War Emblem favored
Medaglia d'Oro is second choice in Breeders' CupPosted: Wednesday October 23, 2002 7:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday October 23, 2002 7:35 PM
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois (AP) -- War Emblem will try to become the first Kentucky Derby champion since 1990 to win the $4 million Breeders' Cup when he goes against 11 horses Saturday, including Travers winner Medaglia d'Oro and Pacific Classic winner Came Home.
Trained by Bob Baffert, War Emblem was made the early 3-1 favorite by oddsmaker Mike Battaglia at Wednesday's post position draw. Medaglia d'Oro was the second choice at 7-2.
War Emblem drew the No. 3 post, with Medaglia d'Oro leaving from the No. 7 post, and Came Home out of the No. 11 gate.
War Emblem is coming off a sixth-place finish in the Pacific Classic, while Medaglia d'Oro has been more impressive lately, with a dominating win in the Jim Dandy three weeks before taking the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 24.
"He's the Derby winner and deserves to be the favorite," Baffert said.
Bobby Frankel, who trains Medaglia d'Oro, said he was surprised his colt wasn't favored. But he wasn't worried.
"The idea is to win the race, not the morning line," Frankel said.
Came Home, a winner of six of seven races this year but sixth in the Kentucky Derby, was 4-1.
Also in the field going 11/4 miles (2 kilometers) is Hawk Wing, the winner of the Eclipse Stakes in England and trained by Aidan O'Brien.
O'Brien entered his star Rock of Gibraltar in the $1 million Mile instead of the Classic, and the 3-year-old colt was made the even-money favorite in a full field of 14. Beat Hollow, trained by Frankel, was the second choice at 6-1.
In other races at the World Thoroughbred Championships:
• Sky Mesa, winner of all three career starts including the Hopeful, was the 3-1 favorite in a 14-horse field, with Baffert's Vindication at 4-1.
• Azeri, with a six-race winning streak, was the 6-5 favorite for the $2 million Distaff, with Spinster winner Take Charge Lady the second choice at 3-1.
• Storm Flag Flying, 3-for-3 and coming off a win in the Frizette, was the even-money choice over Baffert's Santa Catarina for the $1 million Juvenile Fillies.
• Orientate, one of trainer D. Wayne Lukas' two Breeders' Cup entries, was the 5-2 favorite for the $1 million Sprint. The filly Xtra Heat and Met Mile winner Swept Overboard and Carson Hollow were co-second picks at 5-1.
• Golden Apples, winner of the Yellow Ribbon Stakes, was a 5-2 choice for the $1 million Filly & Mare Turf, with Banks Hill at 3-1, and Ireland-based Islington at 9-2.