Jockeyless horse steals the show at the Preakness

Tanya Simon
May 22, 2019

Leading up to the Preakness, the race lacked the usual drama of being a stop on the way to a potential Triple Crown sweep because neither Country House, the declared Kentucky Derby victor, nor Maximum Security, the second place horse at the Derby, ran at Pimlico.

The track made its debut in 1870, and while it's unclear how many more races Park Heights will see in the future, the thousands of people in attendance were excited to see the running of the race.

After losing his jockey, Bodexpress proceeded to run, run and run some more - all the way to the Preakness Stakes finish line - without a jockey.

"It really hasn't even hit me yet", said Gaffalione, who got advice Saturday morning from idol Jerry Bailey. "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".

Fortunately, Velazquez quickly rose from the dirt and scooted off the track without injury. War of Will, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione won.

Bodexpress, sitting in the No. 9 spot at Pimlico Race Course, had trouble getting into the starting gate. I'm happy for Mark to get his first Classic win.

"I was the luckiest guy and the only one luckier was horse racing because we were this close to you never seeing him again".

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War of Will bounced back from a bumpy ride in the Kentucky Derby to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, holding off a field that included a riderless horse that threw his jockey out of the gate and kept running.

The horse's victory, though, took a backseat to Bodexpress - who ran almost the entire race on his own without a jockey. 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.

Bodexpress, the Florida Derby runnerup in March, was placed last and officially gets a did-not-finish. Improbable finished sixth in the 13-horse field that was the biggest at the Preakness since 2011.

Two weeks ago, 22 minutes after Maximum Security appeared to be the emphatic victor of the 145th Derby, three stewards, horse racing's version of referees, ruled that when the colt had jumped a puddle, he impeded the progress of a rival, War of Will, nearly knocking off that colt's rider, Tyler Gaffalione. "When you come in here to a big race like this and then things like this happens with the horse, it's disappointing". "But I'm just disappointed".

As Bodexpress broke from the starting gate, he tossed jockey Johnny Velazquez who was not injured in the fall or subsequent moments.

The newspapers will crown War of Will the victor, but it was Bodexpress, despite finishing second-to-last, who made the event one that will stand the test of time.

"I'm not even calling it redemption", Casse added.

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