Facts, Figure and Quotes from the 144th Preakness Stakes
War of Will Rides the Rail to Win Preakness
By Dick Downey
Posted May 18, 2019
War of Will, who, along with his jockey Tyler Gaffalione, was part of the most controversial disqualification in the history of North American horse racing, won the Preakness Stakes today at Pimlico in a time of 1:54.34.
War of Will finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby, but was moved up to seventh by the disqualification of winner Maximum Security after that one and War of Will were involved in a skirmish that will debated for a long time to come.
War of Will came out of the race with one mark on him about the size of a dime, and connections wasted little time making plans. War of Will was the first Preakness horse in Baltimore, arriving in the very early morning hours this past Tuesday.
After drawing post 1 on Wednesday, just as he did before the Derby, War of Will was installed as the second choice on the morning line at 4-1. He was sent off as the 6-1 third choice and returned his $2 supporters $14.20 to win, $7.40 to place and $5.40 to show.
The race unfolded with Warrior's Charge setting a brisk pace of 22.50 for the first quarter-mile, 46.16 for the half and 1:10.56 for six furlongs. For the first half-mile, Market King was in closest pursuit, followed by Anothertwistafate and War of Will. Meanwhile, Improbable, whom many thought would be sent by Mike Smith, was running mid-pack.
At the third call, Market King was starting a major retreat, and Anothertwistafate had moved into second. Local hero Alwaysmining was making his move and loomed on the outside in third.
Warrior's Charge and Javier Castellano continued to lead through the far turn and came into the stretch well off the rail. With plenty of room on the inside, War of Will came up the rail to take charge and led by a length with a furlong remaining in the race. Meanwhile, Anothertwistafate and Alwaysmining were already out of gas and well back.
Unlike the Kentucky Derby, War of Will was best in this stretch run and prevailed by 1 1/4 length. Longshot Everfast, sent off as the second longest shot in the 13-horse field at 29-1 odds, came up the inside behind War of Will after entering the second turn in 11th place, almost 10 lengths in arrears, to nab second with Joel Rosario aboard. Owendale and Florent Geoux took the overland route and finished a nose back in third after hitting that turn in ninth, almost seven lengths off the pace. Warrior's Charge hung on for fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths.
Next across the finish line were Laughing Fox, Improbable, Win Win Win, Bourbon War, Signalman, Anothertwistafate Alwaysmining and Market King. Bodexpress didn't finish.
The race got off to a tenous start when John Velazquez was dismounted from Bodepress leaving the gate. Velazquez was up and walking in short order, and Bodexpress ran around the track on his own without bothering horses. Stewards did their job and posted an inquiry sign immediately after the race ended. They took no action, and no refunds were issued. Meanwhile, Bodexpress was caught by an outrider a minute or two after War of Will crossed the finish line first.
War of Will was one of four Kentucky Derby starters to be entered in the Preakness. The top four finishers in the Run for the Roses didn't go on to Baltimore. The other Derby runners that did were Improbable (finished fifth/moved up to fourth via disqualification in the Derby), Win Win Win (tenth/ninth) and Bodexpress (14th/13th).
The winning time was solid but is just over two seconds slower than the track record set by Farma Way on May 11, 1991. The stakes record of 1:53 is held by Secretariat.
Owner Gary Barber wasn't at the race. A Hollywood producer, he attended the Cannes Film Festival instead. Trainer Mark Casse, who won his first Triple Crown race, accepted the trophy on Barber's behalf.
Warrior's Charge was supplemented to the race for $150,000, pushing the total purse to $1,650,000. Sixty percent, or $990,000 goes to Barber. Warrior's Charge's 50 or so owners recouped $99,000 after paying an additional $30,000 to enter and start.
To read more about War of Will, his race history, background and connections, click here.
War of Will paid $14.20 to win, $7.40 to place and $5.40 to show
Everfast paid $32.00 to place and $14.40 to show
Owendale paid $6.00 to show
The $2 exacta returned $974.00. Last year it paid $27.40. The $1 trifecta paid $4,699.80, and the $1 super paid $51,924.00.
War of Will's fractions: 23.10, 46.86, 1:11.06, 1:35.48, 1:54.34
War of Will ran the first quarter-mile in 23.10, the second quarter-mile in 23.76, the third quarter-mile in 24.20, the fourth quarter-mile in 24.42, and the final three-sixteenths mile in 18.86.
Performance Relative to Odds
Best Relative Performance by a Low-Odds Horse: War of Will won at 6-1 odds.
Worst Relative Performance by a Low-Odds Horse: Improbable finished sixth at 5-2 odds.
Best Performance by a High-Odds Horse: Everfast finished second at 29-1.
Worst Performance by a High-Odds Horse: Market King was 12th at 31-1.
Attendance and Handle
Pimlico announced that 131, 256 were in attendance, down from an announced crowd 134,487 last year. An announced record crowd of 140,327 was there in 2017. Attendance was announced in excess of 135,000 in 2016.
Total handle on Pimlico’s 14-race program was$99,852,653, a record. The previous record was $97,168,658 in 2017.
POST-RACE TRAINER AND JOCKEY QUOTES
Mark Casse (Winning trainer, War of Will): “It was so important to win it. I just wanted him to get his chance to show everyone how good he is because he is a super horse. We thought we were going to win it two years ago (with Classic Empire) and we got beat at the wire so I kept trying to figure out where the wire was. It was exciting, just unbelievable.”
Tyler Gaffalione (Winning jockey, War of Will): “I’m just so happy for Mark and his team, they do a fabulous job. Barber has given me so many opportunities and I’m just so happy for them. I’m very happy for Mark to get his first Classic win. Very happy for the horse, he deserved it more than anything. He’s so special.”
“It really hasn’t even hit me yet. I can’t even put it into words. I can’t thank my family enough for all the support. Of course my valet down in Florida, Jay Glass, and my agent, Matt Muzikar. Great team effort, I’m just so thankful.”
“He’s got so much heart. We always knew he had the ability, we just had to get a little bit lucky and today was our day.”
Dale Romans (Trainer, Everfast, 2nd): “Second in any classic is great. I thought the whole race he looked comfortable. When he wanted him to start picking up horses, he did. You could see he had the momentum. I thought we were going to win for a minute.”
Joel Rosario (Jockey, Everfast, 2nd): “We almost had it. He ran great. We have a great shot at the Belmont.
Brad Cox (Trainer, Owendale, 3rd ; Warrior’s Charge, 4th): “Very pleased with both of them. Warrior’s Charge fought incredibly hard. He’s a nice horse. I mean, :22, :46, 1:10 2/5 going a mile and three-sixteenths, he’s a good horse. We’ll give him plenty of time to recover. The other horse ran great. I need to watch a replay, but it looks like he maybe got stuck in behind some horses. He’s a big horse, probably needs to be more out in the open, clear running where he can keep his motor rolling. He took a little while to get going but ran a great race and I was very proud of both of them.”
Florent Geroux (Jockey, Owendale, 3rd): “I tried to save ground most of the time. I wish I could’ve saved a little more ground. It probably cost us a length or two at the end.”
Javier Castellano (Jockey, Warrior’s Charge, 4th): “We had a beautiful trip.”
Darren Fleming (Assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, Laughing Fox, 5th): “I thought he ran well. He got a little farther back than I expected. He made up a ton of ground. But he showed he belonged.”
Ricardo Santana Jr. (Jockey, Laughing Fox, 5th): "He didn't handle the track very well at the start. He gave it a nice run in the end. I just wish he handled the track better at the start, but he showed he can run with these kind of horses. I was happy he finished strong.”
Bob Baffert (Trainer, Improbable, 6th): “When he did that in the gate (reared up) I knew that was it. His only weakness is he gets a little bit fired up. He was acting pretty well but then he got fired up. When horses do that it takes a lot of energy out. Today wasn’t his day but the winner was pretty impressive.”
Mike Smith (Jockey, Improbable, 6th): “His usual tactics in the gate. He got upset, He was so brilliant going in. I thought he would be nice. Actually he broke well. I had a really good trip. Actually thought I was maybe going to get on with it at the 3/8ths pole and he just didn't keep on. I wish I could tell you more but that's it."
Michael Trombetta (Trainer, Win Win Win, 7th): “I thought he ran OK. We would have all loved to have done a little better but he was in it for a fight and I can’t get mad at him. He gave it a good effort.”
Julian Pimentel (Jockey, Win Win Win, 7th): “We were closer this time around. But in the second turn, I had to go wide. I thought he still ran well.”
Mark Hennig (Trainer, Bourbon War, 8th): “He looked like he was in the bridle early and I was really happy. When he went outside into the clear, he dropped the bridle and then picked it up again.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. (Jockey, Bourbon War, 8th); “No excuses. Had blinkers first time, and I tried to get him going but he's still learning."
Kenny McPeek (Trainer, Signalman, 9th): “There were eight horses faster than him. Brian rode him good. He said he put him in position. He was only about four or five off of them when he was in the middle of the turn, and they ran away from him. I don’t have a major excuse. I’m going to scope him. But right now we are planning on going to the Belmont.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. (Jockey, Signalman, 9th):”We broke good but went wide around the first turn. We saved ground around the second turn and then he just evened out.”
Blaine Wright (Trainer, Anothertwistafate, 10th): “He put him in the race and we were happy about that. He said the last eighth of a mile caught up to him. He said everything else went according to plan. We’ll get back to the barn and see how he is. I’m glad we came and had an opportunity. Obviously, I’m a little disappointed with the result, but we’ll regroup and go from there.”
Jose Ortiz (Jockey, Anothertwistafate, 10th): “I expected a good start. I think we were about third and stayed there. I gave him a breather on the backside and then tried to win the race. But we came up short today."
Kelly Rubley (Trainer, Alwaysmining, 11th): “He appears to be fine. We’re waiting to scope and we’ll evaluate him. He appeared to stop, and I don’t know what the reason for that is.”
Daniel Centeno (Jockey, Alwaysmining, 11th): “I thought he'd run better. He had a good trip and we tried to make a move around the turn, but he just stopped.”
D. Wayne Lukas (Trainer, Market King, 12th): “I think my horse wants to run a mile. I don’t think he wants this distance. We needed to find that out, though. He ran well for a mile. Some of them are adapted to a different distance, and we found that out.”
Jon Court (Jockey, Market King, 12th): “He broke well, laid up in perfect position and then they started running away from him.”
Gustavo Delgado (Trainer, Bodexpress, DNF): “I don’t have the words to talk about that now.”
John Velazquez (Jockey, Bodexpress, DNF); (NBC Broadcast) “He was just not behaving good in the gate. He was not standing really well. He got me up against the wall in the gate. When the doors opened I was standing up right from the start and I kind of jumped sideways. I had my feet out of the irons and I lost my balance and I went off. I’m good, I’m good. It’s just disappointing when you come in here for a big race like this. Things like this happen with horses, but it’s disappointing.”