Had the injured Cigar been able to run in Saturday's $1-million Santa Anita Handicap, he would have carried 129 pounds, a weight assignment that would have irritated many of the horsemen running against him.
As it is, Helmsman, winner of the San Fernando and Strub Stakes this season, will be the starting high weight with 121 pounds.
When weights were announced by the Santa Anita racing department Sunday, Cigar was weighted even though a hoof injury has knocked him out of the race.
Many horsemen had expected Cigar to receive 130 or 131 pounds, although a Big 'Cap starter hadn't carried that much since John Henry, with 130 pounds, won the race on a disqualification in 1982.
Cigar, the 1995 horse of the year, carried 128 pounds in his first start this year, a powerful two-length victory in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park. Cigar was also eligible for Saturday's $500,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap, and Bob Umphrey, racing secretary at Gulfstream, weighted him at 131 pounds.
Jenine Sahadi, who plans to run Just Java in the Big 'Cap, was among the trainers who thought Cigar deserved at least 130 pounds, but she was skeptical that he'd be assigned that much. Sahadi even offered friendly $5 bets against Cigar receiving 130 pounds.
"He ought to get 130 pounds, but I know this racing department too well," Sahadi said.
After Helmsman, the other weights for Santa Anita Handicap candidates are: Alphabet Soup 120; Afternoon Deelites 119; Dare and Go 118; Urgent Request 117; Mr Purple and Score Quick, 115 apiece; Serena's Song, Luthier Fever and The Key Rainbow, all 114; Cezind 112, and Just Java 111.
Trainer Wayne Lukas is expected to decide today whether to run Serena's Song.