War Emblem

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War Emblem
Sire Our Emblem
Grandsire Mr. Prospector
Dam Sweetest Lady
Damsire Lord at War
Sex Stallion until gelded at age 17
Foaled 1999
Country United States
Color Dark Brown
Breeder Charles Nuckols Jr. & Sons
Owner Russell L. Reineman
The Thoroughbred Corp.
Trainer Frank R. Springer
Bob Baffert
Record 13: 7-0-0
Earnings $3,491,000
Major wins

Illinois Derby (2002)
Haskell Invitational Handicap (2002)

Triple Crown classic race wins:
Kentucky Derby (2002)
Preakness Stakes (2002)
American Champion 3-Yr-Old Male Horse (2002)

War Emblem (foaled February 20, 1999 in Kentucky) was the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002.

Life and race career[edit]

War Emblem was foaled in 1999, sired by Our Emblem, and out of Sweetest Lady. He was a brown colt with a white star on his forehead.

He prepped for the Kentucky Derby with a win at the Illinois Derby. Ahmed bin Salman bought a ninety percent interest in War Emblem for $1 million from the Russell L. Reineman Stable following the horse's April 6 win in the Illinois Derby, just three weeks before the Kentucky Derby.

He won the Kentucky Derby in a time 2:01.13. Victor Espinoza was his jockey for the Derby, never having seen the horse until the morning of the race. War Emblem, who went off at 21-to-1 odds, gave trainer Bob Baffert his third Derby winner in 12 tries. War Emblem beat the likes of Medaglia d'Oro (winner of the Travers Stakes, Jim Dandy Stakes, and Whitney Handicap among others); Perfect Drift (winner of the Stephen Foster, the Indiana Derby, and the Washington Park Handicap twice, among others); and Harlan's Holiday (winner of the Florida Derby, the Pennsylvania Derby, and the Donn Handicap among others).

He won the 2002 Preakness Stakes, but lost the Triple Crown bid to Sarava at the Belmont Stakes. Sarava had odds of 70-1. War Emblem stumbled and nearly fell to his knees out of the gate coming out in last place and surged to the lead in the final turn before fading quickly at the top of the stretch. The Belmont attracted the biggest crowd in the track's history with 103,222 spectators.[1] Baffert said of the Belmont, "He was so one-dimensional and such an irritable horse as it was, as soon as he was behind horses, I had to sit there for 2½ minutes waiting for the race to be over." As he approached the quarter pole, Tom Durkin called, "And War Emblem is toiling as we turn for home." After the Belmont, he went on to win the Haskell Invitational Handicap

Career as a sire[edit]

In September 2002, War Emblem was sold to the prominent Yoshida racing family of Japan for US$17.7 million to stand at stud at their renowned Shadai Stallion Station in Shiraoi, Hokkaido.

Expected to follow in the footsteps of Shadai's great sires Northern Taste and Sunday Silence, War Emblem had problems in the breeding shed. His matings produced only four foals in his first year at stud, then after an extended break, sired more than forty in his second, but then only two in his third. In 2007 and 2008, it was reported that War Emblem has rejected nearly every mare presented to him for mating. He sired only 106 registered foals between 2004 and 2011.[2] On June 8, 2008, War Emblem was evaluated by a stallion behavior team from the University of Pennsylvania. They suggested that he should be separated from other stallions to help improve his confidence. The measures seemed to help War Emblem in the 2009 breeding season, with a career record of 43 foals born in 2010. However, War Emblem reverted to his old habits in 2010, only covering 5 of 300 mares presented to him in the season.[3] In 2012, he covered only three mares, none of which became pregnant.[2]

War Emblem sired a total of 199 foals, with 80 winners from 111 starters and combined progeny earnings of $35,300,307. His last foal was born in 2012.[4] War Emblem sired 29 broodmares[5][6] and his son Civil War[7] has entered stud at Breeders Stallion Station.

War Emblem was represented by his first career stakes winner when Shonan Alba (Xianlang (IRE), by Great Commotion) won the Kyodo News Service Hai, an 1,800 meter listed race on Tokyo Race Course's turf course. Nearly a month later, the filly Air Pascale (Raffica, by Sunday Silence) scored in the listed Tulip Sho at Hashin Race Course. Then, on March 22, another filly, Black Emblem (Vin de Noir, by Hector Protector), became War Emblem's third stakes winner with an odds-on victory in the Flower Cup at 1,800 meters at Nakayama Race Course. (Black Emblem later became dam of two stakes winners, Bright Emblem and Testament.)[8] War Emblem’s most successful offspring was Robe Tissage who was the champion 2-year-old filly in Japan in 2012. He also sired Group 3 winners King’s Emblem and War Tactics, and stakes winners Civil War, Danon Programmer, and Clan Emblem.[4]

Fall 2015 saw War Emblem pensioned from stallion duty, and repatriated to the United States, where he was sent to live at Old Friends Equine Retirement in Georgetown, KY. Though he was not going to be used at stud, USDA regulations required all stallions imported to the US to be tested for contagious equine metritis by test breeding two mares. After a month in quarantine at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, War Emblem refused to breed any mares presented to him, and in order to keep the horse in the United States, the only remaining option was to geld him.[4]


Pedigree of War Emblem
Our Emblem

dark brown 1991

Mr. Prospector

bay 1970

Raise A Native
chestnut 1961
Native Dancer
Raise You
Gold Digger
bay 1962
Personal Ensign

bay 1984

Private Account
bay 1976
Numbered Account
Grecian Banner
dark brown 1974
Hoist The Flag
Sweetest Lady

bay 1990

Lord At War

chestnut 1980

bay 1974
Brigadier Gerard
Luna De Miel
chestnut 1974
Con Brio
Good Will
Sweetest Roman

bay 1977

The Pruner
dark brown 1976
I Also
bay 1969
Sky HIgh
Roman Song


  1. ^ "Belmont Stakes Attendance, Wagering Set Records". BloodHorse.com. 8 June 2002. 
  2. ^ a b MacDonald, Michelle. "War Emblem". Bloodhorse. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  3. ^ MacDonald, Michele. "War Emblem saga continues". Brisnet.com. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c DRF Breeding Staff (February 24, 2016). "Champion War Emblem gelded at 17". Daily Racing Form. 
  5. ^ JBIS
  6. ^ Racing Australia
  7. ^ JBIS
  8. ^ [1]

External links[edit]