- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 19, 2002

War Emblem survived early and late challenges to win the 127th Preakness Stakes yesterday by three-fourths length over Magic Weisner at Pimlico Race Course:
Start Long shot Menacing Dennis quickly led from the No. 11 post, crossing over three inside speedsters. Booklet made no effort to take the early lead over War Emblem despite plenty of prerace bluster by trainer John Ward. Medaglia d'Oro broke awkwardly to lose a step, though he wasn't expected to rate among the early leaders.
First turn
Menacing Dennis grabbed a half-length lead over War Emblem, who wasn't all out for the front but still running hard. Booklet and Table Limit made no effort to take the expected lead in running fourth and eighth respectively. Without the two vying for the front, it wasn't a suicidal early pace. The opening quarter of 22 4/5 seconds was one-half second faster than the Derby, but not a sizzling pace.
Final turn
War Emblem finally quit toying with Menacing Dennis shortly before the turn as the latter quickly faded to ninth. Medaglia d'Oro was in perfect position in third along the backstretch for a late bid, but quickly dropped back. Proud Citizen began looming on the outside just like the Derby while U S S Tinosa moved up to fourth. Harlan's Holiday finally shook off a slow start to reach sixth. Magic Weisner was showing some spark in rallying past three colts for seventh.
Stretch
Jockey Victor Espinoza waved the whip past War Emblem's right eye at the top of the stretch. Proud Citizen seemed to flattened out at the eighth pole before making one last bid to within one-half length. Still, he never really threatened to take the lead. Magic Weisner passed three more rivals by the sixteenth pole while Harlan's Holiday moved to third.
Finish line
War Emblem finished in 1:56 1/5, paying $7.60 as the favorite. Magic Weisner might have won if the race was 1 1/4 miles instead of 1 3/16 miles, but the bid was strides short for second with Proud Citizen third and Harlan's Holiday fourth. Second-choice Medaglia d'Oro was eighth. Straight Gin suffered a bowed tendon when finishing ninth. The track was rated fast despite heavy morning rain, but the card's times weren't especially quick.
Rick Snider


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