War Emblem Won't Contest Haskell Invitational

One of the immediate effects the passing of Prince Ahmed Salman will have on racing was the decision by Richard Mulhall and Bob Baffert, respective manager and trainer for the prince's The Thoroughbred Corp., to pull Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner War Emblem out of the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) on Aug. 4

War Emblem was to have had a key workout on Tuesday morning in preparation of the Haskell, but Baffert said the plans for the son of Our Emblem have changed. War Emblem's connections were not happy with the weight assignment (he received 124 pounds, two more than recent Swaps Stakes (gr. II) winner Came Home. Mulhall was quoted in one report Sunday as saying the chances of running were "50/50," but that changed on Monday, according to Baffert, who notified Monmouth Park officials War Emblem was out.

"We sent a fax to the prince on Sunday saying we were leaning against running," Baffert said Monday afternoon, hours after learning of Prince Ahmed's death. "That's a lot of weight for a small horse to carry. Point Given carried 124 last year, but he's a much bigger horse, nearly 1,300 pounds, compared to 1,000 pounds for War Emblem. The heat back East can sap him, too, and the prince wanted to have a horse for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) later this year and the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) next year. The last we heard from the prince was Sunday night, when he said to do what we thought was best for the horse."