Before a huge crowd of onlookers on a windy, wet Friday morning, War Emblem showed one of the reasons why trainer Bob Baffert is so enamored with the colt. It took some fancy footwork for the son of Our Emblem to avoid a fractious horse as he galloped over the sloppy, but packed down, track.
As Baffert watched from the trainers' stand with several family members, War Emblem galloped around the big oval, well outside the double set of cones. Coming in the opposite direction, right under the stand, were three Bill Mott-trained horses. Two of them got out of harm's way well before War Emblem came galloping by. One, however, did not. Mott, on the pony, jogged by the horse just as he began to act up, doing a complete turnaround and strutting backwards right in War Emblem's path.
"I'm worried about that guy," Baffert said. When it became apparent that the rider had no control of the horse, Baffert yelled, "Get out of there!" But it was now obvious it would be up to Mick Jenner, on War Emblem, to avoid the horse.
Jenner had only one place to go. He steered War Emblem inside the cones, and the colt never missed a beat. He cut to his left and continued his gallop in the small area between the cones. "That's good. Good boy," Baffert said. The colt glided by the stand as if unfazed by it all. "Yeah, Mick," Baffert said, cheering his rider's quick thinking.
War Emblem walked calmly back to the barn, despite three horses acting up badly right in front of him. If anyone wanted to know what makes War Emblem a special horse, it was evident this morning. This is a colt who knows what it's all about, and is getting more professional by the day. He may be a terror at times, but when it comes to business, he just doesn't seem to do anything wrong.
Baffert best described War Emblem with one elongated word: "Suuuuuper!"