The Greatest Racehorses - Ever

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cigar (USA)
Palace Music (USA) - Solar Slew (USA)
Foaled 18/04/1990 Bay Stallion
Runs: 33 Wins: 19 Places: 9 Earned: $9,999,815
Form: 014312230 - 437311 - 1111111111 - 11111223

Horse of The Year 1995 & 1996

Grade (Group) 1 Wins

Dubai World Cup
Breeders Cup Classic
Woodward Stakes (twice)
Jockey Club Gold Cup
Oaklawn H'cap
Pimlico Special
Donn H'cap (twice)
Gulfstream Park H'cap
NYRA Mile (now the Cigar Mile)
Hollywood Gold Cup
Citation Challenge
Del Mar Pacific Classic

Cigar relaxing in his stall. I don't know much about horses but he sure looks handsome.

Mediocre At Best

Despite the brilliance he would go on to show, Cigar did not race as a 2yo nor did he make a successful race debut in early 1993 over 6f on dirt. His trainer tried racing him on grass but he never took to the surface. At the beginning of his 4 year old season (1994) he was shipped to the East Coast where his new trainer Bill Mott gave him a break from racing until July that year where after a few more disappointing runs on grass it was decided to give Cigar one last shot on the dirt. Thank God they did, for the rest as they say is history.


In his 1995 season he became the best horse in North America by winning all of his 10 starts, culminating in the Breeders Cup Classic (watch & learn Coolmore, this is how you win a Classic) at Belmont Park, which was not without controversy as I shall endeavour to explain. The day dawned treatening serious rain & ferocious winds which would make track conditions unsuitable for Cigar.

As with more phenominal horses there are whisperings and rumours that the horse must be recieving outside help, for example be on steriods. For Cigar it was illegal footware, courtesy of trainer Bobby Frankel. Yes the great horse was accused of having shoes that would grip the muddy surface while all his rivals slipped around on their smooth shoes.

Co-ed TJ:- The shoes you refer to are called 'turn downs' which have a small lip of metal bended backover at the tip of the shoe, in effect creating a stud which will get deep into the surface & grip the firmer ground beneath the loose dirt or turf on top. They are illegal because they jar up horses legs something rotten as well as providing an unfair advantage.

Would never have known that. Thank you. I see you are an expert in horses shoes as well as womens! ;D

Cigar & Jerry Bailey after winning the 1995 Breeders Cup

Cigar was submitted to an inspection at the start while the other runners circled around him. He passed. Now it was time to get down to business.

Cigar got a good break from the gates and quickly raced into a handy 7th position into the backstretch. Halfway down the backstretch he had pulled himself into 3rd place, Jerry Bailey his jockey working hard to contain his mounts power, unsure if he'd find anything on the muddy track. A half mile from home racing 4 horses wide Jerry let Cigar have his head. He needn't have worried about the state of the track as from here on in Cigar quickened well till he'd left his rivals toiling in his wake. He won by an emphatic 5 1/2 lengths & broke the track record.

Co-ed Jez:- That was the first time I'd heard of Cigar & wished I'd gotten to know him sooner. He was a great horse. Good choice Jen :D

In an interview after the race Frankel said of his horse, Tinners Way, "He had no shot. He's got size 8 feet, just sliding around out there. You don't think I would have liked to use turndowns?" A bad case of sour grapes methinks.

Making History

As a 6yo Cigar travelled over 6000 miles to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for the inaugural running of the Dubai World Cup. He won by hald a length from Soul of the Matter, a victory made all the more inpressive as he'd missed 11 days of training due to a bruised foot, was racing on a strange surface, had travelled across 8 time zones and was racing at night on a floodlit track for the first time. (below Cigar in full flow - I know its not a pic of the Dubai World Cup but I din't like those pics & I think this one catches his brilliance better: held on a tight rein & winning easily)

Cigar went on to equal Citation's record of 16 consecutive wins but sadly couldn't better it. He retired to a hero's welcome in 1996 after suffering defeats in his final three starts in a way only American's can do. I can't imagine any English horse having a parade held in their honour. On February 1997 a lifesize bronze statie of Cigar was unveiledin Champions Garden, Gulfstream Park, Florida. He even has a race named after him - the Cigar Mile run at Aqueduct in November. (below the immortal Cigar at Gulfstream Park)

Where Are They Now?

This bit will make TJ's day. Coolmore bought Cigar for $25 million in 1996... the punchline being Cigar proved infertile & sadly has no progeny whatsoever. He now lives at Kentucky Horse Park's Hall of Champions in Lexington.

Co-ed TJ:- Hehehe. You're right that made my day - scratch that. Make it my life. Even Cigar thinks its funny! (below)

Proof that sometimes the best horse in the world is a dud, not a stud.



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