Bodexpress' Preakness Stakes 'assistant starter wasn’t ready'

May 20, 2019 10:03am

Jockey John Velazquez, speaking Monday to CNN, cited “miscommunication between us and the assistant starter” that led to Bodexpress’ bucking beginning to the Preakness Stakes.

“When the gates opened, I think my assistant starter wasn’t ready for it,” said Velazquez, who flew high out of the saddle when Bodexpress moved.

Beforehand, the colt leaned against the right side of his gate, squeezing Velazquez’s foot halfway out of the iron.

“The second that horse jumped out the way he did, I knew I was in trouble,” he told CNN, adding that due to the incident, “It seems like I’m getting more press than the winner, War of Will.”

Yes, Bodexpress won American hearts. But he lost all hope in the Preakness in odd fashion. Whether he should have been declared a non-starter, refunding wagers made on the colt, continues to be debated.

Bodexpress, who remains a maiden after competing in the first two legs of the Triple Crown series, made headlines as well for sprinting past an outrider the first time by, then going the Preakness distance without any urging from a jockey.

“They want to race, and that’s the way they think,” Velazquez said. “Once those gates open, that’s what they want to do.”

Gustavo Delgado, Bodexpress’ trainer, said there are no plans to try the Belmont Stakes as well. Velazquez told CNN he’s booked to ride Todd Pletcher-trained allowance winner Intrepid Heart, a sibling of Commissioner, in the June 8 race.

“I think the distance will help him a lot,” Velazquez said of Intrepid Heart, third last time in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3), “and hopefully he’ll be ready for it.”


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