War of Will wins Preakness Stakes

Arnold Nichols
May 21, 2019

Only this time, Casse was in the middle of holding court with reporters the morning after his first Triple Crown victory.

Bodexpress runs in the 144th Preakness Stakes horse race without John Velazquez at Pimlico race course, Saturday, May 18, 2019, in Baltimore.

War of Will, running along the rail, won the Preakness, after becoming entangled with Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby and finishing seventh.

Bodexpress, the Florida Derby runnerup in March, was placed last and officially gets a did-not-finish.

"I was relieved, " War of Will's trainer, Mark Casse, said, "that he was okay and that we didn't have the worst disaster in horse racing history". Hard-charging late addition Everfast came in second and Owendale third.

As the action was unfolding at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, War of Will won the race.

Early leader Warrior's Charge finished fourth and Laughing Fox fifth.


West took Maximum Security off the Triple Crown trail, but Casse was eager to get War of Will back on the track two years after Classic Empire finished second in the Preakness.

Bodexpress continued to run the race without a jockey for the full turn and then ran an additional lap before he could be contained. There was no chance of history repeating itself this year after Kentucky Derby victor Country House missed the race with a cough. The pre-race favorite Improbable was sixth. Run over a distance of nine and a half furlongs, the race carries a purse of $1.5 million with the historic $4 million Woodlawn Vase, created by Tiffany and Co.in 1860, also awarded to the victor.

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 ageing Pimlico or the owners' favoured Laurel Park about 30 miles south. "But the Stronach Group is a private company, a private entity - and this is what they own so we really have to negotiate and work with them but I think that they know the Preakness belongs in Baltimore". When the doors opened, I was kind of up from the start.

From the moment that the frisky three-year-old hopped from the gate, ejecting Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, craziness ensued.

Unlike when Baffert brought Justify to Pimlico a year ago looking Triple Crown-caliber, this isn't a one-horse race. Country House developed a cough days afterward and was taken out of consideration, and Tacitus and Code of Honor not running means the first four horses to cross the finish line at the Derby aren't in the Preakness.

There will be no Triple Crown victor, but the three-race event will wrap up June 8 at the Belmont Stakes.

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