"Personally, I don't care if he ever gets a mare pregnant," McCarthy said. "This horse means an awful lot to me. He inspired an awful lot of racing fans.
"My interest is in Cigar, not his reproductive performance. He's a champion, and we treat him with the respect due a champion."
At some point -- McCarthy wouldn't say when -- "it becomes obvious that we're not getting anywhere." Then, he said, the insurance company might give Cigar to the Kentucky Horse Park, a public facility near Lexington.
Also, Paulson, who owned Cigar, has said he would like to buy him back. Whether he would place him in a public or private setting, he hasn't said.
No one plans to race Cigar again.
For now, Cigar will remain at Watercress, where "he spends all day in his paddock, ripping and tearing around, grazing and enjoying himself," McCarthy said. "When we first put him out there, you could walk in with a shank and lead him out. Now, if you walk in, he'll chase you out of there. He is very full of himself."
Ryan, the farm manager, said he still can't believe he's working with the legendary racehorse.
"You walk in the barn every morning, and Cigar's beside you," Ryan said. "Your hair kind of stands on end."
Ryan described a scene that unfolds nearly every day in the paddock, usually early in the morning, when he lets Cigar out of his stall. In the next paddock is another horse with fertility problems, the harness star Rhiyad.
Cigar and Rhiyad race up and down their paddocks. But first, Ryan said, Cigar seems to taunt Rhiyad, to challenge him. He lets Rhiyad start first, as if he's giving him a head start. But by the time they reach the other end of their paddocks, Ryan said, one horse is always in front. And that horse is Cigar.
Pub Date: 4/07/98