War of Will, which was impeded by Maximum Security in the controversial Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, bounced back Saturday and finished first at the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
The Mark Casse-trained colt, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, hit the front entering the home stretch and powered clear to win after placing seventh in the Derby.
War of Will was badly affected by the veering of Maximum Security at Churchill Downs on May 4, but he held off Everfast and Owendale to triumph in Baltimore.
For the first time since 1951, none of the top three finishers in the Derby was present at the Preakness, nor was Maximum Security, which crossed the line first but was demoted to 17th for interference.
Since the Kentucky Derby, the owner of Maximum Security, Gary West, has filed a federal lawsuit, seeking to overturn the disqualification.
He has also offered a $20 million bounty to the owners of Country House – declared the winner at the Derby – War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress, the four horses that were impeded at Churchill Downs. West says he will pay $5 million to the owner of any of the quartet that beats Maximum Security on their next meeting.
The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown that includes the Derby and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York on June 8.
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.
The prestigious race was first held in Pimlico in 1873 and comes with its own set of unique traditions, including the iconic blanket of yellow daisies that is draped over the winner at the finish line.
The yellow and black flowers, dubbed Black-eyed Susans, are Maryland’s official state flower. The state is also honored with the traditional singing of “Maryland, My Maryland.”