Declaration of War pulled a mild upset in the Juddmonte International Stakes (Eng-I) Aug. 21 at York, turning the tables on highly regarded rivals Al Kazeem and Toronado.
Ridden by Joseph O'Brien, the War Front colt breezed past Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) winner Trading Leather and 11-8 favorite Al Kazeem inside the final furlong to score by 1 1/4 lengths at 7-1 odds in his second group I win of the season. Group I winner Toronado, who raced at the back of the six-horse field, was never in contention and was eased in the straight to finish last as the 9-4 second favorite.
Trading Leather set the pace and was tracked from second by Al Kazeem, who briefly took charge more than a furlong out. Declaration of War wound up his rally with three-eighths to run and grabbed the lead from Al Kazeem past the furlong marker. Trading Leather gamely battled back but could not overtake the winner to finish second.
Al Kazeem, a three-time group I winner this season, struggled on the firm ground but held on to finish third, 1 1/2 lengths back.
"This lad is tough and hardy," O'Brien told RTE Sports about Declaration of War. "He's been running consistently well, and a mile and a quarter on hard ground suits him lovely.
"He traveled very well, relaxed great, and toughed it out to the line."
Trained by Aidan O'Brien for Coolmore and partners, Declaration of War won the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) in June at Royal Ascot and followed up with three more creditable performances at a mile heading into the International. He finished second to Al Kazeem in the Coral Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) July 6 at Sandown, third to Toronado in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) July 31 at Goodwood, and fourth to Moonlight Cloud in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) Aug. 11 at Deauville.
Stretching out to 1 1/4 miles for the Juddmonte International, Declaration of War was timed in 2:05.74 in his third win in as many starts at the distance. Overall, he seven wins, including the 1 1/4-mile Diamond Stakes (Eng-III) last year, a second, and a third from 12 career starts.
Declaration of War began his career in France, racing as a 2-year-old for breeder Joseph Allen and trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. The Kentucky-bred colt won both starts by a combined margin of 11 lengths before he was acquired by Coolmore and partners and sent to Aidan O'Brien.
Declaration of War is out of the winning Rahy mare Tempo West, a half sister to 2012 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Union Rags .He is a half brother to grade II-placed stakes winner Vertiformer .
The colt is from the second crop of War Front, an 11-year-old son of Danzig who stands at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. With four crops racing, War Front has 22 stakes winners, including 14 graded stakes winners.