Charles Fipke’s Java’s War, winner of the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes April 13 and a troubled 13th in the Kentucky Derby, heads a field of five or six likely starters in the $150,000 Swaps Stakes.
The Swaps, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on Cushion Track, will be run Thursday, July 4, kicking off a loaded Fourth of July weekend at the Inglewood track.
Trainer Ken McPeek confirmed to vice president-racing and racing secretary Martin Panza Thursday morning that Java’s War will be arriving at Betfair Hollywood Park July 1 and will be stabled in the barn of Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg.
A son of War Pass out of the Rainbow Quest mare Java, Java’s War has won three of eight starts with earnings of $672,091. He came to prominence last year with a fast-closing third in the Grade I Breeders Futurity at Keeneland. He hesitated and got away slowly in the Kentucky Derby May 4, all but dooming his chances in the 19-horse field. Julien Leparoux, who rode Java’s War in the Blue Grass and Kentucky Derby, once again has the mount.
Other Swaps contenders include Tiz a Minister (trainer Paul Aguirre, jockey Corey Nakatani), who came from far back to win the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap June 2; Power Broker (Bob Baffert, no rider), who won the Grade 1 Front Runner at Santa Anita last Sept. 29 and coming off wins at Churchill Downs and Belmont Park; Dice Flavor (Paddy Gallagher, Mike Smith), victorious in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby Feb. 16 at Golden Gate Fields; and Chief Havoc (Peter Miller, no rider), a dominating allowance winner May 30.