LEXINGTON, Ky. (February 19, 2019) – An emphatic victory by War of Will in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds this past Saturday was enough to elevate the Mark Casse-trainee to the No. 2 position behind champion Game Winner in this week’s National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll.
Owned by Gary Barber, War of Will captured the Risen Star by 2 ¼-lengths to remain unbeaten in three tries on dirt. The son of War Front garnered five first-place votes and 304 total points to move up one position on the poll, which had no new additions to its top ten.
“We’re thrilled to death with him,” David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, said of War of Will the morning after his Risen Star victory. “He likes it here and I don’t see Mark or Mr. Barber wanting to change anything so as long as he stays healthy and sound (the Louisiana Derby) is the game plan.”
Divisional champion Game Winner, who continues to prep for his seasonal bow, earned 29 first-place votes and 349 points to retain the top slot with stablemate and fellow Grade 1 winner Improbable (2 first-place votes, 278 points) slipping one spot to third. Mucho Gusto (208 points) is fourth with Instagrand (133 points) completing the top five.
Rounding out the top 10 are: Hidden Scroll (104 points), Signalman (102), Gunmetal Gray (82), Tax (60), and Harvey Wallbanger (47).
The entrance of Eclipse Award finalist Marley’s Freedom to the tenth position marked the only shift in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. The Bob Baffert-trained daughter of Blame bested four rivals in the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita Park February 16 to earn her sixth win from her last seven starts and a total of 54 points from poll voters.
City of Light, winner of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and this year’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, continues to dominate the top position with 33 first-place votes and 337 points. Champions Monomoy Girl (3 first-place votes, 268 points) and Roy H (237 points) hold in second and third, respectively.
The rest of the top 10 ahead of Marley’s Freedom also remains unchanged. Battle of Midway sits fourth with 214 points followed by Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational winner Bricks and Mortar (175), Accelerate (144 points), McKinzie (129), Seeking the Soul (97), and Sistercharlie (76).
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred polls are the sport’s most comprehensive surveys of experts. Every week eligible journalists and broadcasters cast votes for their top 10 horses, with points awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. All horses that have raced in the U.S., are in training in the U.S., or are known to be pointing to a major event in the U.S. are eligible for the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll concludes November 4 after the running of the Breeders’ Cup.
The Top 3-Year-Old Poll concludes June 8 after the Belmont Stakes.
The full results for the NTRA Thoroughbred Poll can be found on the NTRA website at:
Full accounting of top 10 votes by voter can be found at: