Riderless runner at Preakness develops national fan base
narcissism

Riderless runner at Preakness develops national fan base

– Unencumbered by a jockey and suddenly free to run wherever he darn pleased, Bodexpress decided to take a shot at winning the Preakness.

Taking one of the most memorable trips in the 149-year history of Pimlico Race Course, Bodexpress unseated his rider a step out of the gate, then followed the leaders and at one point appeared to be a contender in the 13-horse race.

“You’ve got to be careful because some of them try to win,” said trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled race favorite Improbable. “They actually run a great race sometimes.”

From the moment the frisky 3-year-old hopped from the gate, ejecting Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, craziness ensued.

First, fortunately, Velazquez rose from the dirt and scooted off the track.

“When the doors opened, I was off right from the start. He kind of jumped sideways,” Velazquez said. “I had my feet out of the irons so I lost my balance, then I went off.”

There was an indication that things weren’t going right when Bodexpress veered left from the post parade instead of right, along with the other horses.

“He was just not behaving good in the gate. He was not sitting really well,” Velazquez said. “He got me against the wall and the gate.”

Perhaps instinct drove Bodexpress’ thinking, or maybe it was narcissism. He wanted in the middle of the action and chased down the field from the outside.

An outrider tried to corral Bodexpress at the top of the stretch, but he wasn’t about to let the horseplay come to an end. The colt sped up and passed a few competitors near the finish line and kept going.

In fact, he ran the entire track again before finally calling it a day — a veritable victory lap for the social media champion who was still trending on Twitter hours later.

Bodexpress, the Florida Derby runner-up in March, was placed last and officially gets a did-not-finish.

The riderless run amused many. It worried Baffert.

“There are so many things that can go wrong in a horse race,” Baffert said. “It’s scarier for the horses that are in there because they’ve got to watch him the whole way.”

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