War of Will Wins the Preakness – Bodexpress throws John Velazquez at the Gate

War of Will wins the Preakness

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.

Bodexpress reared and bucked leaving the starting gate, tossing John Velazquez.

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.



2 thoughts on “War of Will Wins the Preakness – Bodexpress throws John Velazquez at the Gate

  1. I saw West on the television after the Derby, angrily protesting the steward’s decision. I believe I even heard him imply that he would ‘sue’ or at least try to litigate a change.
    This pissed me off. Rather than accept the fact that his rider DID allow the horse to impede (and almost bring War of Will down), he made it sound as if the stewards were personally out to deny him the win. Now whether it was just sore losing, I don’t know. Maybe this offer is a more level headed response, although I fail to see what it will prove. Max Security DID win the KD, we could all see that, but he was DQ’ed on technicalities, and he had it coming. I still shudder to think of the awful wreck that could…and almost did. have happened.
    I would like to see the other owners take him up on his challenge. It hopefully would lighten racings image at a badly needed moment.
    On the other hand, seeing Bodexpress’s run was…well, a testament to those of us who insist that race horses LIKE TO RUN. Show this to the next person who insists that TB’s are “forced to race’. Common sense would have told Bodexpress, hey, head to the barn! But NO! He’s saying, HEY, this is more like it, what do I need a rider for? In fact, he made TWO laps. Is that FORCE? Hell no. He runs because he likes it.
    The moment I saw the jockey stand up, I knew it was going to be okay.
    THe two things that scared me was the possibility he might step on the reins, or get tangled up in them, and please, don’t charge into the middle of the pack.
    But again, he gave himself plenty of room.

    So far we’ve had an impediment and almost wreck in the KD, a fallen jockey (I thought Improbable was going to flip over backwards in the gate, by the way) in the Preakness…my god, what next at the Belmont? Some idiot running onto the track?

    1. Two Triple Crown races, two near misses. I agree that Improbably was also acting up in the gate. I read one comment that perhaps the starter was watching him and hit the button because he was still for a moment, not noticing Bodexpress. And yes, that colt was having fun. At least he did so without getting in the way of the horses still racing. In the Grand National (where riders fall off left and right) many of those horses continue to jump around the course because they want to. The problem is that with those big jumps, having horses suddenly veer across the course gets quite dangerous.

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