Cigar shows no signs of decline Woodward winner ready for Oct. races, trainer says

September 16, 1996|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Cigar emerged from Saturday's winning effort in the Woodward Stakes in good order, prompting his trainer, Bill Mott, to pronounce that the Maryland-bred is on schedule for what look to be the final two races of his career.

Much has been made of Cigar's mood after he lost last month's Pacific Classic at Del Mar -- his first loss after 16 straight wins. He refused for several days to eat a peppermint, his favorite snack. But after the Woodward, Mott said, he ate at least half a dozen.

"He was proud of himself; I think he felt deserving," Mott said yesterday at his barn at Belmont Park.

"He was strutting around the shedrow, marching around pretty good. He was tugging at his lead shank today.

"It's good to see him respond that way. And he doesn't have to get on a van or a plane to come home. He's already here."

Cigar is stabled at Belmont Park, where he is scheduled to race Oct. 5 in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup. That's three weeks away, and it's another three weeks to the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Woodbine, near Toronto.

"He does better in the cool weather," Mott said. "In the fall of the year, it seems three weeks is enough for him between races."

Allen E. Paulson, Cigar's owner, stopped by Mott's barn. Paulson made news Saturday after the Woodward, declaring that he would not sell Cigar to Japanese breeders, who were offering $35 million.

Like Mott and everyone associated with Cigar, Paulson expressed relief that Cigar, who is 6, showed no signs of declining skills.

"He showed he's still the champion," Paulson said.

Pub Date: 9/16/96

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