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Mike Smith (jockey)

Preakness 2019: Improbable’s gate hiccup hushes Baffert’s record bid; Maryland-bred Alwaysmining 11th

Preakness 2019: Improbable’s gate hiccup hushes Baffert’s record bid; Maryland-bred Alwaysmining 11th

Improbable entered the 144th Preakness as a 5-1 favorite, but Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert knew before his horse left the starting gate that those odds wouldn’t come through.

Improbable reared in the No. 4 gate, and although jockey Mike Smith managed to calm him down, Baffert, who saddled 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify and has won seven Preakness crowns, accepted the record eighth wouldn’t come Saturday after Improbable’s premature excitement. He was right; Improbable finished six, well behind victor War of Will.

“When he did that in the gate, I knew that was it,” Baffert said. “His only weakness is he gets a little bit fired up. He was...

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