War of Will cruised to victory in the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown Saturday.
War of Will navigated a start from the 1 post that saw Bodexpress rear up out of the starting gates and dismount jockey John Velazquez to the dirt and then used the rail to his advantage en route to victory in the 144th running of the Preakness before 131,256 fans at Pimlico Race Course.
War of Will crossed the wire with Tyler Gaffalione aboard in 1:54.1 to win by 1 1/4 lengths, Everfast placed 2nd by a nose, Owendale finished 3rd and Warrior’s Charge settled for 4th on a fast track at Pimlico.
It was a fitting result for trainer Mark Casse, who watched War of Will get bumped late en route to an 8th-place Derby finish.
In most years, the main intrigue in the Preakness is whether the Kentucky Derby winner prevailed and kept alive the chances for a Triple Crown bid. But that wasn’t the case Saturday after Country House, the elevated winner of the Derby after Maximum Security was disqualified, pulled out of the race due to a respiratory infection.
It marked the 1st time in 23 years that the Kentucky Derby champ did not race in the Preakness. With the luster off the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown, the buzz throughout the Baltimore track centered on whether this would be the last Preakness at Pimlico. A plane, with a sign that read, ‘Stronach Keep Preakness in Baltimore,’ flew over the track throughout the day.
The track has been the annual home of the Preakness since Y 1909. But the Stronach Group, which owns Pimlico, has expressed their desire to move the Preakness to Laurel Park, located about 25 miles southwest of Baltimore, for Y 2020 and beyond. Track officials say Pimlico needs more than $400-M in repairs and the facility lost nearly 7,000 seats earlier this Spring after engineers cited structural concerns.
But all that talk dissipated once the bell rang, the gates lifted, and Bodexpress shook his jockey off the saddle. Mr. Velazquez dusted himself off and said he was fine afterward, but Bodexpress ended up running the race before getting derailed around the 1/4 pole by the outriders.
War of Will paid $14.20 for the Win, $4.40 for Place and $5.40 for Show. Everfast paid $32.00 and $14.40 while Owendale paid $6.00.
The order of finish:
1st: 1. War of Will
2nd: 10. Everfast
3rd: 5. Owendale
4th: 3. Warrior’s Charge
5th: 11. Laughing Fox
6th: 4. Improbable
7th: 13. Win Win Win
8th: 2. Bourbon War
9th: 8. Signalman
10th: 12. Anothertwistafate
11th: 7. Alwaysmining
12th: 6. Market King
Did not finish: 9. Bodexpress
Have a terrific weekend