William Mott Profile

Name William Mott
Born Jul 29, 1953
Age 67 years
Birthplace Mobridge, South Dakota
Nationality American

William Mott's Cigar is one of the most famous horses of modern times, but his two main charges in 2021, Candy Man Rocket and Nova Rags, did not feature in the Kentucky Derby.

William "Bill" Mott is a Hall of Fame, American Thoroughbred horse trainer.

He is most well-known for training Hall of Fame runner Cigar, but Mott is also a three-time Eclipse Award winner and was the youngest thoroughbred trainer ever inducted into the Hall of Fame at age 45.

Mott has a career record of over 5,000 wins, 4,000 seconds and 3,500 thirds from over 26,000 starts. His total purse earnings sit above $295,000,000.

He has consistently sent runners into some of the sport's greatest races, such as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Breeders' Cup Mile, Breeders' Cup Classic, Breeders' Cup Turf and many more.

Early life

Mott's training career began before he had graduated high school. His first horse, which he both owned and trained, was a $320 mare purchase named My Assets. He first ran the horse in South Dakota at low-level meets, with his first win at a recognized track coming at Park Jefferson.

After earning some money with My Assets, he purchased Kosmic Tour for $2,000. The runner went on to win the South Dakota Futurity at the same Park Jefferson track.

Following his high school graduation, Mott went to work for Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg. He then ventured out as an independent trainer beginning in the fall of 1978, kicking off his long and successful career.

Mott's top horse - Cigar

Much of Mott's career accolades center around his top trainee, the Grade 1-winning Cigar.

According to Mott: "He's the best horse I've ever trained. He may be the best horse anyone has ever trained."

Cigar, a son of Palace Music, tied the record for 16 consecutive race victories in 1995-96. Some of the runner's biggest wins included the 1995 Breeders' Cup Classic and the first-ever Dubai World Cup in 1996, as well as the Arlington Citation Challenge.

The Hall of Fame horse's winning streak came to an end when he finished second in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar. Shortly after, he closed out his career with a third-place run in the 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic.

The trainer was awarded the Eclipse Award as the top trainer in 1995 and 1996.

Cigar held the title as the highest money-earning horse of all-time until 1998, with a total purse earnings of $9,999,815.

The racehorse retired at a public ceremony at Madison Square Garden.

Mott's big career moments

Cigar was just one part of Mott's incredible career. He has trained a number of year-end champions, including names like Ajina, 1997's top three-year-old filly; Escena, 1998's top older female; Theatrical, 1987's top turf male; Paradise Creek, 1994's top turf male; Royal Delta, 2011's top three-year-old filly and top older female in 2012 and 2013; and Close Hatches, 2014's top older female.

One of the trainer's first big achievements came during the 1984 season when he set the record for the number of wins at a single meet (54) at the Churchill Downs track.

Mott received nine training titles at Saratoga Race Course from 1992 through 2007, including the 2007 Saratoga Trainer's Title with 27 victories. It was the first time since 2001 that he had taken that specific accolade. During that same period, he won nine titles at Gulfstream Park and 10 at Belmont Park. On top of all this, he also has five training titles at Keeneland.

The trainer has the most wins among his peers at Churchill Downs too.

Mott's first Triple Crown victory came in 2010 when Drosselmeyer upset the Belmont Stakes field, coming in at 13/1 odds. The runner did it again in 2011 when he gave Mott his first Breeders' Cup Classic victory after coming in at 14/1 odds.

In total, the trainer has been responsible for 14 Triple Crown race starters, with seven running in the Kentucky Derby, two in the Preakness Stakes and five in the Belmont Stakes.

Mott also won his 10th Breeders' Cup race with Tourist in the Breeders' Cup Mile in 2016 after winning the Breeders' Cup Turf in 1987 and 1992, the Breeders' Cup Classic (1995 and 2011), and the Breeders' Cup Distaff (1997, 1998, 2010, 2011 and 2012).

Some of Mott's other top horses include names like Grade 1 winners Royal Delta, Channel Maker, Paradise Creek and Elate.

Channel Maker was the United States' champion male turf horse of 2020. One of the runner's recent big races was a second-place finish in the $1million Neom Turf Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Saudi Arabia on February 20, 2021.

Recent Kentucky Derby successes

Some of Mott's runners have recently played big roles on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. In 2019, two of his trainees earned enough qualifying points to secure a spot in the gate. Those two horses were Tacitus, winner of the Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, and Country House, runner-up finisher in the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford.

The trainer won that year's Kentucky Derby with Country House after Maximum Security was disqualified, and Tacitus finished third. Tacitus also went on to finish second in the Belmont Stakes. He ranked #6 by earnings that year.

Mott also had runners on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, including Candy Man Rocket and Nova Rags, but the pair did not feature in the big race at Churchill Downs.

Candy Man Rocket is a Candy Ride colt owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations. He has a career record of 2-0-0 from five lifetime starts and total earnings above $144,000. The runner's most notable performance was a victory in the 2021 Sam F. Davis Stakes.

Nova Rags is a Union Rags colt owned by Michael Shanley. He is 2-1-0 from five career outings, and his total purse earnings sit above $145,000. The colt finished behind Candy Man Rocket in the Sam F. Davis Stakes and won the Pasco Stakes. He was also the fourth-place finisher in the 2020 Nashua Stakes.