SARATOGA SPRINGS — If there was a sliver of doubt that Preakness winner War of Will wouldn't be ready for the Jim Dandy on July 27, it was plucked away Saturday morning.
Working in company with 2018 Sanford runner-up Strike Silver, War of Will covered five furlongs in 1:00.43 under jockey Tyler Gaffalione on the main track, a breeze trainer Mark Casse called "fantastic."
So it will be onward to the Jim Dandy, with the ultimate goal the Aug. 24 Travers. (Strike Silver will run in the July 28 Amsterdam.)
"I was just looking for a strong breeze," Casse said. "I don't think the track's all that fast. I was listening to other horses work up there.
"Galloped out really well. He's having a little bit of a blow, but not bad. That's what we were looking for. We wanted to put a little air into him, get him a little tired. You also want to see how they get over the track, but I had him here for a long time last year, and he loved this place, so it didn't surprise me."
"I thought he felt great today, full of energy, very strong and well within himself," Gaffalione said. "He's always been an aggressive horse, but with the company, it just woke him up a little more, maybe get him a little more keyed up going into this next race. He got a good strong work out of it, so I believe we accomplished what we were going for."
Casse said he's been eager to get War of Will, the only horse to have run in all three legs of the Triple Crown this season, racing again, following a seventh-place finish in the Belmont Stakes to stablemate Sir Winston.
"You always like running your star, right?" Casse said. "Maybe a little more anxious to get this next race just so he can get back on track after his last performance.
"When one of your superstars gets beat up, you always want to come back and show everybody he's still the superstar. He just had a bad day."
Two other Jim Dandy prospects, Tax and Tacitus, also were out for timed workouts.
Grade III Withers winner Tax went a half-mile on the Oklahoma Training Track in 49.95.
Tacitus worked in company with Yoshida on the Oklahoma, clocking in at 1:01, with Whitney candidate Yoshida posting a 1:00.90.
"I thought they both went well," trainer Bill Mott told the New York Racing Association. "We just want to keep them happy, healthy and stay on their respective courses."
Champagne Anyone, fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.20 on the main track in preparation for the Coaching Club American Oaks next Saturday.
Jockey Chris Landeros was in the saddle.
"Nice work," he said. "She seems to handle the track really well, and I'm looking forward to a big run." …
King for a Day went a half-mile in 49.39 on the Oklahoma with John Velazquez aboard as he points toward the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park next Saturday.
Trainer Todd Pletcher told NYRA that the colt, who beat disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security in the Pegasus at Monmouth, could be better set up for the Travers by running in the Haskell, since there are eight more days between those two races than usual with the new Saratoga weekly format.
The 2-year-old colt Pharoah Cat, the first progeny of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah to race at Saratoga, finished eighth in the fourth race on Saturday's card.
Two races later, another American Pharoah baby, Cardiac Kid, finished sixth. ...
Trainer Catherine Day Phillips said Mr. Havercamp, winner of Friday's Grade III Forbidden Apple, will be considered for a big jump up in class in the Grade I Fourstardave on Aug. 10.