War of Will Takes Preakness

Bodexpress provides drama in the 144th Preakness.
(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

My streak of picking four horses to cross the line first in a Triple Crown race ended yesterday – miserably – as War of Will won the 144th Preakness, this time without an objection or disqualification.

My pick, Improbable, is the embodiment of disappointment. He’s still winless in 2019, and he looked even worse in the Preakness than he did in the Derby, even though the shorter distance was supposed to be an advantage. He seemed to get off to a good start, even though he was rank in the starting gate, and then faded to sixth throughout the race. He seemed ready to make a move around the far turn but didn’t fire; he finished a disappointing sixth. He may just be a miler, and Baffert’s struggles in the Triple Crown races this year continue.

Maiden Bodexpress continued to show that he has no business being in a Grade I stakes, unseating his rider, John Velasquez, at the start. He couldn’t even win the race with no weight on him.

But despite the drama (again), War of Will showed that he has what it takes to win a major stakes, even though, like Andy Beyer, I question whether his brush with Maximum Security in the Derby cost him the race. He pulled up next to Maximum Security after the foul and seemed to be in the race, but then ran out of gas and faded to seventh.

This Preakness was hard to judge, with some horses such as Anothertwistafate and Alwaysmining rating much better than they showed. Both horses seemed in excellent position but finished 10th and 11th, respectively. As a result, you have to wonder how strong this field was, especially when a long shot took second place.

Here’s hoping the owners of Maximum Security set their mind on their horse again and enter him in the Belmont Stakes. Then we’ll see a horse race.

Peter Lee

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