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Bourbon War 'Strong' in Final Workout Before 2019 Preakness Stakes

by Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

May 9, 2019

BALTIMORE, MD – Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War continued his preparations for the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course with a five-furlong breeze Thursday morning at Belmont Park.

“He worked well. I was pleased with his work,” Hennig said. “He went off aggressively, finished strong, galloped out strong. Pretty much what we were looking for.”

Under exercise rider Jose Mejia, Bourbon War worked in company with stablemate Carlino and completed his assignment in 1:01.67, the third fastest of 16 recorded at the distance.

Bourbon War finished fourth in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 30 at Gulfstream Park. The three horses that finished ahead of him in the Florida Derby all went on to the Kentucky Derby (G1). Florida Derby winner Maximum Security finished first in the Kentucky Derby but was disqualified and placed 17th. Code of Honor, third in the Florida Derby, three-quarters of a length in front of Bourbon War, finished third in the Kentucky Derby and was moved to second by the DQ. Bourbon War, who was second to Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth (G2), fell short of qualifying points for the Derby.

“We felt like we would have been a worthy participant in the Derby,” Hennig said. “When we didn’t get in, we felt like the thing to do was watch the Derby and see how things shook out after the Derby. Certainly there was nothing from the result of the Derby to give us any less confidence going forward.” 

The Preakness has been the target for Bourbon War, Hennig said, and the strong performances by horses that competed in South Florida this winter further encouraged the connections of the son of Tapit.

“Had the Florida horses not run well,” Hennig said, “or if Omaha Beach had been in the race and won by 10 or someone else did, then you might be like, ‘Maybe we need to take a more conservative approach.’ With the result the way it was and the confidence we have in our own horse, we just thought it was silly not to give him the opportunity to be in a Triple Crown race.”

Eclipse Award winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., who has been aboard for Bourbon War’s last four races, will ride in the Preakness.