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War of Will wins Preakness, holds off riderless Bodexpress

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BALTIMORE — 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.

Trainer Mark Casse got his first Triple Crown victory, with War of Will unfazed starting from the inside No. 1 post position for the second consecutive race. War of Will endured a rough trip and was interfered with in the Kentucky Derby, which led to first-place finisher Maximum Security being disqualified.

Casse was just thankful War of Will didn’t go down in the Derby, which could’ve been a multihorse catastrophe.

“This is even I think probably more special given everything that we’ve been through,” Casse said. “I’m not even calling it redemption. I didn’t feel like he got his fair shot, and that’s all I wanted – a fair shot. And he showed what he had today.”

VIDEO: Maximum Security disqualified, Country House wins Kentucky Derby

Bodexpress threw Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez just out of the starting gate but still finished the race and did an extra lap around the Pimlico track. 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.”

War of Will made a move around the final turn led by jockey Tyler Gaffalione and didn’t relent down the stretch. Hard-charging late addition Everfast came in second and Owendale third.

Casse, 58, entered a horse in the Preakness for the fifth time and came closest two years ago when Classic Empire finished second.

“I’m just very happy for Mark to get his first Classic win,” Gaffalione said. “Very happy for the horse. He deserved it more than anything. He’s so special.”

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.

“It really hasn’t even hit me yet,” he said. “I can’t even put it into words.

Bob Baffert-trained Improbable was beaten as the favorite for the second consecutive Triple Crown race. Improbable finished sixth in the 13-horse field that was the biggest at the Preakness since 2011.

It was the first Preakness run without the Kentucky Derby winner since 1996 – this time without the horse that crossed the finish line first and the long-shot Country House who was elevated to first after Maximum Security was disqualified for interference. Go back to 1951 for the last time the Preakness was run without the top four finishers from the Derby.

The race was run at a tumultuous time for horse racing.

After 23 horse fatalities at Santa Anita Park over a three-month span, there was another in training Friday, and a filly collapsed and died after a race at Pimlico on Friday. Then there was the disqualification of Maximum Security at Churchill Downs and the ensuing lawsuit filed by owners Gary and Mary West and suspension handed down to jockey Luis Saez.

In Maryland, the Stronach Group that owns the track – and also Santa Anita – is embroiled in an ongoing quarrel with local politicians over the future of the Preakness being at historic but aging Pimlico or the owners’ favored Laurel Park about 30 miles south. More than 6,000 grandstand seats were cordoned off because they were deemed unsafe, and a water main break disrupted preparations for the event and left a lack of running water on race day.

All over the country, horse racing is fending off a threat to its very existence in the form of legalized sports gambling. Yet the Maryland Jockey Club reported a record attendance and amount bet on Black-Eyed Susan Day on Friday.

Full list of past Preakness winners:

2019 – War of Will

2018 – Justify

2017 – Cloud Computing

2016 – Exaggerator

2015 – American Pharoah

2014 – California Chrome

2013 – Oxbow

2012 – I’ll Have Another

2011 – Shackleford

2010 – Lookin at Lucky

2009 – Rachel Alexandra

2008 – Big Brown

2007 – Curlin

2006 – Bernardini

2005 – Afleet Alex

2004 – Smarty Jones

2003 – Funny Cide

2002 – War Emblem

2001 – Point Given

2000 – Red Bullet

1999 – Charismatic

1998 – Real Quiet

1997 – Silver Charm

1996 – Louis Quatorze

1995 – Timber Country

1994 – Tabasco Cat

1993 – Prairie Bayou

1992 – Pine Bluff

1991 – Hansel

1990 – Summer Squall

1989 – Sunday Silence

1988 – Risen Star

1987 – Alysheba

1986 – Snow Chief

1985 – Tank’s Prospect

1984 – Gate Dancer

1983 – Deputed Testamony

1982 – Aloma’s Ruler

1981 – Pleasant Colony

1980 – Codex

1979 – Spectacular Bid

1978 – Affirmed
1977 – Seattle Slew

1976 – Elocutionist

1975 – Master Derby

1974 – Little Current

1973 – Secretariat

1972 – Bee Bee Bee
1971 – Canonero II

1970 – Personality

1969 – Majestic Prince

1968 – Forward Pass

1967 – Damascus

1966 – Kauai King

1965 – Tom Rolfe

1964 – Northern Dancer

1963 – Candy Spots

1962 – Greek Money

1961 – Carry Back

1960 – Bally Ache

1959 – Royal Orbit

1958 – Tim Tam

1957 – Bold Ruler

1956 – Fabius

1955 – Nashua

1954 – Hasty Road

1953 – Native Dancer

1952 – Blue Man

1951 – Bold

1950 – Hill Prince

1949 – Capot

1948 – Citation

1947 – Faultless

1946 – Assault

1945 – Polynesian

1944 – Pensive

1943 – Count Fleet

1942 – Alsab

1941 – Whirlaway

1940 – Bimelech

1939 – Challedon

1938 – Dauber

1937 – War Admiral

1936 – Bold Venture

1935 – Omaha

1934 – High Quest

1933 – Head Play

1932 – Burgoo King

1931 – Mate

1930 – Gallant Fox

1929 – Dr. Freeland

1928 – Victorian

1927 – Bostonian
1926 – Display

1925 – Coventry

1924 – Nellie Morse
1923 – Vigil

1922 – Pillory

1921 – Broomspun

1920 – Man o’ War

1919 – Sir Barton

1918 – War Cloud and Jack Hare, Jr.

1917 – Kalitan

1916 – Damrosch

1915 – Rhine Maiden

1914 – Holiday

1913 – Buskin

1912 – Colonel Holloway

1911 – Watervale

1910 – Lay Master

1909 – Effendi

1908 – Royal Tourist

1907 – Don Enrique

1906 – Whimsical

1905 – Cairngorm

1904 – Bryn Mawr

1903 – Flocarline

1902 – Old England

1901 – The Parader

1900 – Hindus

1899 – Half Time

1898 – Sly Fox

1897 – Paul Kauver

1896 – Margrave

1895 – Belmar

1894 – Assignee

1893-91 – No Races Held

1890 – Montague

1889 – Buddhist

1888 – Refund

1887 – Dubine

1886 – The Bard

1885 – Tecumseh

1884 – Knight of Ellerslie

1883 – Jacobus

1882 – Vanguard

1881 – Saunterer

1880 – Grenada

1879 – Harold

1878 – Duke of Magenta

1877 – Cloverbrook

1876 – Shirley

1875 – Tom Ochiltree

1874 – Culpepper

1873 – Survivor

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