#HORSERACING: TWO-TIME HORSE OF THE YEAR “CIGAR” PASSES AT AGE 24
In the ’90s, most Kids hung-out at the Mall or did House Parties on weekends. My single delight every Saturday and Sunday was going to the Races with my Parents. In that era, there was no Star brighter than CIGAR. The two-time Horse of the Year had us Racing Fans at the edge of our seats with a 16-race win streak stretching from October 1994 through July 1996.
Even after the streak ended, CIGAR still was going strong before ending a remarkable Career at Woodbine Racetrack here in Toronto (like Secretariat in 1973) with a game third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He retired just shy of the $10-million mark in earnings (an all-time record) winning everywhere from California to New York to Dubai. Horses like CIGAR literally are one in a million and he not only was America’s Horse. He was the Horse of Racing Fans around the World.
The Maryland-bred Colt owned by Allen Paulson, a prominent Aircraft Developer and Businessman, exceeded any expectations of him beginning his Career with an unsuspecting seventh place finish at Santa Anita Park in California. After switching from grass to the dirt, things took-off rather well for him and what we had was a true Racing Icon – a Hall of Famer – and no doubt one of the greatest of all time.
The Canadian connection certainly was there too. His paternal Great-Grandfather, Oshawa’s Windfields Farm-bred Norther Dancer, to this day is hailed for passing-on the genetic foundation of many of today’s brightest Racing Stars. His maternal Grandfather Seattle Slew also is an American Racing Icon, winning the coveted Triple Crown in 1997.
I never had the honour of seeing the great CIGAR in-person, but admired him deeply from our living room TV Set. He was a Star. Despite not having much luck as a Stallion following his Career on-track – all 37 mares bred to him failed to become pregnant – he lived a peaceful life at the Kentucky Horse Park of Champions, passing away yesterday at the age of 24 following surgery for a neck problem he was experiencing.
Thank you CIGAR, for the memories. Thank you for your Legacy.
Watch CIGAR‘s final race at Woodbine here:
(Photo/video credit: Breeders’ Cup)