War of Will won the 144th Preakness Stakes on Saturday afternoon in Maryland, taking the lead in the final turn to pick up the win in the second big horse race of the year.
The horse’s victory, though, took a backseat to Bodexpress — who ran nearly the entire race on his own without a jockey.
Bodexpress, sitting in the No. 9 spot at Pimlico Race Course, had trouble getting into the starting gate. Once the doors opened, the horse reared back badly, bucking jockey John Velazquez right off of him before taking off down the track.
Bodexpress: the MVP we all needed. pic.twitter.com/FQpuKi9yPZ
— Eli Hershkovich (@EliHershkovich) May 18, 2019
“He was just not behaving good in the gate,” Velazquez said on NBC after the race. “He was not settling really well. He got me against the wall in the gate, and obviously when the doors open I was kind of off right from the start. I kind of jumped sideways, I had my feet out of the iron. I lost my balance, and I went off.
Instead of fading off or getting distracted, however, Bodexpress kept right on running with the pack. He worked his way back slightly from the outside and even pulled ahead of two other horses in the race by the halfway point.
I’m officially obsessed with Bodexpress, the jockeyless horse who still managed to beat other horses in the Preakness. pic.twitter.com/ukqF3bfDpA
— Robert Price (@RobertPriceTV) May 18, 2019
An outrider then tried to ride out and pull Bodexpress out of the race just after the final turn, but the horse wasn’t having it. Bodexpress kept right on running and finished the race.
Velazquez insisted after that he was completely fine after being violently thrown from the horse.
It just wasn’t the start to the race he was expecting.
“I’m good. I’m just disappointed,” Velazquez said. “When you come in here to a big race like this and then things like this happens with the horse, it’s disappointing.”
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