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Willow Oak Becomes First Winner for War of Will

Willow Oak won her debut by 1 1/4 lengths and is a homebred for Dede McGehee.

Willow Oak winning her debut June 17 at Presque Isle Downs

Willow Oak winning her debut June 17 at Presque Isle Downs

Coady Media

Claiborne Farm's versatile classic-winning freshman sire War of Will  scored his first winner June 17 when Dede McGehee's homebred 2-year-old filly Willow Oak won by 1 1/4 lengths in her racing debut at Presque Isle Downs.

Willow Oak is the first foal and the first runner out of the Kitten's Joy mare Joyful Cat, who is a full sister to grade 3 winner Charming Kitten  and multiple grade 3-placed stakes winner Queen'splatekitten.

Kelsey Danner trains Willow Oak, who was ridden by Adam Beschizza on Presque Isle's all-weather track. She raced 4 1/2 furlongs in :52.72 and "drove clear late" for the win.

War of Will's progeny have not just been knocking on the door of a first win, they've been pounding on it. Prior to June 17, War of Will runners had made 11 starts and placed in seven of them, including two placings in black-type stakes. 

An 8-year-old son of War Front , War of Will was a stakes-placed winner at 2. He went on at 3 to win the Preakness Stakes (G1) after capturing the Lecomte Stakes (G3) and Risen Star Stakes (G2). He showed his versatility at 4 when he won the Maker's Mark Mile Stakes (G1T) on the grass at Keeneland and was third in the Woodbine Mile Stakes (G1T). He retired with a 5-1-3 record from 18 starts and earned $1,881,803.

War of Will stands for $25,000.