2002 Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem is “picky” breeder

War Emblem, the 2002 Kentucky Derby winner has sired a limited number of foals because he is a “picky” breeder in the breeding shed.  One good thing is that he is proving that sometimes quantity is not quality in horse racing.

On January 28, the Japan Racing Association honored War Emblem-sired Robe Tissage, campaigned by Silk Co., as champion 2-year-old filly for 2012.  The filly, whose victories included the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, is one of eight stakes winners for War Emblem.  War Emblem, now 14 years old has been represented by 48 winners from 80 starters. In all, War Emblem has sired 89 foals through December 2012.

In September 2002, War Emblem was sold to the prominent Yoshida racing family of  Japan for $17.7 million to stand at stud at their renowned Shadai Stallion Station in Shiraoi, Hokkaido.

Expected to follow in the footsteps of Shadai’s great sires Northern Taste and Sunday Silence, War Emblem has been problematic in the breeding shed. His matings produced only four foals in his first year at stud, then after an extended vacation, more than forty in his second, then only two in his third. In 2007 and 2008, it was reported that War Emblem has rejected nearly every mare presented to him for mating. He sired only 106 registered foals between 2004 and 2011. On June 8, 2008, War Emblem was evaluated by a stallion behavior team from the University of Pennsylvania. They suggested that he should be separated from other stallions to help improve his confidence. The measures seemed to help War Emblem in the 2009 breeding season, with a career record of 43 foals born in 2010. However, War Emblem reverted to his old habits in 2010, only covering 5 of 300 mares presented to him in the season.  In 2012, he covered only three mares, none of which became pregnant.

War Emblem won the 2002 Derby and Preakness Stakes. The Kentucky-bred War Emblem, dark brown with a stark white demarcation between his eyes, lost the Triple Crown bid to Sarava at the Belmont Sakes. Sarava had odds of 70-1. War Emblem stumbled and nearly fell to his knees out of the gate coming out in last place and surged to the lead in the final turn before fading quickly at the top of the stretch. The 2001 Belmont Stakes attracted the biggest crowd in the track’s history with 103,222 spectators. In September 2002, he was sold and shipped to Japan to stand at stud. His low number of foals is attributed to his selectivity in which mares he chooses to service, and in 2012, none of the three mares he covered were pronounced in foal.

You can see photos of him and the 2002 Derby on our Kentucky Derby Tours website at https://kentuckyderbytours.com/tour02/ The current word is that he will try again this year.  We hope he meets the “right” ladies! Good luck War Emblem.