05/23/2002 11:00PM

War Emblem bonus still up in the air


CHICAGO - Three weeks after War Emblem's Kentucky Derby victory earned him a $1 million bonus offered by Sportsman's Park, there's still no resolution to the issue of how the bonus will be distributed. The matter could wind up in court if negotiations between attorneys representing Russell Reineman and The Thoroughbred Corp. do not produce an agreement soon.

Sportsman's filed a request for payment on the insurance policy covering the bonus earlier this week, and will receive the $1 million by June 3. If the two sides have not reached an agreement by then, Sportsman's will take the matter before a judge to decide how to pay out the bonus.

"It's not up to us to decide how to handle it," said Terry Hart, Sportsman's vice president of horse racing.

Sportsman's offered the bonus to a horse who could win the Illinois Derby and any Triple Crown race, but between the Illinois Derby and the Kentucky Derby, Reineman sold 90 percent of War Emblem to Prince Ahmed Salman's Thoroughbred Corp. Two days after the Derby, Reineman said he should receive more than his 10 percent owner's share of the bonus. Reineman said he would settle for half of the bonus.

Neil Papiano, an attorney for The Thoroughbred Corp., said the terms of War Emblem's sale entitled Reineman to only 10 percent of the bonus. Papiano said anything more would be "a gift," but that The Thoroughbred Corp. was open to negotiations.