Val Royal, Men's Exclusive on Track in Dubai

Val Royal, Men's Exclusive on Track in Dubai
Photo: Mike Corrado
Val Royal rallied from far back to win the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Breeders' Cup Mile winner Val Royal displayed his readiness for Saturday's $2-million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) when he worked five furlongs in 1:00.66 at Nad al Sheba Racecourse on Monday. Jockey Gerard Melancon was aboard for the workout, in which Val Royal galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.98.

"This horse does everything so easily," trainer Julio Canani said of the six-year-old son of Royal Academy. "He went nice. It's better to come out with something left inside than to go too fast."

Canani said he could not determine who poses the greatest challenge to Val Royal in the Duty Free field that will also include defending champion Jim and Tonic (Fr), group 1 winners Noverre and Terre a Terre, multiple European highweighted mare Golden Silca, and American grade II winner Del Mar Show.

Val Royal has won seven of 11 career starts and placed twice while earning $1,126,687.

Meanwhile, before dawn broke over the track Monday, Men's Exclusive breezed a half-mile under exercise rider Kenny Black as the 9-year-old gelding continued to progress toward the $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I). Assistant trainer Blake Heap recorded a time of about 46.20 seconds, although he cautioned that he was not sure the time was accurate due to his positioning for the workout. Men's Exclusive finished second, four lengths behind winner Caller One, in last year's Golden Shaheen.

"He's doing a lot better this year. Everything is very well with him right now," Heap said, recalling that Men's Exclusive had breathing and feet problems in 2001. "He's also eating more and drinking more water this year. He's just an old, classy horse. He's very easy to deal with, very mellow."

Men's Exclusive has won 10 of 36 career starts and has placed 15 times while earning $1,180,758.

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