded out by the Chad Brown shipper Value Proposition.