War of Will got a clear trip today and vindicated himself by pulling away to win by a 1 1/4 lengths. The number #1 post position wasn’t a problem. In fact, someone at Pimlico wrote that “the rail was golden this week”, and horses that hugged the inside track did very well. WoW gave trainer Mark Casse and jockey Tyler Gaffalione their first Preakness Classic win.
The race, however, was not without controversy. Bodexpress acted up in the starting gate and parted company with jockey. Watching the replay, it appears that the starter still had his hand on the colt’s bridle when the gate opened. Bodexpress reared up and, without his feet in the irons, John Velazquez didn’t have a prayer of staying on. Bodexpress went on without him, finished the race and did another lap around the track before being caught by outriders. Luckily horse and jockey were both fine. Although he is recorded as Did Not Finish (DNF), Bodexpress captured the hearts of racing fans and became an instant Twitter sensation. As one person put it:
“Pundits: Driverless cars are the way of the future.”
In other racing news, Gary West, the owner of Maximum Security, is offering a $5 million bonus each to the owners of Country House, War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress if any of those horses finish ahead of Maximum Security the next time any of them race against him through Dec, 31, 2019. If all four finished ahead of his horse, West would be out $20 million of his own money! His challenge is meant to increase interest in racing, which has taken a public beating given the number of deaths at Santa Anita this year.