No Objection: War of Will Wins the 144th Preakness Stakes After Late Move Inside

Posted on: May 18, 2019, 04:19h. 

Last updated on: May 18, 2019, 09:07h.

No interference. No objections. And, most of all, there was no doubt about the winner of Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. War of Will made a late charge from the inside to capture the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course.

War of Will made a late charge from the rail down the stretch to win the 144th Preakness Stakes Saturday at Pimlico Race Course. (Image: Pimlico)

Trained by Mark Casse, War of Will was in position to challenge for the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago before interference by Maximum Security likely caused him a chance to win the Run for the Roses. While neither Casse nor jockey Tyler Gaffalione posted an objection, two other jockeys filed an objection against Maximum Security, disqualifying him as the Derby winner.

There would be no dispute about the winner Saturday, although things did get interesting at the start when Bodexpress, another horse caught up in the Derby interference two weeks ago, threw his jockey at the start of the Preakness and ran the Pimlico track riderless. While he did cross the finish line, he was placed last and ruled as a did-not-finish by track officials since he unseated his mount.

War of Will, who went off at 6-1, paid $14.20 to win, $7.40 to place, and $5.40 to show. Everfast, a 25-1 shot, finished second and paid $32 and $14.40. In third, Owendale paid $6. A $2 exacta paid $947, while a $1 trifecta paid $4,699.80. A $1 superfecta paid $51,924 with Warrior’s Charge finishing fourth.

Even before the Kentucky Derby, War of Will ran into some bad luck on the Derby prep race circuit. After winning his first two prep races, he stumbled at the start of the Louisiana Derby and finished ninth there before heading to Louisville.

How He Won

Starting from the inside gate, just like he did in the Kentucky Derby, War of Will broke cleanly at the start. He settled behind the leaders into fifth place along the rail as Warrior’s Charge took the early lead.

Hitting the backstretch, Gaffalione was confident in keeping War of Will back as he was three lengths behind Warrior’s Charge at the half-mile mark.

Warrior’s Charge, whose owners put up $150,000 so he could run in the Triple Crown race since he was not previously nominated, still held the lead out of the final turn, but he left the inside lane wide open.

That gave Gaffalione the space he needed to make his move, and he overtook Warrior’s Charge at the eighth-pole.

He’s got so much heart,” the jockey said. “We always knew he had the ability, we just had to get a little bit lucky and today was our day.”

War of Will ended up winning by length-and-three-quarters over Everfast, who also charged late from the rail after being in 11th place as the horses made the first turn.

Everfast beat Owendale, who made his late move down the middle of track, by a neck.

Country House, who was awarded the Kentucky Derby victory, did not enter the Preakness after being diagnosed with a cough. He was the first Derby winner in 23 years to skip the next Triple Crown race.

Belmont Up Next?

The last leg of the Triple Crown takes place in New York in three weeks with the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.

It remains to be seen if War of Will makes the trip. Casse gave an inclination he would like to go, but he’d need to talk with owner Gary Barber first.

While no Triple Crown would be on the line, there still could be plenty of drama, especially if Maximum Security’s owners enter their colt in the 1-1/2-mile race. In the days after the historic disqualification, Maximum Security owner Gary West suggested that Gaffalione was the one who caused the interference.

That didn’t sit well with Casse, who like Gaffalione, won his first Triple Crown race on Saturday.

“I was irritated,” Casse said. “I said other words that I later regretted because they were put in headlines.”

On Friday, West announced he would offer the connections of the four horses — War of Will, Bodexpress, eventual Kentucky Derby winner Country House, and Long Range Toddy — that were involved in the interference, $5 million each if their colt beats Maximum Security in a race later this year. That’s provided the other owners are willing to risk $5 million as well.

“I am doing this because I think it would be good for racing and a unique opportunity to bring more people into racing because of the elevated interest this would bring to the sport,” West said in a statement.