New controversy? Bodexpress left a Preakness Stakes starter

May 07, 2019 08:03pm

Apparently it's not a Triple Crown race these days without some controversy.

Thirteen horses headed postward for Saturday's Preakness Stakes, but Bodexpress may have an excuse for trouble at the start that took him out of contention at Pimlico Race Course.

The head on race replay shows that as he bucked and tossed Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, the colt was still under a hold by an assistant starter in the gate.

Bodexpress continued on, never disrupting the race's running, but also not distancing himself from it. Velazquez was not injured, while outriders eventually tracked down the loose horse.

"He was just not behaving in the gate," Velazquez told NBC. "He would not stand in really well. He got me against the wall in the gate, and obviously when the doors opened I was kind of off right from the start. And he kind of jumped sideways and I had my feet out of the iron, so I kind of lost my balance, and I went off."

A Preakness victory remains a void on Velazquez's resume, and Bodexpress is still a maiden exiting Saturday's second leg of the Triple Crown series won by War of Will.

"I'm good. I'm good," Velazquez said. "I'm just disappointed. When you come in here for a race like this, things happen with horses like this. It's disappointing."

The assistant starter's actions have left some racing fans questioning whether stewards should have made Bodexpress a non-starter. Wagers weren't refunded after stewards looked into the break -- a positive for anyone who didn't have Bodexpress on their tickets, as a betting interest removed from the race would have deflated other horses' prices.

If comment is provided by the stewards, we'll relay it here. Likely, they saw it as a split-second decision by the assistant starter, whose job is to keep horse and rider safe in such situations.


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