War Emblem, shown winning the Illinois Derby, has been sold and will be trained by Bob Baffert.

War Emblem, shown winning the Illinois Derby, has been sold and will be trained by Bob Baffert.

War Emblem Sold; Leaves For Baffert Barn Friday

Trainer Frank Springer spent his final day with War Emblem Thursday, as the son of Our Emblem will be transferred to Bob Baffert's barn at Churchill Downs Friday barring anything unforeseen happening to stop the sale of the colt to The Thoroughbred Corp., which will run the colt in the Kentucky Derby.

"It a done deal," Springer said. "You have to be realistic about these things. Let's just say it was a pretty good deal for both sides. The Derby isn't the way I would have gone with him, but I'll be be rooting for the horse all the way. I wish nothing but the best for him."

War Emblem, previously owned by Russell Reineman, is coming off a rousing 6 1/4-length victory in the Illinois Derby, earning a lofty 112 Beyer Speed Figure. In his previous start, he romped by 10 3/4 lengths in an allowance prep for the Illinois Derby. Previously, he had finished out of the money in the Risen Star and Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds, when rating tactics failed.

The Thoroughbred Corp of Prince Ahmed Salman is hoping to have better luck with War Emblem at Churchill Downs than they did with last year's Derby favorite Point Given, who finished fifth.

Baffert said Salman watched the Illinois Derby on television and called racing manager Richard Mulhall to see if War Emblem could be bought. "He liked his running style," Baffert said. "We're pointing him for the Derby, but I need to see how he trains over that track. We didn't just buy him for the Derby. He's a nice 3-year-old. He got a 112 Beyer in the Illinois Derby, and that's a nice number. He ran off from Repent, a very good horse. So we're not just looking at the Derby. We're looking down the road for him. We're excited about having another good horse in the barn.

"He looks good, and he's in good condition," Baffert continued. "For a horse that ran so fast and just shipped, the horse is full of himself. The race didn't seem to take anything out of him."