War Of Will Draws The Rail Again In Preakness; Improbable Favored at 5-2

The following appeared in The Paulick Report May 16th. There are 10 places/ways to bet the Preakness action in Virginia this year — at Rosie’s Gaming Emporium at Colonial Downs in New Kent and in Vinton, and at the four VA-Horseplay Off Track Betting Centers in the state at Breakers Sports Grille in Henrico, Ponies & Pints in downtown Richmond, Buckets Bar & Grill in the Great Bridge area of Chesapeake and The Windmill OTB Sports Bar in Collinsville (adjacent to Martinsville and just a short drive from Greensboro, NC.) And Virginia residents can bet the big race on line via any of our four industry partners. Simply open a wagering account, fund it, and begin playing at TVG.com, XPressBet.com, TwinSpires.com and NYRABets.com. Advance betting begins Friday May 17th at all sites!

War of Will’s odds will open at 4-1 for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes but he’s already cashed at much higher theoretical odds by drawing the rail in Saturday’s 144th running of the second leg of the Triple Crown. The War Front colt drew the one post position for the Kentucky Derby May 4 in a field of 19 and at Wednesday’s post position draw for the Preakness, he also landed in the one hole in a field of 13.

Bob Baffert-trained Improbable drew the number four post position and he starts as a 5-2 favorite. Improbable and War of Will are two of four horses who ran in the Derby in Saturday’s field; the other two are Bodexpress (PP 9, 20-1) and Win, Win, Win (PP 13, 15-1).

The contenders who did not start in the controversy-riddled Kentucky Derby, in which Maximum Security was disqualified in part for interfering with War of Will, are led by Anothertwistafate (PP 12, 6-1) and Alwaysmining (PP 7, 8-1). All others in the field are double digit odds.


The Preakness field in post position order, with jockey, trainer and odds:

1. War of Will (Tyler Gaffalione, Mark Casse) 4-1
2. Bourbon War (Irad Ortiz, Jr., Mark Hennig) 12-1
3. Warrior’s Charge (Javier Castellano, Brad Cox) 12-1

4. Improbable (Mike Smith, Bob Baffert) 5-2
5. Owendale (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox) 10-1
6. Market King (Jon Court, D. Wayne Lukas) 30-1
7. Alwaysmining (Daniel Centeno, Kelly Rubley) 8-1
8. Signalman (Brian Hernandez, Jr., Ken McPeek) 30-1
9. Bodexpress (John Velazquez, Gustavo Delgado) 20-1
10. Everfast (Joel Rosario, Dale Romans) 50-1
11. Laughing Fox (Ricardo Santana, Jr., Steve Asmussen) 20-1
12. Anothertwistafate (Jose Ortiz, Blaine Wright) 6-1
13. Win Win Win (Julian Pimentel, Michael Trombetta) 15-1

Preakness Stakes Post-Position Draw Quotes

Bob Baffert (trainer, Improbable; PP #4; 5-2): “I’m fine with it. I wanted to be in the middle somewhere. That’s pretty close. I didn’t want to be way outside.

“[Jockey] Mike [Smith] will figure it out. We’ve got a few days to talk about things.”

Elliott Walden (CEO, President WinStar Farm, Improbable; PP #4; 5-2): “I thought it was fine. It looks like there’s some speed inside of Improbable, so ‘4’ looks really good.”

Mark Casse (trainer, War of Will; PP #1; 4-1): “It is what it is and we’re going to have to deal with it [Post. No. 1]. Do I wish we had drawn farther outside? Of course, but we’re going to have to deal with it. [Jockey] Tyler [Gaffalione] is going to have to play the break and see how it works. I don’t think the ‘1’ hole is quite as tough here, but I’m going to have to go study that. I didn’t study it on purpose because I was hoping not to get it.

“We have to play the hand we we’re dealt. You never can tell how things can go. All we can hope for is a clean trip and I think if he can get that, he’s going to be tough to beat.

(On pace) “I thought the pace would be a little slower in the Derby, but they went a half in 46-and-3 [seconds]. So I don’t see it going a whole lot faster than that. We’ll be fairly close and if someone wants the lead really bad I guess they’ll have it.

“I think he’s doing good. I think he’s doing as well as Classic Empire [second in 2017 Preakness]. This horse has a lot of energy and he’s extremely tough.

“We definitely know the (‘1’ hole) is not as bad as in the Derby. You have Bourbon War who is going to come from out of it. Warrior’s Charge he’s fast. But I think if he tries to get in front of War of Will – that could be his demise. One thing about it is the ‘1’ hole can be extremely good or extremely bad. In the Derby it was extremely bad, so I’m thinking we’re going to get extremely good this time.”

Blaine Wright (trainer, Anothertwistafate; PP #12; 6-1): “For right now it’s going to have to be our spot. You can’t change things. We’ll take it, move forward and see how good we are.

“We’ve been covered up a little bit in the Sunland Derby and the Lexington, so maybe he can keep his face clean from out there. Maybe our jockey can adapt to things that are happening in front of him. If we have the lead, well, hey, we have the lead.

“I’m not going to make that assumption at this point [how the race plays out]. I’ll wait to see it on paper. We just have to hope that our horse comes away from the gate well. It’s a long run to the first turn and we’ll just let the jock do the work.”

Kelly Rubley (trainer, Alwaysmining; PP #7; 8-1): “We’re happy. It looks like there is a little bit of speed in this race, so we’ll have to see how we break and take it from there. I think my horse belongs in this field, he deserves a shot. We’re just really happy and grateful to be here.”

Brad Cox (trainer, Owendale; PP #5; 10-1; Warrior’s Charge, PP #3, 12-1): “I like the post with Owendale. I don’t think it matters a whole lot with him with the post. I’m happy with it. Warrior’s Charge drawing the ‘3,’ maybe a little bit closer to the inside than I would have liked. Improbable is outside of him and War of Will inside. I’d actually have preferred to be to the outside of both of them. But we’ll see how it plays out. That’s up to the jocks what happens once they break them out of the gate, where to place them.

“As far as Warrior’s Charge, the draw was probably a little more important for him. He did draw closer than I’d like. It kind of forces our hand maybe just a little bit. But we’ll see what happens. It’s a long run to the first turn. Ultimately, I do feel the fastest horse will get the lead, and our horse is naturally fast. He’s got a high cruising speed, and we’ll see what he can do.”

Mark Hennig (trainer, Bourbon War; PP #2; 12-1): “At least we won’t get hung wide outside this time, hopefully. We think he’ll be more tractable with the blinkers on and just fall in behind the pace and save some ground.

“[The blinkers will] put him more in the bridle. We tried breezing him with them and it seemed to make him a little more aggressive. Sometimes you want to make first run on horses and we’ve been getting second or third run on some of the horses and it may have cost us a placing a time or two.”

Michael Trombetta (trainer, Win Win Win; PP #13; 15-1): “The post [13] has its ups and downs. We’re not going to be in there long; we’ll be in and out. If we get away clean and get on over, hopefully, we’ll find a space and we’ll settle in wherever the rider wants him to be. I’ve drawn [so-called] good posts before, and ironically, the horse next to me bumps into me. We just have to work with what they give us.”

Alex Lieblong (owner, Laughing Fox; PP #11; 20-1): “Well he won the Oaklawn Invitational from the ’10’ hole so maybe they’ll scoot over and he can get to the rail. I don’t think he’ll go up there with the leaders. I probably wouldn’t have picked [that post] but it’s probably not the end of the world for his style.

“I think there will be plenty of people chasing around there is my guess. What he did at Oaklawn there was certainly I’d think you’d have to qualify that as somewhat of a speed bias track that day. And so if he can do it on that much of a speed bias track, you know I don’t have any worry about him if he gets his trip.”

Gustavo Delgado (trainer, Bodexpress; PP #9; 20-1): “There’s probably going to be a lot of speed, more speed than the Derby. But he has speed to get position. We like the ‘9.’ It’s a good spot.”

Wayne Lukas (trainer, Market King; PP #6; 30-1): “It’s a good spot. I think if you take out Improbable and War of Will it’s a toss-up.”

Ken McPeek (trainer, Signalman; PP #8; 30-1): “We’re good with the post. It’s fine.

“Mark Casse’s horse, obviously, on the inside, I don’t know what commitment they’ll make. My horse is just going to break well, settle and find a place to run. Hopefully, we’ll be mid-pack.”

Dale Romans (trainer, Everfast; PP #10; 50-1): “It’s a tough spot, but we’re ready. We’ll try and wiggle our way into a piece of it. He’s done it before. We’ll lead him over and see what happens. The post [10] will be all right. Hopefully, we’ll get over by the first turn.”