ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Mark Casse on Sunday morning was still trying to wrap his head around the conflicted feelings he had following the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, which he won with Sir Winston while seeing War of Will, his Preakness winner, beat one horse.
“It was emotional,” Casse said. “It’s like having two kids, and you’re excited for one son and upset and hurt for the other son.”
Sir Winston and War of Will gave Casse two-thirds of a Triple Crown that saw a different horse win all three races. Both of his runners came out of the Belmont in good shape, and while both will likely make their next starts this summer at Saratoga, their routes there will differ.
Sir Winston, who got a Beyer Speed Figure of 95 for his Belmont victory, will remain here at Belmont Park with assistant Jamie Begg before heading north to Saratoga around July 6, inside a week of that track’s July 11 opening, Casse said.
War of Will, the only horse to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown this year, will return to Keeneland, where assistant David Carroll – who oversaw War of Will’s training for Casse at Fair Grounds this winter and spring – is based.
“We’ll let him settle in,” Casse said.
He said War of Will was “great this morning,” but he “thought last night, his stringhalt probably was the worst we’ve seen.
Casse theorized that War of Will might have struggled over the Belmont track on Saturday. He said he “looked good” on Sunday morning.
Casse said both Sir Winston and War of Will will be pointed to the Travers Stakes at Saratoga, a race that is shaping up as potentially pivotal for the 3-year-old male division. He said both would be considered for the Jim Dandy, also at Saratoga, as a prep.
Tacitus, who finished second, also is going to be pointed to the Travers, and he too could prep in the Jim Dandy, trainer Bill Mott said Sunday morning at his Belmont Park barn.
“Seemed fine, ate up,” Mott said when asked how Tacitus had come out of the race.
Mott said he thought the wide trip Tacitus had under Jose Ortiz was “not ideal.” Tacitus broke from the outside post in the field of 10 and never was able to move inside on a track where inside lanes seemed best; Sir Winston, for instance, hugged the rail for the first 1 1/4 miles of the 1 1/2-mile race before switching out.
“I wanted him in contention at the quarter pole,” Mott said. “He moved into contention at the quarter pole, but he had to move wide to do it. I didn’t want him to leave him with much to do at the quarter pole. It’s not a race for a deep closer.”
Mott said Tacitus likely would head to Saratoga, where he also has a stable, in about a week. Country House, his Kentucky Derby winner who has been at Churchill Downs, also will be heading soon to Saratoga.
Mott said he was proud that Tacitus continued his strong series of races this year. He won the Tampa Bay Derby and Wood Memorial before the Derby, in which he crossed the wire fourth and then was moved to third on the disqualification of Maximum Security. Tacitus came into the Belmont off a five-week break.
“He showed up, both in his preps and his Triple Crown races,” Mott said.
Had Tacitus won, it would have been Mott, not Casse, who would have won two Triple Crown races this year with two different horses.
“The horses did well in their training, didn’t really have a lot of problems to overcome,” Mott said. “Everything went fine apart from Country House being sick coming out of the Derby.”
Mott said he thought it was “poetic justice” that Casse won both the Preakness and Belmont.
“He had the horse that was bothered most in the Derby,” he said of War of Will.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.