An already-chaotic Triple Crown season took a surprising turn at the 2019 Preakness Stakes when the No. 9 horse BODEXPRESS went on a joy ride without his Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.
Just two weeks after MAXIMUM SECURITY was disqualified in the 145th Kentucky Derby, WAR OF WILL, the horse most impacted by MAXIMUM SECURITY in the homestretch turn, crossed the wire first at Pimlico to Win the 144th Preakness Stakes.
But all eyes were on BODEXPRESS.
The instant the bell rang and the gates flew open, the Kentucky-bred colt jumped out and up, unseating Velazquez. The jockey landed on the dirt but got up and walked off the track under his own power.
To the delight of viewers around the world, BODEXPRESS kept running, less 126 pounds of jockey. He kept pace with the field for some time before falling back.
Horses are herd animals bred and trained to run, so it was no surprise that he kept going with the pack. To paraphrase Forrest Gump; he just felt like running.
Outriders couldn’t chase him down initially because of how close he was to other horses. They tried to grab him as he turned towards the homestretch, but he dodged the attempt by scooting to the middle of the track.
When the 20-1 shot crossed the finish line his trip didn’t end there. He sped past the other horses as they were pulling up and ran an entire extra lap. When all was said and done, he was a little sweaty but in good health.
So for a lot of casual horse racing fans, and readers of the Daily Racing Blog, the narrative of the 2019 Preakness Stakes won’t be a tale of redemption- the Victory by WAR OF WILL after his KD heartbreak, but rather a story of liberation- of the horse who threw off his rider and ran on his own, without a care in the world.
For the record, BODEXPRESS was disqualified the moment he unseated Johnny V. So there was zero chance of him prancing into the Winners Circle. But that’s okay; he’s still a Winner in many people’s minds.