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War Emblem winner of the 2002 Preakness Stakes with Victor Espinoza

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2002 Preakness Stakes

Date: 05/18/02

When the gate opened for the 127th Preakness, all the early speed that was expected to surge to the front did not materialize. 51-1 longshot Menacing Dennis was sent to the lead by Mario Pino, with 2.80-1 favorite War Emblem pressing him just to his inside for the first six furlongs. The pair set brisk initial fractions of 22.87, 46.10, and 1:10.60 before Menacing Dennis tired and gave way. At the top of the stretch, local hero Magic Weisner made his move to the front having raced as far back as 11th early on, and would close gamely to finish second just beaten 3/4 of a length. 7.4-1 choice Proud Citizen lost ground on both turns going five wide, made a late run to the outside in mid stretch but could not catch the winner, finishing 3/4 lengths back of Magic Weisner. The final time for the 1 3/16 miles over a drying-out track labelled fast was 1:56.36.

Despite the cold, damp weather the on track crowd was the second largest ever with 101,138 in attendance. A new record was set for betting handle of $42,301,515 on the Preakness alone, up 19% from last year.

The Preakness

Purse: $1.000,000     Distance: 1 3/16 miles

Pgm  Horse              Jockey            Win   Place  Show
 8   War Emblem         Espinoza         7.60    6.00  4.40
 2   Magic Weisner      Migliore                33.00 14.00
12   Proud Citizen      Smith                          5.00

War Emblem wins by 3/4 of a length.
Winning Time: 1:56.36 $2 Exacta 8-2 327.00 $2 Trifecta 8-2-12 2,311.00 $1 Superfecta 8-2-12-6 6,701.50

First time by with War Emblem tracking early leader Menacing Dennis. Jeff Bonde, trainer of Menacing Dennis, said: "He broke out of the gate extra sharp and went as far as he could go. We'll probably be going to Monmouth."

Jockey Victor Espinoza celebrates his win on War Emblem. He said: "He's always professional. He was the best of the field and he will always be the best. He's a good horse and obviously we get along good together."

Prince Ahmed bin Salman leads his second Preakness winner. He said: "I enjoy racing in America. I lived here 10 years and went to school here. This is for both countries. A lot of people have been asking me for autographs, I think I'm a little more popular than President Bush."

The celebration in the winner's circle.

The trophy presentation. Prince Ahmed said: "I don't want to give credit to nobody. It's teamwork. We always achieve things as a team."

War Emblem going back to the barn. Bob Baffert said: "One of the best walks I ever made with a horse coming out of here. This is why we're in the business - to have fun. That's why people get in the business - to have fun. That's why the Prince is in the business. It's the Sport of Kings and he's having fun."

War Emblem in the post parade. Bob Baffert said: "People were so for this horse. They wanted him to win so bad, they were cheering for him so bad. I could just feel the crowd."

Magic Weisner in the post parade. Trainer Nancy Alberts said: "I am very proud of him and I can't wait for some of the little ones who are related to him to grow up. I'm not planning on going to the Belmont because there could be some better spots here."

Proud Citizen in the infield saddling area. Jockey Mike Smith said: "I thought I had a big shot. I got to War Emblem's hip, but he had enough to put me off."

Morning line favorite and post time second favorite Medaglia d'Oro finished 8th. Jockey Jerry Bailey said: "He had good position. I just didn't have any horse when I needed it."

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