BALTIMORE (AP)– Mark Casse completed a lifelong quest two weeks after the scare of a lifetime. And he did so in a race featuring a riderless horse that threw his jockey out of eviction and kept running.
Since he was a child, Casse wanted to win a Triple Crown race, and the well-respected fitness instructor got that victory when War of Will got better from a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby to win the Preakness on Saturday.
Casse, 58, was more relieved than anything that his prized 3-year-old colt didn’t decrease in the Derby, which could’ve been a multihorse disaster, and might finally take a deep breath following the Preakness.
” This is even I think probably more special provided whatever that we have actually been through,” Casse stated. “I’m not even calling it redemption. I didn’t feel like he got his reasonable shot, and that’s all I desired– a reasonable shot. And he revealed what he had today.”
War of Will was unfazed beginning with the inside No. 1 post position for the 2nd consecutive race, even though that added to his rough perform at Churchill Downs. Increasing star jockey Tyler Gaffalione assisted the horse along the rail in the Preakness and made a move into the lead around the last curve, holding off hard-charging late addition Everfast, who was a nose ahead of Owendale for 2nd.
All the while, Bodexpress– after ejecting Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez– kept running around the Pimlico track and did an additional lap. An outrider tried to swoop in at the top of the stretch and confine Bodexpress, but the horse sped up and passed a few competitors near the finish line and kept going. Technically, Bodexpress gets a did-not-finish.
” He wasn’t behaving well,” said Velazquez, who added he’s fine and would not seek medical attention. “When the doors opened, I was off right from the start and he type of leapt sideways, and I had my feet out sideways and I lost my balance and headed out.”
It was yet another unusual scene in a Triple Crown season full of it.
2 weeks earlier at the Kentucky Derby, obvious winner Optimum Security was disqualified for interfering with War of Will, and Country House raised to initially in the only on-track disqualification in the race’s 145- year history. Casse was simply thankful War of Will was healthy and chose to take his shot in the Preakness although Maximum Security and Nation Home didn’t run.
It was the first Preakness run without the Kentucky Derby winner since 1996, however the 13- horse field was the biggest considering that2011 Return to 1951 for the last time the Preakness was run without the leading 4 finishers from the Derby.
” This is the Preakness,” Casse stated. “We simply won the Preakness. I really don’t care who remained in it.”
Bob Baffert-trained Improbable remained in it as the 5-2 favorite and finished a disappointing 6th. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness are the only races of Improbable’s career that he didn’t complete first or 2nd.
” He simply got mad and reared up,” Baffert said of Improbable’s shenanigans in the beginning gate. “After that, he was in a great area. He simply didn’t kick.”
War of Will had plenty of kick and put himself in position to become the first horse considering that Afleet Alex in 2005 and 19 th all-time to fall short in the Derby however win the Preakness and Belmont. Winning the $1.5 million Preakness by a 1 1/4 length over Everfast, who wasn’t entered up until Wednesday, was another illustration of War of Will’s mix of skill and grit.
” He’s got so much heart,” Gaffalione stated. “We constantly understood he had the capability. We simply had to get a little bit fortunate, and today was our day.”
It’s a breakthrough for Gaffalione, who has actually become something of a rising star considering that being called leading apprentice rider in2015 Gaffalione, 24, was aboard War of Will for the colt’s 6th consecutive race and came away with the biggest victory of his young career.
” It really hasn’t even hit me yet,” said Gaffalione, who got recommendations Saturday morning from idol Jerry Bailey. “I can’t even put it into words.”
Casse had plenty of words after the controversial situation at the Kentucky Derby that spurred a claim from Optimum Security owners Gary West and a 15- day suspension bied far to jockey Luis Saez. He took issue with West blaming War of Will and Gaffalione.
West took Maximum Security off the Triple Crown path, however Casse aspired to get War of Will back on the track two years after Classic Empire finished second in the Preakness. With the sport in turmoil after the deaths of 24 horses at Santa Anita Park given that Dec. 26 and a continuous quarrel over the future website of the Preakness, Casse’s first Triple Crown triumph is a tale of redemption for him and the horse even if he doesn’t desire to call it that.
” I’m simply extremely pleased for Mark to get his very first Classic win,” Gaffalione stated. “Really pleased for the horse. He deserved it more than anything. He’s so special.”
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