Trainer Profile : William I. “Bill” Mott

Bill Mott

Bill Mott will forever be known as the conditioner and horse trainer of one of the most successful thoroughbred racehorses of all time, the legendary Cigar. Because of his numerous accomplishments in the sport, Bill Mott became the youngest trainer ever inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in 1998 at the age of 45. Known as a turf specialist, Mott is widely regarded as exceptional at preparing horses to compete on grass surfaces.


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Mott was born and raised in South Dakota and began training thoroughbreds at the tender age of 15. Before he even graduated from high school the young trainer made racing headlines by capturing the South Dakota Futurity with a horse named Kosmic Tour. In order to elevate himself beyond the small South Dakota circuit, Mott learned to become an exercise rider and galloped racehorses. He worked his way up until he became an assistant trainer for horseracing legend Jack Van Berg. As an assistant for Van Berg, Mott helped the stable notch numerous wins on the Chicago circuit, and contributed to Van Berg amassing the most wins of any trainer in the nation in 1976. It was obvious that Bill Mott was destined to operate his own racing stable.

In 1994, Bill Mott was introduced to the horse that would change his racing fortunes forever and write him into the history books. After an unspectacular debut year, Cigar was sent to Bill Mott in his second year of racing. Mott promptly gave the horse six months off and when he returned to action the expectations were not generally high. His first results under Mott on the turf were disappointing. Mott decided to give Cigar one more chance to redeem himself on the dirt at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York. The horse won with ease and began the campaign that would cement Mott’s legacy.

The following year, in 1995, Cigar won all ten races in which he competed, making him the most successful horse in North America. With expert Jockey Jerry Bailey in the irons, Cigar capped his record-setting year with a win in the Breeder’s Cup Classic. His accomplishments notched him Eclipse Awards for Older Male Horse and Horse of the Year. The success continued in 1996 for Mott and Cigar with the horse traveling over 6,000 miles to win the first-ever running of the Dubai World Cup. By the time all of the dust had cleared, Mott had put together 16 wins in a row for Cigar, matching the record of the legendary Citation.

Bill Mott has won the training title at Saratoga Racecourse an amazing nine times. He has also won the training title at Belmont Park ten times and at Gulfstream Park nine times. These racetracks are among the most competitive tracks in the nation. As of this writing, Mott’s career wins stand at 3,780 and that number continues to grow with each racing season.

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