TOKYO The Japanese owners of former Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem are struggling to explain why the American thoroughbred has lost his libido.
Even a private harem and a limitless supply of Viagra have failed to pep up the love life of a stallion his handlers freely admit has some personal issues.
"We've tried everything," Nobuo Tsunoda, director of the prestigious Shadai Stallion Station on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, told Reuters.
"You name it we've tried it. We had him on Viagra -- that didn't work. I even went into (Sapporo's) red light district with 300,000 yen in cash and brought back a lot of 'special' medicine to try and perk him up.
"It's very odd. He's not impotent. He's just very choosy about his women. He's more human than animal. Basically he's a bit of a weirdo."
War Emblem won the 2002 Kentucky Derby but has had problems in the breeding shed since being sold to the prominent Yoshida racing family for around $17 million later that year.
The 2008 race takes place on Saturday and its winner can expect big fees when he goes to stud. War Emblem has been a disappointment, however.
"He's been in contact with hundreds of mares but has successfully mated with a only a tiny percentage," said Tsunoda. "We have him on male hormone injections to see it that will help."
"It's not normal," continued Tsunoda. "A normal stud would climb onto any mare he sees but not him. He's just doesn't seem to like sex anymore -- which is odd."
(Editing by Clare Lovell)