Horsing around: Riderless colt races to Preakness finish

Congrats Gal is loaded onto an ambulance

Congrats Gal is loaded onto an ambulance

So, what does this mean for the Belmont Stakes, the third and final leg in horse racing's Triple Crown?

Tyler Gaffalione, the jockey of 2019 Preakness Stakes victor War of Will, says the horse "relaxed beautifully" and the victory is surreal. Country House was installed as the Derby victor when stewards disqualified first-place finisher Maximum Security after the horse had interfered in his charge to the front.

Bodexpress threw his jockey John Velazquez just out of the starting gate but still finished the race without creating any problems. If he wins, he'd be the first horse since Afleet Alex in 2005 to fall short in the Kentucky Derby before capturing the Preakness and Belmont and would be the front-runner for 3-year-old horse of the year. "And you've got the horse that won the Lexington Stakes - the one-two finishers (Owendale and Anothertwistafate, respectively) there". War of Will, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione won.

But the 149-year-old Pimlico Race Course is in dire need of fix and renovation.

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Maximum Security's reason for withdrawing from the Preakness is tied to owner Gary West's displeasure of the Kentucky Derby disqualification. Gaffalione, 24, was aboard War of Will for the colt's sixth consecutive race and came away with the biggest victory of his young career.

The Bob Baffert-trained Justify was the last to win the Triple Crown, taking the trophy last year, but with Country House's omission from Pimlico because of an illness it is not up for grabs this year.

Co-owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and Starlight Racing, Improbable broke his maiden previous year with jockey Drayden Van Dyke.

Kentucky Derby victor Country House and disqualified victor Maximum Security are not running.

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"When the doors opened, I was off right from the start".

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez fell to the dirt (Velazquez told NBC Sports after the race he was unhurt). For a period, he remained in the middle of the pack before falling back towards the finish line. Trainer Mark Case, whose horse War of Will is among several favorites, believes that buzz from the Kentucky Derby may keep interest high for the Preakness.

When Maximum Security drifted to his right in the final turn, his back legs nearly became entangled with those of War of Will behind him. Run over a distance of nine and a half furlongs, the race carries a purse of $1.5 million with the historic $4 million Woodlawn Vase, created by Tiffany and Co.in 1860, also awarded to the victor.

"I've ran into people that know nothing about horse racing, that's all they can talk about", said Casse, according to the AP.

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Assuming all goes well in the coming weeks, Casse said "there's an extremely good shot" War of Will goes to the Belmont Stakes on June 8 in NY.

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