These things I learned from watching the NBC telecast of the 144th Preakness Stakes at a safe remove of 2,300 miles:I learned that, without professional counseling, Mike Smith and Bob Baffert had patched their damaged relationship over the rider&rsquo;s choice of Derby mounts and were back together with Preakness favorite Improbable. This was especially admirable in light of the fact that on Derby Day the two Hall of Famers refused to make eye contact after Smith rode McKinzie to an impressive victory in the Alysheba Stakes for Baffert, and that all memories of the jockey winning the Triple Crown aboard Justify and $17 million with Arrogate for Baffert paled in comparison to Smith&rsquo;s heartless betrayal in choosing Omaha Beach over Roadster.I learned that NBC&rsquo;s Nick Luck, on loan from the British Empire, was able to channel his inner John McCririck and dive Ferragamo loafers first into the raucous scene in the Pimlico infield. There was a tense moment during which the crowd began to close in on Luck as if they were the colorfully dressed undead (or at least not alive in the double), but he talked his way out of trouble. It&rsquo;s always the accent.I learned from Baffert, reflecting on the controversial Kentucky Derby, that on such a day the jockeys were &ldquo;savages.&rdquo; Savages. I also learned that Bill Mott, the trainer of Country House, is wearing his Derby asterisk very well. But I wasn&rsquo;t surprised.I learned that a piece of unaired NBC video from the Derby telecast captured Gary West, the owner of Maximum Security, saying immediately after his colt was disqualified, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the classic example of the ecstasy of winning and the agony of defeat. Obviously, the stewards felt that, you know, the horse compromised other horses, and I respect what the stewards have to say.&rdquo; Now that, ladies and germs, is how a true sportsman talks.I learned a long time ago, after a botched parasail stunt at a racetrack event, that many things can go wrong and only one thing right. But there was Diplo, the Preakness DJ talent du jour, skidding home on the turf course with a look of abject terror on his handsome mug after descending from on high. Unfazed, he took the infield stage and cranked it up to 11, accompanied by belching fire and big&#45;screen flashing lights. Horses love fire and flashing lights.I also learned that the operatic call for &ldquo;Riders up!&rdquo; delivered by Robin Thicke (finally recovered from his traumatic Miley Cyrus moment) was taken way too seriously by John Velazquez. War of Will&rsquo;s conclusive Preakness victory should have had a calming effect on the roiling Triple Crown season. To review, there had been a scratch of the Derby morning&#45;line favorite, a disqualification of the Derby first&#45;place finisher, and a cough that sidelined the horse elevated to the Derby title. War of Will played his part to perfection by shaking off his near disaster in the Derby to compliment Maximum Security&rsquo;s form and lend, at least to some, a validation of the DQ.But the weird vibe coursing through this Triple Crown decreed that Bodexpress, among those bothered in the Derby, should levitate at the Preakness break and launch Johnny V. skyward. Upon landing, Velazquez sat still for a moment, his pride mildly bruised, then made the short walk to the jocks&rsquo; room while Bodexpress rambled on around the track with the rest of his pals.For a Triple Crown race, it was an unusual sight. Gary Stevens was knocked halfway out of the saddle on General Challenge in the first turn of their Derby, and Victor Espinoza did a good job keeping his seat when California Chrome was chopped down at the start of the Belmont. Stick around long enough and there will be a loose horse, eyes wide and reins dangling, in just about any kind of race.It happened in the 1967 Hollywood Gold Cup when Greentree Stable&rsquo;s O&rsquo;Hara stumbled at the start and dumped Milo Valenzuela, then spent the rest of the race terrorizing Johnny Sellers and heavily favored Pretense. That gave Native Diver a free pass on the lead, although it was O&rsquo;Hara who hit the finish line first.Breeders&rsquo; Cup Classic winner Fort Larned began his 2013 campaign with an unintended splash in the Gulfstream Park Handicap by going nose first at the break and detaching Brian Hernandez. The horse got his bearings, then took off like a rocket up the inside to grab the lead and draw off to &ldquo;win&rdquo; by many lengths.&ldquo;There&rsquo;s so many things that go through your mind, none of them good,&rdquo; said Ian Wilkes, who trained Fort Larned for the Whitham family.&ldquo;They are naturally herd animals, and they&rsquo;re usually happy to follow others, like the horse did in the Preakness,&rdquo; Wilkes said. &ldquo;Fort Larned was the exception. I guess he felt he had to dominate the others. He was a tremendously fast horse, and he loved doing it. I think they got him running the mile in 1:33.&rdquo;If nothing else, the Preakness confirmed that War of Will and Maximum Security are two very talented 3&#45;year&#45;olds, and the 2019 Triple Crown series is being governed by forces beyond comprehension. As host Mike Tirico said at the end of the telecast, &ldquo;Disqualified winner, horse who lost his jockey &ndash; what&rsquo;s gonna happen at Belmont? Who knows?&rdquo;Buckle up.