11/14/2003 1:00AM

Men's Exclusive retired


ARCADIA, Calif. - Father Time finally caught up with 10-year-old gelding Men's Exclusive, who has been retired after winning 11 races and $1,447,928 from 47 starts. A durable California-bred, Men's Exclusive ran for the time last time Nov. 8 at Santa Anita, where he bled and finished seventh in the California Cup Sprint.

Men's Exclusive was scheduled to leave Santa Anita on Saturday, and retire to a ranch in Corona, Calif.

His owner-breeder, Gene Reed, died Sept. 13. Men's Exclusive ran twice afterward.

Trainer Wesley Ward said that Men's Exclusive "was going to run as long as Mr. Reed could enjoy him, or when he could not compete at the top level."

A son of Exclusive Ribot, Men's Exclusive retires as the 14th highest earner among California-breds. Men's Exclusive's major wins included the Grade 2 Palos Verdes, Grade 3 Vernon O. Underwood, and Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap. He was plagued throughout his career by problematic feet.

"He ran so many great races," Ward said. "He was a fighter, tough as nails. Now he has a beautiful place set up in Corona, where he'll live for the next 20 years."

Filly named for actor set to debut

He played a lovable thug in the movie "Home Alone," and a violent criminal in "Goodfellas." Now actor Joe Pesci is a racehorse. The 3-year-old filly Pesci, the first horse owned by her namesake, is scheduled for her debut in a six-furlong maiden race next Sunday at Hollywood Park. If Pesci runs as well as she has trained, the daughter of Stormy Atlantic could make Pesci a winner with his first starter.

"She worked 56-and-four, and [jockey] Mike Smith said he thought she went in a minute," her trainer, Ward, said.

Pesci was purchased at a 2-year-olds in training sale by Ward, and her debut has been delayed by minor setbacks.

Pesci bought into her only recently. According to Ward, Pesci will be in attendance for Pesci's debut. He is expected to be joined by a friend, actor Robert De Niro, who already has had a horse named for him. In 1994, the 2-year-old colt De Niro won his first two starts, including the Grade 3 Tremont.

Zito prospect now with Baffert

The hyperbole machine has hit full speed regarding trainer Nick Zito's 2004 Kentucky Derby prospects. But did Zito let one slip through the cracks? Trainer Bob Baffert and owner Jim Helzer hope so. Zito dropped Bornwithit into a $30,000 maiden claimer Oct. 10 at Keeneland for his second start. He won by 24 1/2 lengths with an 85 Beyer Figure and was claimed.

Trainer Gary Montgomery claimed the 2-year-old Bornwithit, by Charismatic, from Zito and owner Live Oak Plantation, then turned a quick profit by selling the gelding to Helzer and Baffert.

"He likes to take a chance on geldings," Baffert said of Helzer, who along with Tom Durant purchased Wooden Phone after his 13 1/2-length maiden win at Calder in 1999. Wooden Phone subsequently won the Grade 2 Strub and San Pasqual and earned $833,236. Baffert said Bornwithit got sick after shipping from Kentucky to California, and that he would not race until the Santa Anita winter meet.

Hot Market points for On Trust

Hot Market, sixth as the 7-5 favorite in the California Cup Classic, came out of the race in good order and will try to win the $100,000 On Trust Handicap for the second straight year on Dec. 13 at Hollywood Park. Explaining Hot Market's effort in the Cal Cup, trainer Craig Lewis said: "He just got tired. Ten months [off] showed on him."

Lewis said Hot Market remains targeted for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 24 at Santa Anita.

"He's going to have to run well in [the On Trust]," Lewis said. "He'll be a lot fitter, that's for sure."

The 7 1/2-furlong On Trust may also include Cal Cup Classic second- through fourth-place finishers Kedington, Commander's Flag, and Grey Memo. With earnings of $1,733,059, Grey Memo is the 12th leading California-bred earner, and the richest one still in training.

Ground may suit Mandella duo

Trainer Richard Mandella is counting on the recent rain to soften the Hollywood Park turf course, which would favor his charges The Tin Man and Redattore. The Tin Man will run Saturday in the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup; Redattore will run Nov. 29 in the Citation Handicap.

"We were thinking The Tin Man doesn't like the [Hollywood] turf, but it's a little kinder in fall," Mandella said. "And the rain will help the turf for Redattore by softening it up a little bit."

Crazy Ensign, winner of the Avigaiton one week ago at Santa Anita, may run Dec. 20 in the Grade 2 Dahlia Handicap.

Starlet next for Silent Sighs

Silent Sighs, runner-up in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies, will be shipped from Santa Anita to Hollywood next week to begin training toward the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 21.

"It's enough time [between starts]," trainer Julio Canani said regarding Silent Sighs.

She finished only a half-length behind House of Fortune, while 12 lengths clear of third. Silent Sighs, sired by Benchmark, was making only her second career start in the California Cup, while House of Fortune was making her fourth start.