RARELY RATTLED IN SADDLE.Byline: MICHAEL VENTRE
Cigar won't be running in Sunday's Hollywood Gold Cup The Hollywood Gold Cup is a Grade I stakes race for thoroughbred horses inaugurated in 1938 at Hollywood Park Racetrack in Inglewood, California. It was run as a handicap race until 1997 when it was switched to weight-for-age conditions. . The horse isn't chicken, says the man who would know.
``If any horse never ducked anybody,'' said jockey Jerry Bailey, ``then Cigar's the horse.''
The debate rages, or at least simmers, as to the severity of Cigar's bruised right front hoof hoof, horny epidermal casing at the end of the digits of an ungulate (hoofed) mammal. In the even-toed ungulates, such as swine, deer, and cattle, the hoof is cloven; in the odd-toed ungulates, such as the horse and the rhinoceros, it is solid. and the absence of racing's superstar for the marquee event on the Hollywood Park Hollywood Park may be several places:
see nag. everyone wants to see won't be leaving his stall.
In his place is Jerry and Geri. Bailey will be riding another in owner Allen Paulson's star-studded stable. Without Cigar and without another injured entrant, Soul of the Matter, Geri could be the favorite in the shortened field for the $1 million race.
``Both horses have different styles,'' Bailey said Thursday by phone from New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , where he spends most of his saddle time. ``Geri basically is a come-from-behind horse with a very quick turn of foot. Cigar is a speed horse.''
It really doesn't matter. When an equine nostril nostril /nos·tril/ (nos´tril) either of the nares.
either of the two apertures (nares) of the nose that lead into the nasal cavity. crosses the finish line, Bailey is usually handling the reins. He is to the jockey colony what Jack Nicklaus Noun 1. Jack Nicklaus - United States golfer considered by many to be the greatest golfer of all time (born in 1940)
Jack William Nicklaus, Nicklaus was to golf. Bailey possesses the cool under fire and the steely focus to win major events.
``I try to treat the big races just the same as the everyday ones and not get caught up in the money,'' he said. ``No matter what sport you're talking about, success and failure have to do with the mental approach you take.
``Why was Reggie Jackson
The 38-year-old Bailey has won two Kentucky Derbys, the most recent being this year board Grindstone grindstone
or grind common metaphor for industriousness. [Pop. Culture: Misc.]
See : Industriousness . He also has captured two Gold Cups and four Breeders' Cup Classics. Last year he was inducted into racing's Hall of Fame.
It is said that some are born great, some make themselves great, and others have greatness thrust upon them. You'd have a hard time classifying Bailey. There's too much overlap.
Raised in El Paso El Paso (ĕl pă`sō), city (1990 pop. 515,342), seat of El Paso co., extreme W Tex., on the Rio Grande opposite Juárez, Mex.; inc. 1873. , Texas, the son of a dentist, he began his racing career in earnest at Sunland Park in New Mexico. At about the time it was obvious he had a natural knack and hunger for the sport, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was wild about Jerry's budding racing career, but implored him to attend college so he would have something to fall back on.
``My mom and dad both wanted me to be whatever I wanted to be,'' he said, ``but they wanted me to get an education.''
That was in 1975. Bailey had already been riding for seven months when his mother passed away. He finished one year at Texas-El Paso, taking some accounting courses, but didn't go back.
``I put my career on hold,'' he said, ``but found I wasn't as interested in (college) as I was in my racing career.''
Slowly, Bailey worked his way around the country. He stayed primarily in the Midwest and Southwest in the mid-to-late '70s, then entered a rotation of riding in New York, New Jersey and Chicago in the summer months and Florida in the winter. Eventually, he became a fixture in and around the New York-area tracks.
His breakthrough came in 1991, when he won the Preakness and the Belmont aboard Hansel han·sel
n. & v.
Variant of handsel. , and the Breeders Cup Classic riding Black Tie Affair. After that, the phone began to ring regularly.
``I speak from experience,'' he said, laughing. ``When that happens, you become the one that bumps other guys off their mounts, instead of vice versa VICE VERSA. On the contrary; on opposite sides. . That's the nature of this business. Owners and trainers want the hottest hands available.''
All you have to do is glance at Cigar's past-performance sheet to understand that Bailey is accustomed to the heat. Cigar has not been beaten since Oct. 7, 1994, with Julie Krone aboard. Since Bailey took over on Nov. 26, 1994, Cigar has been primo.
Now Bailey will hope his mastery continues on stablemate Noun 1. stablemate - a horse stabled with another or one of several horses owned by the same person
Equus caballus, horse - solid-hoofed herbivorous quadruped domesticated since prehistoric times Geri, a 4-year-old who had won six straight before finishing a disappointing third in the Pimlico Special on a muddy track last month.
``I enjoy riding both horses,'' Bailey said.
The pressure may be off with Cigar out, but nothing changes for Jerry Bailey. If it's Geri or Cigar or Mr. Ed, there is an urgency and a magnitude to the task, which he is remarkably adept at acknowledging beforehand and then ignoring completely on race day.
``Oh sure,'' he said. ``There's pressure.'' Then he went on to another subject, as if it were just another mount and another big race.
MEMO: Michael Ventre's column appears in the Daily News four days a week.
Photo: (Color) Jerry Bailey, a premier jockey, will be ridi ng Geri, not Cigar, in the Hollywood Gold Cup.