War Emblem had his final serious workout for Sunday's $1-million Haskell Invitational Handicap when he breezed five furlongs in :59 1/5 at Del Mar Monday morning. Trainer Bob Baffert said the son of Our Emblem "is really, really sharp right now."
Baffert clocked the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner in 1:11 2/5 for six furlongs and galloping out in 1:24 2/5. Track clockers noted it as a five-furlong work. Dana Barnes, as usual, was aboard for the 6:30 a.m. drill.
"This horse is set. He looked awesome out there," the trainer said. "He just needs a clean break."
The last time Baffert said War Emblem only needed a clean break to win was in the Belmont Stakes, where he stumbled badly at the start and finished far back. "I haven't had a start that bad since I was in the Quarter Horse business," Baffert said. "I hope we can go another 10 years before I see one like that again."
Baffert said War Emblem will ship to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, not Thursday as reported by track officials when they announced over the weekend that War Emblem would be contesting the $1-million race for 3-year-olds. Earlier in the week, following the death of War Emblem's owner, Prince Ahmed Salman, Baffert said War Emblem was out of the race, in part because of the 124-pound high weight assignment.