The three-year-old racehorse, Bodexpress, and rider John Velazquez started the race awkwardly, with the horse suddenly jumping sideways once the gates opened. Velazquez wasn’t injured in the fall, but Bodexpress sprinted away, clearly determined to run Preakness alone.
Bodexpress then took an epic victory lap despite being disqualified.
BE FREE, YOUNG HORSE KING! 👑 🐎
Horsing around: Riderless colt Bodexpress races through finish line at Preakness.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) May 19, 2019
Bodexpress is the son of 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, but he’s never won a major race.
And while running rampant through The Preakness won’t win him any horseracing trophies, the Associated Press is calling Bodexpress a “social media champion” for trending on Twitter all weekend.
Longtime jockey Velazquez spoke out after being suddenly bucked off:
“When the doors opened, I was off right from the start. He kind of jumped sideways. I had my feet out of the irons so I lost my balance then, I went off. He was just not behaving good in the gate. He got me against the wall…”
Here’s a replay of Bodexpress ditching his rider. I’m ok with this flex.
— SBR Sports Picks (@SBRSportsPicks) May 18, 2019
People were delighted by Bodexpress’s race of defiance.
BodeExpress with exactly zero fucks given
— Lauren Joffe (@thespinzone) May 18, 2019
#BodeExpress is the midweek inspiration that I needed. Despite losing his jockey at the very start of the race, he ran hard, didn't let the side refs take him out, DIDN'T finish last, AND ran an extra lap b/c running is his passion not just his profession.
— Sara Linden (@lindie_love) May 18, 2019
— DeAnne Bloomberg (@DBloomberg) May 18, 2019
— FGvW is out of Forks & Spoons. (@FatGirlvsWorld) May 18, 2019
Many crowned him the unofficial Preakness winner.
BodeExpress is MY #PreaknessStakes winner. That horse did a terrific job without a jockey.
— Matthew Lownes (@LownesMatthew) May 18, 2019
— TLC (@Forensic_Lady22) May 18, 2019
War of Will didn't actually win the Preakness, since Bodeexpress didn't get a fair race so the racing stewards will give that horse the victory.
— Ben Maller (@benmaller) May 18, 2019
There’s plenty of ‘horsing around’ on Twitter over the naughty escape.
— Sean Ernst (@sae722) May 18, 2019
— Kristi Hoss Schiller (@kkschiller) May 18, 2019
But others are insisting Bodexpress modeled ideal behavior.
*Completed his task without direction
*Finished strong without someone cracking the whip
*Ran an extra lap because he loves his job
*Didn’t complain a bit
*Will be ready to work out in the morning.
Shouldn’t we all have co-workers like this? pic.twitter.com/Tx3mbtYujS
— Rick Karle (@RickKarle) May 19, 2019
Yeah, maybe it was a bit rude of Bodexpress to jettison his jockey into the dirt. But you’ve gotta admire this horse’s rebellious moment of glory. His free-spirited dash at Preakness is inspiring people worldwide to run free — no matter the obstacle.
Either that, or Bodexpress took “Old Town Road” way too literally.