BALTIMORE (CBSNewYork/AP) — There wasn’t a Triple Crown on the line, but that didn’t lessen the excitement (or the controversy) surrounding the second jewel in horse racing’s big races Saturday.
War of Will bounced back from a bumpy ride in the Kentucky Derby to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione held off a field that included a riderless horse that threw off his jockey and didn’t include Kentucky Derby winner Country or disqualified-winner Maximum Security.
Trainer Mark Casse got his first Triple Crown victory, with War of Will unbothered starting from the inside No. 1 post position for the second consecutive race. War of Will was one of the horses interfered with by first-place finisher Maximum Security in the Derby two weeks ago.
JOCKEY THROWN FROM HORSE:
Bodexpress threw Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez off his mount just outside the starting gate, but still finished the race. An outrider tried to swoop in at the top of the stretch and corral Bodexpress, but the horse sped up and passed a few competitors near the finish line — and kept going. Technically, Bodexpress gets a did-not-finish.
“He wasn’t behaving well,” said Velazquez, who added he’s fine and would not seek medical attention. “When the doors opened, I was off right from the start and he kind of jumped sideways, and I had my feet out sideways and I lost my balance and went out.”
Preakness announcers added after the hectic race that Bodexpress likely kept some riders near the back of the pack from making a move during the race; fearing the loose horse may cause an accident if they passed him.
WILL TO WIN:
War of Will made a move around the final turn, led by Gaffalione, and didn’t relent down the stretch. Hard-charging late addition Everfast came in second and Owendale finished third.
An inquiry was briefly put up on the board at Maryland’s Pimlico Race Course, but quickly taken down.
Casse, 58, entered a horse in the Preakness for the fifth time and came closest two years ago when Classic Empire finished second. After the race, he told reporters he was happy War of Will finally got the fair shot he was denied during the Kentucky Derby.
It’s also a breakthrough for Gaffalione, who has become something of a rising star since being named top apprentice rider in 2015. Gaffalione, 24, was aboard War of Will for the colt’s sixth consecutive race and came away with the biggest victory of his young career.
Bob Baffert-trained Improbable was beaten as the favorite for the second consecutive Triple Crown race.
HEADED TO NEW YORK:
Despite the lack of a Triple Crown drama, the racing world now turns its sights to New York’s Belmont Park.
War of Will has the chance to pick up two of the sport’s three biggest trophies on June 8. The last horse to win both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes was Afleet Alex in 2005.
In a year that’s now seen the first Kentucky Derby winner disqualified since 1968 and a Preakness contender buck his jockey to the ground, it’s safe to say thousands will flock to the Big Apple to see what wild events might happen next.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)