When Fog of War rallied to win his debut at Saratoga this summer with a determined late run, it seemed clear that trainer Chad Brown had yet another promising turf horse in his barn.
That belief was vindicated on Sunday when Fog of War proved to be a most impressive winner of the $250,000 Summer Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine, overcoming a somewhat troubled trip to swallow the leader in the final furlong and bring his record to a perfect 2-for-2.
Sent off as the clear favorite in the one-mile “Win and You’re In” prep race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I), Fog of War left little doubt about his superiority over eleven rivals. With Javier Castellano in the saddle, Fog of War rated along the inside early on, racing a few lengths off the early pace set by longshot Wallace, who went out through steady fractions of :23.36, :46.20, and 1:10.00 while being tracked by War of Will.
But even in the early stages of the race, it was clear that Fog of War—saving ground and biding his time—was traveling best of all and would be tough to beat if he could find racing room in the homestretch. However, finding racing room was far from a given; as Wallace gave way and War of Will assumed the lead, Fog of War found himself buried behind horses with no clear opening.
Even when an opening did appear to the outside of War of Will, it was a somewhat narrow gap, and Castellano had to work hard to convince Fog of War (who seemed latched on to the idea of staying inside) to shift out a couple of paths and run down the leader. But eventually, Fog of War got down to business, and when he got outside and lengthened his stride, the outcome was inevitable as he rolled past War of Will to win by three-quarters of a length and stop the timer in 1:33.90 seconds.
As a son of War Front out of the Grade 1-placed Galileo mare Say, Fog of War has a beautiful pedigree that screams “turf miler,” so his success over those conditions in the Summer Stakes was hardly a surprise. And with his “Win and You’re In” berth to the Juvenile Turf secure, he looms as the early favorite for that one-mile championship event on November 2nd at Churchill Downs, though he could face significant competition from the always-dangerous (but yet-to-be-determined) European shippers.
In any case, Fog of War will give Chad Brown and owner Peter Brant a very strong hand at the Breeders’ Cup, considering that they also campaign the top Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I) contender Sistercharlie.