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War Emblem to Skip Haskell

July 24, 2002

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OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) _ Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem won’t run in next week’s $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park because of the death of his owner.

Saudi Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz died of a heart attack Monday at age 43.

Robert Kulina, the vice president and general manager of thoroughbred racing for the track, was told by trainer Bob Baffert on Tuesday that War Emblem would likely skip the race Aug. 4.

``There is a very outside chance, but I’m not holding my breath,″ Kulina said in a telephone interview. ``Right now, it’s about 99 percent that they won’t come. We understand.″

Baffert was not immediately available for comment, and could not be reached through telephone calls to his barn in California or on his cell phone.

The Daily Racing Form reported that Baffert said Tuesday that War Emblem would remain at Del Mar and compete in the Pacific Classic on Aug. 25.

Came Home, who won the Santa Anita Derby and finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby, will likely be the favorite in the Haskell next week.

``If War Emblem doesn’t come, there might be some people who reconsider coming here,″ said Kulina, adding the race should be even more competitive with the nation’s top 3-year-old absent.

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