War of Will Wins 2019 Preakness Stakes; Favorite Improbable Finishes 6th

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2019

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - MAY 18: Jockey Tyler Gaffalione celebrates after crossing the finish line on War of Will #8 to win the 144th Running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 18, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

War of Will reigned supreme in the 2019 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday.

He finished ahead of Everfast to earn the fourth victory of his professional career.

Warrior's Charge, which started from the third post, led for much of the race, with Anothertwistafate running behind in second. Heading out of the final turn, Warrior's Charge remained in front of the pack, but War of Will surged ahead on the inside rail. Everfast and Owendale also overtook Warrior's Charge to earn second and third, respectively.

NBC Sports @NBCSports

From the middle of the chaos of the #KYDerby, to the winner of the #Preakness. War of Will takes the second jewel of the Triple Crown. https://t.co/MzXHpj0GPr


Finish: Horse; Jockey; Trainer (Payout)

1. War of Will; Tyler Gaffalione; Mark E. Casse ($900,000)

2. Everfast; Joel Rosario; Dale Romans ($300,000)

3. Owendale; Florent Geroux; Brad Cox ($165,000)

4. Warrior's Charge; Javier Castellano; Brad Cox ($90,000)

5. Laughing Fox; Ricardo Santana Jr.; Steve Asmussen ($45,000)

6. Improbable; Mike Smith.; Bob Baffert 

7. Win Win Win; Julian Pimentel; Michael J. Trombetta

8. Bourbon War; Irad Ortiz, Jr.; Mark Hennig

9. Signalman; Brian Hernandez Jr.; Ken McPeek

10. Anothertwistafate; Jose Ortiz; Blaine Wright

11. Alwaysmining; Daniel Centeno; Kelly Rubley

12. Market King; Jon Court; D. Wayne Lukas

13. Bodexpress; John Velazquez; Gustavo Delgado


Betting Payouts (Win, Place, Show)

War of Will ($14.20, $7.40, $5.40)

Everfast (N/A, $32.00, $14.40)

Owendale (N/A, N/A, $6.00)

Exacta (1-10): $947.00

Trifecta (1-10-5): $4,699.80

Superfecta (1-10-5-3): $51,924.00


The win represents a redemption for War of Will after the Kentucky Derby. The colt was among those impeded by Maximum Security at the Derby, which resulted in Maximum Security's disqualification.

There was no controversy this time around as jockey Tyler Gaffalione ran a perfect race. War of Will was constantly hovering around the leaders. Gaffalione made sure to conserve War of Will's stamina and picked the right time to make his move on Warrior's Charge and jockey Javier Castellano.

Castellano left a lot of space on the inside rail, and Gaffalione could've tried to push War of Will a little earlier in the race.

Had he done so, he might have lost the victory in the last moments. War of Will appeared to build a healthy lead, only for Owendale and Everfast to quickly close the gap.

NBC Sports @NBCSports

War of Will is the winner of the 144th #Preakness Stakes! https://t.co/HEflmIm1NO

Improbable was the favorite on race day, boasting a +250 (bet $100 to win $250) moneyline. He was never much of a factor Saturday, running in the middle of the pack and failing to make a significant push on the leaders. Improbable followed up his fourth-place showing at the Kentucky Derby with a sixth-place effort in the Preakness.

Nick Coffey @TheCardConnect

Improbable was pretty blah in both races

While War of Will grabbed the headlines, Bodexpress won the hearts and minds of race fans.

Jockey John Velazquez fell off the horse as soon as the race began, creating the surreal scene of Bodexpress going the entire Preakness by himself. He had no trouble following the track's route and keeping up with his peers.

Since he was jockey-less, Bodexpress is officially credited as failing to finish. He exits Pimlico as the clear sentimental victor, though.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Bodexpress tried to win Preakness without a jockey 😂 https://t.co/lBRbxCORdW

dan solomon @dansolomon

If Bodexpress runs the Belmont without a jockey I am getting a tattoo of a damn horse

Gentry Estes @Gentry_Estes

Had Bodexpress won without his jockey: Nah, it wouldn’t have counted. Yea, it would have been epic.

Fans already knew heading into the event they'd have to wait at least another year to witness the 14th Triple Crown winner. Kentucky Derby champion Country House pulled out of the Preakness on May 7, with trainer Bill Mott confirming he was experiencing a minor coughing fit.

For some, Country House's withdrawal helped avoid a potentially tricky situation given the controversy that surrounded his triumph at Churchill Downs. Race officials disqualified Maximum Security after determining he disrupted some of his fellow horses during the Derby. It was the first time in history the Kentucky Derby winner was disqualified.

That story undoubtedly would've cast a shadow over Country House had he competed in and won the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes on June 8.

Instead, the spotlight will be on War of Will in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's race. Gaffalione and trainer Mark E. Casse have a little less than a month to get him ready for the trip to Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, assuming they intend to compete in the final leg of the Triple Crown.