Jockey-Less Horse Wins Our Hearts, Loses the Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 18: Jockey John Velazquez rider of Bodexpress #9 falls during the start of the 144th Running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 18, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Jockey John Velazquez falls during the start of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 18.
Will Newton/Getty Images

If you enjoy weird and chaotic horse racing, then 2019 has been a banner year. Two weeks after the Kentucky Derby’s pre-race favorite was disqualified after finishing first, the Preakness Stakes upped the ante on Saturday with a jockey-less horse. Bodexpress bucked his rider after the starting gates opened, but the horse still managed to haul ass to the finish line. He didn’t win, but he probably had the most fun.

Both horse and jockey are reported to be OK after the fall and ensuing freelance expedition. “He wasn’t behaving well in the gate,” Bodexpress jockey John Velazquez told NBC. “I lost my balance and went off. I’m disappointed.” The horse could not be reached for comment.

War of Will won Saturday’s Preakness, but he did so with a jockey. Does that even count? (Yes. Yes it does.) War of Will is the horse that was bumped during the Kentucky Derby, an event that ultimately led to the disqualification of favorite Maximum Security. Bodexpress also participated at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, and he finished that race in 13th place.

The race was very, very crazy,” Bodexpress trainer Gustavo Delgado said after the Kentucky Derby. “I think the horse ran a good race. … The rider said he’s happy, happy all the time.” Happy and free.