War of Will tries to make it three for three Saturday on the Louisiana path to the Kentucky Derby. He’s the unquestioned heavy favorite in the Louisiana Derby, the highlight of the winter racing season in New Orleans.

Risen Star Winner
War of Will wows fans winning the Risen Star Stakes in New Orleans. (Image: Hodges Photography)

But, it’s Anothertwistafate for trainer Blaine Wright, who’s garnering just a bit more of the betting public’s interest this weekend.

Sunday, he’ll have his character test at Sunland Park in Eastern New Mexico, near El Paso, in the Sunland Derby. Race fans and bettors want to find out if the speedster might have what it takes to sniff the roses on Derby Day in Louisville. The son of Scat Daddy, sire of last year’s Triple Crown conqueror Justify is sure to be class tested determining if he’s worthy of a shot at the big time at Churchill Downs, the first Saturday in May — this year May 4.

The El Camino Real Derby winner is undefeated on the Golden Gate Fields synthetic surface. Handicappers will be certainly considering that this marks Anothertwistafate’s second dirt test. First time out, he failed to impress sprinting over Santa Anita’s main track in an off-the-board-finish. Since then, he’s blasted to the front in longer races in what appears to be his favored style. Last time out he displayed those front-running tactics, easily dispatching the Bob Baffert-trained Kingly by seven lengths.

Anothertwistafate to Be Tested

Among the questions to be asked and in need of answers Sunday by Anothertwistafate in the 1 1/8 mile Sunland Derby:

  • Can he transfer his blazing speed to an all-weather, synthetic surface to the natural dirt environs at Sunland.
  • How will he respond to any challenger that might contest the dangerous lone speed he’s displayed at Golden Gate, near San Francisco?
  • Can he withstand a vastly improved class of competitors that includes Baffert’s Mucho Gusto, the highly regarded youngster who’s being overshadowed by Baffert’s other Kentucky Derby candidates?

Ten horses are set to enter the starting gate at Sunland vying for a piece of the $800,000 purse and crucial points — 50-20-10-5 – on the Kentucky Derby points schedule to be distributed to the first four finishers.

Mucho Gusto is tabbed as the morning line favorite at 8/5. Anothertwistafate the 3/1 second choice. The favorite has a three for four resume. He was last seen winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita in early February. His only defeat  inflicted by stablemate Improbable, another of Baffert’s formidable battery of Kentucky Derby hopefuls.

The two favorites are lining up next to each other at Sunland. Mucho Gusto is at the rail and Anothertwistafate next door in post position two. Probable post time is 7:30 pm ET. For complete entries, riders and the morning line click here.

War of Will: Dominance in Crescent City

The reason race fans and particularly bettors may have extra interest in the Sunland Derby over the in the $1 million Louisana Derby on Saturday is the dominance of War of Will at the Fair Grounds. That’s because he’s 6/5 on the morning line and likely to go off at much less than that.

Known by the stable nickname “Wow”, the Mark Casse trainee is showing he’s a serious horse and a leading Kentucky Derby contender. After a workmanlike win in the Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 19, the first New Orleans’s prep, he left no doubt about his Derby credentials a month later by winning the Risen Star Stakes from the difficult 14th post position.

War of Will was very good but not a winner in his first four starts as a two-year-old, all on the grass. However, since Casse switched the son of War Front, mainly a turf sire, to the dirt, he’s posted three impressive wins in three efforts.

The “Wow” horse breaks from post position six as part of a field of 11. The 1 1/8 mile race scheduled for 5:13 p.m. ET. For complete entries, riders and the morning line click here.

It’s a 100-40-20-10 race on the Kentucky Derby points schedule. Going into the Louisiana Derby, he’s already at the head of the class and a certainty to have enough points to make the top 20 having priority to get into the starting gate on May 4.

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