A couple years ago, Men's Exclusive was showing signs of old age.
But now the old war horse is rejuvenated. He turns 10 on Jan. 1 and still shows enough professionalism and zip to pay his way on the racetrack.
After a break of some two months, Men's Exclusive returns to the races in the Bulldog Stakes at Fresno on Sunday. Apprentice Luis Corrales is scheduled to ride. Men's Exclusive worked five furlongs in :59.80 on Sept. 28 and four furlongs in :47.40 on Oct. 5 at Santa Anita in preparation for the Bulldog.
A California-bred son of Exclusive Ribot, Men's Exclusive has won 10 of 40 starts, with 14 seconds and three thirds for earnings of $1,316,718.
"Two years ago, it looked like he was slipping," said his trainer, Wesley Ward, "so we sent him to Fresno to run in the Bulldog and restore his confidence. He won that race and came back win a few stakes in Southern California, including the Vernon O. Underwood and the Palos Verdes (both gr. III).
"I felt it was best to give him a breather from the tough competition," Ward said. "California has the best sprinters in the world. Look how they've performed in the Breeders' Cup. Even the second tier is tough, so running him against them in these tough allowance races and Cal-bred stakes isn't easy on him.
"That's why we're running Sunday in the Bulldog. Two years ago I brought him up there, skipping the California Cup Sprint to try and boost his confidence and get a win, because he tries so hard every time. He had run a bunch of seconds, and it just kind of spring-boarded him into rejuvenating him.
"Then he was able to come back to Southern California and knock off a few stakes. The horse is doing really well right now. We're going to be ready."