ESPN.com - Horse Racing - War Emblem wins Illinois Derby, Repent 2nd

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Saturday, April 6
War Emblem wins Illinois Derby, Repent 2nd



CHICAGO - War Emblem raced to the biggest victory of his career Saturday, leading all the way and beating favored Repent by 6 1/2 lengths in the $500,000 Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park.

"He made the front real easy," jockey Larry Sterling said. "I just pitched him his head and let him do his own thing. ... He's a free running horse. I just fed him the reins."

Trainer Frank Springer and owner Russell Reineman have yet to make a decision on the Kentucky Derby.

"Mr. Reineman and I will have to discuss where we go next," Springer said. "There's really no way I can say what we will, or won't do, at this point. We'll just take it day by day and then make a decision."

Repent, last after a half-mile, made a strong charge on the second turn but couldn't catch War Emblem. Trainer Ken McPeek said he still planned to run Repent in the Kentucky Derby.

"The colt is just begging for a mile and a quarter," McPeek said. "As always, we'll check him out to make sure he's 100 percent."

War Emblem ran 1 1-8 miles in 1:49.92, and paid $14.60, $4.40, and $2.10. Repent returned $2.20 and $2.10, and Fonz's paid $2.10 to show. The $300,000 winner's share boosted War Emblem's career earnings to $366,000.

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