Unencumbered by a jockey and suddenly free to run wherever he pleased, Bodexpress decided to take a shot at winning the Preakness.
Taking one of the most memorable trips in the 149-year history of Pimlico Race Course, Bodexpress followed the leaders without a rider on board and at one point appeared to be a contender in the 13-horse race.
"You've got to be careful because some of them try to win," said trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled race favorite Improbable. "I've had horses that try to win. They actually run a great race sometimes."
War of Will may have won #ThePreakness, but Bodexpress finished the race without a jockey 🐎— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 18, 2019
From the moment the frisky 3-year-old hopped from the gate, ejecting Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, craziness ensued . Running on his own in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, Bodexpress began his obligatory trip around the track, driven either by instinct or the desire to be part of the crowd.
Fortunately, Velazquez quickly rose from the dirt and scooted off the track without injury.
"When the doors opened, I was off right from the start. He kind of jumped sideways," Velazquez said. "I had my feet out of the irons so I lost my balance then, I went off."
There was an indication that things weren't going right when Bodexpress veered left from the post parade instead of right, along with the other horses.
"He was just not behaving good in the gate. He was not sitting really well," Velazquez said. "He got me against the wall and the gate."
Credit: Will Newton
Credit: Will Newton
Coming out of the nasty spill with his health was a positive, but the 47-year-old jockey won't soon forget this (non) ride.
"When you come in here to a big race and then things like this happen with the horses, it's disappointing," Velazquez said.
An outrider tried to corral Bodexpress at the top of the stretch, but he wasn't about to let the horseplay come to an end. The colt sped up and passed a few competitors near the finish line and kept going.
In fact, he ran the entire track again before finally calling it a day — a veritable victory lap for the social media champion who was still trending on Twitter hours later.
Bodexpress, the Florida Derby runnerup in March, was placed last and officially gets a did-not-finish.
War of Will bounced back from a bumpy ride in the Kentucky Derby to win the Preakness.
War of Will was unfazed starting from the inside No. 1 post position for the second consecutive race, even though that contributed to a rough run at Churchill Downs.
Rising star jockey Tyler Gaffalione guided the horse along the rail in the Preakness and made a move into the lead around the final curve, holding off hard-charging late addition Everfast, who was a nose ahead of Owendale for second.
Two weeks ago at the Kentucky Derby, apparent winner Maximum Security was disqualified for interfering with War of Will, and Country House elevated to first in the only on-track disqualification in the race's 145-year history.
It was the first Preakness run without the Kentucky Derby winner since 1996, but the 13-horse field was the largest since 2011. Go back to 1951 for the last time the Preakness was run without the top four finishers from the Derby.
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