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Apr 19, 2013

Trainer had easy decision for Java's War


Lexington, KY (Sports Network) - According to trainer Ken McPeek, racing Java's War in Saturday's 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland was a "no brainer."

The 3-year-old colt proved the veteran Kentucky trainer a genius with a neck victory in the $750,000 race.

"It was a no-brainer. He'd run well on this track already," McPeek said after the win. "The distance and the surface were good, and the timing was good. Who doesn't want to win at Keeneland, anyway? Let's keep our fingers crossed that the next three weeks go well."

Bred and owned by Charles Fipke, Java's War had his usual lousy start and needed to go from last in the 14-horse field to get the win with Julien Leparoux in the saddle. .

"I wasn't worried. That's his running style. He's not a horse that's quick out of there. He's a big, long striding colt. If you try to force him away from there, you're just going to make it worse. Julien (Leparoux) did the right thing, and he got him there. It was thrilling," the trainer noted.

The colt has now won races on both grass and synthetic with no victories yet on dirt. He broke his maiden on turf in his second start and then won the Sunday Silence Stakes on the turf course at Louisiana Downs. In his only race at Churchill Downs he finished sixth last Nov. 24 in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

"We didn't know coming into his 3-year-old year whether he was a turf horse or a Polytrack horse," McPeek said, "but obviously he's running over about anything we put him on. That race at Tampa (second to Verrazano in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9) gave us the idea that, OK, we really do fit. Today's race was huge."

The 100 points that Java's War got for winning the Blue Grass assures him a place in the starting field for the Kentucky Derby on May 4.

"Mr. Fipke deserves all the credit. The man breeds quality horses. He puts a lot of energy and money into it, and I'm happy for him. He deserves it," said McPeek who earlier won the 2002 Blue Grass Stakes with Harlan's Holiday.

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