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A Horse Named Cigar

A Thoroughbred Named Cigar is on Track for "Horse of the Year"
Mark Vaughan
From the Print Edition:
Jack Nicholson, Summer 95

(continued from page 1)

After the NYRA Mile win, jockey Jerry Bailey, who has ridden Cigar on turf as well as in all five of his winning dirt-track races, couldn't help but quip, "Cigar really smoked 'em today. He's a different animal on the dirt."

That March day at the Gulfstream Park Handicap, Cigar smoked 'em again. Though he was expected to face a good run from Serious Spender and Northern Trend, the race wasn't even close. Cigar won by 7 1/2 lengths, covering the mile-and-a-quarter distance in just over 2:02 minutes. Pride of Burkaan, a 36-to-1 long shot, finished a distant second, while Mahogany Hall came from dead last to finish third.

It was the first mile-and-a-quarter run for Cigar, and after the race Mott commented that it was time to make some long-range plans for the horse. "He proved he can go the longer distance," says Mott. "So it's time to look seriously at the future."

So what does the future hold for Cigar? According to Mott, at the age of five the horse has only a half-dozen or so races left in him for 1995. "We might run him in the Oaklawn Handicap, the Pimlico Special or the Metropolitan Mile at Belmont," says Mott. "But our main goal is the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont next October. It's like with any athlete, if he doesn't smoke and he doesn't drink and he stays sound, there might be some more good things to come. If he keeps healthy, Cigar could be the next horse of the year."

Winning races aside, Paulson is right: Thoroughbreds are beautiful animals. Cigar, the color of a flawless Cameroon wrapper, sports a white ring around one eye. "We call it a 'keen white eye,'" says Mott. "It gives him a mark of distinction."

Unfortunately, neither Mott nor Paulson will be celebrating Cigar's victories with a cigar. "I don't smoke cigars unless I happen to be given a good one," says Mott. Adds Paulson, "I've never been a smoker, though some of my best friends are. Take Lee Iacocca, for instance. After he met with Castro in Cuba, he came back with some wonderful cigars, supposedly the best you can buy anywhere. If Cigar wins big, Lee will have to do the smoking for me."

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