Light the Candles !


Each year at Saratoga there has been a red-hot betting angle. You tried to keep it on the down-low for the first few years, but after a bevy of tickets being cashed everyone was on board. – On Wednesday, July 29, William I. Mott turns 62-years-young. For the fans at Saratoga this has become a winner’s circle watch, and if you like to make a bet or two. This is a golden opportunity to have a score at The Spa. – Wednesday ushers in his big day, and if you look over the entries, you’ll see he has one chance to keep the birthday wish alive.


In the 7th Race, #10 – First Charmer (10-1) and Junior Alvarado enter with a daughter of Smart Strike who has been away from the races for 336 days. She has the look of a sprinter who will break sharply from the gate and be a major pace player. – Mott is winning at a 40% clip in the early stages of the Saratoga meeting, and you can plan on seeing more from his camp as they have targeted this meet. Her last work of 36.1 breezing from the gate is a solid work being the 2/18 at the distance on 7/25/15. – She’s never been a route of ground as the New York-bred’s are travelling one mile on the inner turf. I can’t say she’ll be the lone speed, but one thing is for certain. Bill Mott will ask Junior Alvarado to send from post #10 and see how far she’ll go.


As the son of a veteran, Mott had grown up around horses. He possessed a love for them and a desire to bring out whatever innate abilities each of them had. It was that way with My Assets, a $320 mare who finished in a dead heat to give him his first victory and enough earnings to help him purchase Kosmic Tour for $2,000. Incredibly, Mott won the South Dakota Futurity with Kosmic Tour before he graduated from high school. Mott was an exercise rider and assistant trainer to Jack Van Berg for three years at the foot of the master, and in 1978 he set out to make his mark. Looking back, this has the sound of every great sports story. Bill Mott can look back on his career with an gust of extra strong wind to blow out the 62 candles.


  • Mott will always be best remembered for his training of Cigar, winner of a record-tying 16 consecutive races in 1995-96. The streak included victories in the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic and the inaugural Dubai World Cup, and ended with the Arlington-Citation Challenge. Said Mott of Cigar, “He’s the best horse I’ve ever trained. He may be the best horse anyone has ever trained.”



  • Cigar’s streak ended in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, and he closed his racing career running third in the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Until passed by Curlin in 1998, Cigar retired as the highest money-earner of all-time with purses of $9,999,815. After a public retirement ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York, Cigar was to join the stallion band at Ashford in Versailles, Ky., but due to infertility, is living out his days as a star attraction at the Kentucky Horse Park.


  • Mott has trained six year-end champions: Ajina, the top 3-year-old filly of 1987; Cigar, the top older male and Horse of the Year in 1995 and 1996; Escena, the top older female of 1998; Theatrical, the top turf male of 1987; Paradise Creek, the top turf male of 1994; and Royal Delta the top 3-year-old filly of 2011 and top older female in 2012.



  • In 2010, Mott picked up his first Triple Crown victory with Drosselmeyer’s upset of the Belmont Stakes at odds of (13-1). Mott has had 14 Triple Crown starters: seven in the Kentucky Derby, two in the Preakness and five in the Belmont. – In 1998, at the age of 45, Mott became the youngest trainer ever inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., an honor previously held by Allen Jerkens. – Mott was voted back-to-back Eclipse Awards as top trainer in 1995 and 1996, and was the recipient of the New York Turf Writers Association Outstanding Trainer Award in 1995, 1995 and 2000. Along with Cigar, late owner Allen Paulson and jockey Jerry Bailey, won the Turf Publicists of America Big Sport of Turfdom Award in 1996.



With the many accolades and honors for Mr. Mott, one thing will be on the mind of the Saratoga faithful. Can Bill Mott continue his birthday present to the players by saddling a winner on his birthday ? – We can’t call it by paper alone, and they’ll have to run the race and see where the chips fall. He has a chance, and his efforts this meet have the buzz with the other big outfits. Bill Mott will carry the torch for as long as he wants, and no matter the outcome. Real racing fans will watch the race, or take a look at the results for sure. 62-years and counting, and the man has plenty of magic left in his tank. – From all of your friends at Winning Ponies, Happy Birthday !