War of Will trainer Mark Casse celebrates Preakness win, but won’t call it ‘redemption’

War of Will trainer Mark Casse celebrates Preakness win, but won’t call it ‘redemption’
Tyler Gaffalione, seen here aboard War of Will before the Kentucky Derby, won Saturday's Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore. (Photo: John P. Wise/WAVE 3 News)

(WAVE) - Two weeks after playing a key role in the controversial Kentucky Derby finish, War of Will and his jockey, Tyler Gaffalione, won the 144th Preakness Stakes on Saturday.

Breaking from the first post, just as he did in the Derby, the Mark Casse-trained horse covered 9.5 furlongs at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course in 1:53.

At 6-1, War of Will bested Everfast (25-1) and Owendale (7-1). Favorite Improbable, at 2-1, ran sixth with Mike Smith aboard.

Gaffalione, just 24, was one of two jockeys who claimed foul following the Kentucky Derby, prompting the disqualification of winner Maximum Security, allowing Country House to slide into the winner’s circle.

“We always knew (War of Will) had the ability,” Gaffalione told NBC moments after his first win in a Triple Crown race. “We just needed to get lucky and today was the day.”

Added Casse: “I’m not even calling it redemption. I didn’t feel like (War of Will) got his fair shot (in the Derby). And that’s all I wanted, was a fair shot.”

Neither Maximum Security nor Country House ran in Saturday’s second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Casse also told NBC he wasn’t sure whether his horse will run in the Belmont Stakes.

“We’ll see,” he said. “I would think probably so.”

Saturday’s race wasn’t without an asterisk, either. Bodexpress had a bumpy exit from the gate, tossing jockey John Velazquez to the ground immediately. The horse stayed with the pack until the top of the stretch, where outriders intervened and got him out of the way.

The Belmont Stakes is scheduled for June 8 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

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