HALLANDALE, Fla. - Shortly before 7: 30 a.m. yesterday, Cigar passed his final test before leaving for the Middle East and the $4 million Dubai World Cup on March 27 in the United Arab Emirates.
The Maryland-bred 1995 Horse of the Year worked seven-eighths of a mile in 1 minute, 23 3/5 seconds at Gulfstream Park under jockey Jerry Bailey and prompted the clocker, Bruce Jakubek, to say: "It was one of the five best works I've ever witnessed."
A clocker since 1971, Jakubek compared Cigar's workout to those of Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid. He said it wasn't the time over a fast track that was so impressive, but the ease with which Cigar covered the ground.
"It was like he was out for a walk in the park," Jakubek said.
Apparently fully recovered from an abscess on the bottom of his right front foot, Cigar was to depart on a specially designed DC-8 late last night for the 20-hour barn-to-barn sojourn to Dubai. There, he'll put his 13-race win streak on the line against horses from around the world. The winner's purse is $2.4 million.
Janney horse 2nd in stakes
Yesterday was the closing of Gulfstream Park's 64-day meet, and it commenced at noon with the $50,000 Unbridled Stakes for year-olds. The 1 1/8 -mile race featured two horses with Kentucky Derby aspirations, and one is owned by Maryland's Stuart S. Janney III.
Draw didn't win the Unbridled, but by finishing second, 1 1/4 lengths behind Nick Zito-trained Diligence, he showed enough to impress his owner.
"I think he's a big, rawboned kid," Janney said after the race. "He's going to keep improving. We think he is a come-from-behind horse with a big run at the end. I don't think any horse [in the current 3-year-old crop] has proved he wants to go very far."
The Unbridled was essentially a two-horse race (the exacta paid $4.60), with Diligence, owned by George Steinbrenner and ridden by Bailey, leading all the way and controlling the modest pace. That meant Diligence had energy left at the end to hold off the closing Draw, ridden by Mike Smith.
Approaching the finish line, Draw lurched to the outside. Shug McGaughey, his trainer, said he reacted to the motion of Smith's right-handed whip.
McGaughey rebounded when another Kentucky Derby hopeful, Roar, charged from off the pace to win at even money the $75,000, seven-furlong Swale Stakes.
Pub Date: 3/17/96