LAUREL, MD – Isabelle de Tomaso’s homebred Grade 2 winner Irish War Cry, back on familiar ground at the Fair Hill Training Center in Fair Hill, MD, continued preparations for his next start with a six-furlong breeze over its main track.
Recently named the New Jersey-bred champion 2-year-old of 2016, Irish War Cry was timed in 1:13.40, the fastest of three horses at the distance, all trained by Graham Motion.
It was the second work for Irish War Cry since suffering his first career loss when seventh as the favorite in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on March 4 at Gulfstream Park. He went five furlongs in 1:01.10 on March 25 at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility where he spent the winter.
“I wanted him to have a good work. We had a lot of rain the last couple of days, so that’s why I put it off until today. The track was good this morning,” Motion said. “He actually shipped back on Monday morning, so he got here Tuesday and he galloped since then. He seems to have had a very good week.”
Irish War Cry won his first three starts, including a maiden victory on November 11 and the Marylander Stakes on December 31, both at Laurel Park, prior to his impressive triumph in the Grade 2 Lambholm South Holy Bull on February 4 at Gulfstream.
In the Fountain of Youth, Irish War Cry pressed a demanding pace set by Three Rules before tiring to finish 21 3/4 lengths behind the late-running winner Gunnevera, who returned to be third behind Always Dreaming in the Grade 1, $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby on Saturday.
“To me, I think it seemed like a perfect storm of a bounce off the Holy Bull and kind of a deep, cuppy track that he struggled with,” Motion said. “That’s the best case that I can give.”
Irish War Cry is set to make his next start in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial on April 8 at Aqueduct.
“That’s the plan, I wanted to get him home and give him the extra week, I just didn’t feel like I could run back in the Florida Derby off that performance,” Motion said. “For me, it was getting him home and getting him relaxed. The biggest factor was probably the extra week, to be honest. It’s also running in a Grade 2 as opposed to a Grade 1. That was a solid group, and the winner looked very impressive, I thought.”