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War Emblem diverted when nervous colt obstructs him

By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 8, 2002

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Such moments make Triple Crowns flash before a trainer's eyes.

Just before 9 a.m. Friday, exercise rider Mick Jenner had to divert War Emblem off the sloppy section of the Belmont track being used for workouts and onto a coned-off sealed portion near the rail when a fractious colt obstructed his path.

The other colt, spooked by a throng of media watching War Emblem's work, was one of several brought out together by trainer Bill Mott. They had bunched near the gate that leads to the barn area.

"I saw (the fractious horse) a ways out, so I was like, 'Oh, what do I do here?' " Jenner said. "If I go to the inside, the track was too hard. I don't want to hit a horse, so I said, 'We might as well go in on hard ground.' "

Jenner brought War Emblem under control and onto the approved workout area quickly, but not before trainer Bob Baffert yelled from the observation stand, "Get them out of there."

As Mott rode over to move things along, Baffert shouted, "Bill, break your horses."

Mott responded, "Yeah, I should. I've never had the opportunity."

I'M HERE: Magic Weisner, the Maryland star who nearly caught War Emblem down the stretch in the Preakness -- losing by three-quarters of a length -- arrived at Barn 6 Friday. Owned, bred and trained by Nancy Alberts, a small businesswoman with a small string of horses, Magic Weisner could be just the second gelding to win the Belmont. Creme Fraiche won in 1985.

Magic Weisner has the distance in its bloodlines. The gelding's dam, Jazema, was sired by 1976 Belmont winner Bold Forbes.

GIRL POWER: You, who finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, won the Acorn, the Grade I, $250,000 filly companion of the Belmont Stakes.

Willa On The Move was second, 71/4 lengths back, followed by favored Bella Bellucci, who had won consecutively in the Grade III Comely and Santa Paula.

Willa On The Move belongs to Peter Angelos, owner of baseball's Baltimore Orioles.

The Acorn is the first leg of the New York Racing Association's Triple Tiara, which includes the Grade I Mother Goose and the Coaching Club American Oaks.

TRAGEDY: Renegade Warrior broke his leg at the five-eighths pole during the Grade III Flash Stakes for 2-year-olds and was euthanized on the track behind a screen. Windsor Lodge toppled over the colt and jockey Ramon Dominguez, then ran loose around the track. Dominguez and John Velazquez, who was aboard Windsor Lodge, walked away.

Whywhywhy won the race by 5-1/2 lengths.

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