2019 Preakness Stakes results: War of Will wins at Pimlico as Bodexpress runs without jockey
Steady favorite Improbable also had a restless start out of the gate in Baltimore
Two weeks after the Kentucky Derby finished with unpredictability, the 2019 Preakness Stakes started with some drama of its own. War of Will overcame a hot start from Warrior's Charge and some freak happenings out of the gate to claim the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Improbable, who entered Saturday's race with 3-to-1 favorite under esteemed trainer Bob Baffert and similarly accomplished jockey Mike Smith, was doomed early with some bucking in the starting gate just before the 144th running at Pimlico Race Course. But he wasn't even the worst of them, with Bodexpress knocking jockey John Velazquez off his back immediately out of the gate -- and then running the remainder of the course on his own.
War of Will came into Saturday's race ranked alongside Bourbon War and Alwaysmining, all of which were just behind Improbable in an unusually close field -- one marked by the absence of several Kentucky Derby contenders, including both the first-place finisher and eventual winner at Churchill Downs.
The Stakes aren't usually as well-attended as the Derby but remain a monumental event on the horse-racing calendar, even if this year's running was assured not to include a potential Triple Crown winner. Deemed the "Run for the Black-Eyed Susans," it began all the way back in 1873, touting the second best annual attendance among North American equestrian events behind only the Derby.
The 2019 Preakness Stakes also drew anticipation for being perhaps the final running of the race in Baltimore. The Stronach Group, who owns and operates Pimlico, among other race tracks, has, about 29 miles from Pimlico -- a historic site that's garnered mixed reviews in recent years for outdated infrastructure. After Saturday's race, the Preakness Stakes could very well be headed elsewhere.
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