Owners ready to send Cigar to Ky. Horse Park

Treatments haven't helped with horse's infertility

April 26, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Italian insurance company that owns Cigar has finally decided to send the Maryland-bred champion to the Kentucky Horse Park.

Madeleine Paulson, whose husband, Allen, campaigned Cigar, said yesterday that she had received a letter from the company stating its intention to move Cigar to the public park in Lexington. Paulson was on the backstretch at Churchill Downs visiting her horse K One King, who will run Saturday in the Kentucky Derby.

No one at the horse park or with the insurance company, Assicurazioni Generali, could be reached yesterday to comment. John Nicholson, executive director of the park, and Peter Trend, bloodstock underwriter for Generali, told The Sun in November that they believed Cigar would probably end up at the park, home to John Henry and 200 other horses.

After retiring in late 1996, the two-time Horse of the Year failed to impregnate any mares during a brief stint as a stallion. Since May 1997 he has resided near Lexington at Watercress Farm, owned by Phil McCarthy, an equine reproductive specialist. McCarthy was unable to reverse Cigar's infertility.

The Paulsons had asked Generali to let Cigar live at least part of the year at their Brookside Farm in Kentucky. They said they would allow the public in to see him. But Generali opted for the horse park, which welcomes visitors.

"I always thought he should go home," Madeleine Paulson said. "He was raised at our farm."

Cigar spent the first months of his life at Country Life Farm near Bel Air, where he was born April 18, 1990.

Decisions due for Baffert

After the filly Excellent Meeting breezed five furlongs yesterday in a rapid 59 1/5 seconds, her trainer Bob Baffert said he still hasn't decided whether to run her Friday in the Kentucky Oaks for fillies or Saturday in the Derby.

"I was hoping she wouldn't work that good," he said, joking. "It makes it tough. But right now they're both in the Oaks."

His other 3-year-old filly, Silverbulletday, will compete in the Oaks, Baffert said. He didn't seem so sure about Excellent Meeting, who finished second to Silverbulletday in last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies but has more potential at 1 1/4 miles, the Derby distance. The Oaks is 1 1/8 miles.

Baffert already has General Challenge and Prime Timber for the Derby.

Wondertross on hold

Nick Zito, who trains Derby entrants Stephen Got Even and Adonis, said Wondertross has returned to training at Keeneland. Wondertross suffered a bout of colic after finishing sixth in the Blue Grass Stakes.

John J. Tammaro III trained Wondertross last year at Laurel Park. The colt's owner, George Steinbrenner, sold controlling interest to William Condren, who transferred the horse to Zito.

Zito said the Preakness is "obviously a long shot" for Wondertross. He said he will fight with the owners if necessary to make sure the colt doesn't race until he's completely healthy. He'll remain for the time being in the serene surroundings of Keeneland, Zito said.

Et cetera

A decision on Valhol's Derby status could be forthcoming today. Answer Lively displaced his soft palate finishing fifth in the Arkansas Derby. Despite winning the Eclipse Award as outstanding 2-year-old male, he could be part of the Derby mutuel field. Certain had a fever last week. His trainer will decide whether to enter him in the Derby based on today's scheduled six-furlong breeze. Menifee breezed five furlongs in 1 minute flat. Trainer Elliott Walden pronounced the workout "super."

Pub Date: 4/26/99

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