Kentucky - Hall of Fame thoroughbred horse racing legend Cigar has died at the age of
24, officials at the Kentucky Horse Park said on Wednesday.
Twice the Horse of the Year winner, Cigar passed away after surgery at Rood
and Riddle Equine Hospital.
"Cigar had been experiencing arthritis-related health issues over the
past six months and was in outstanding physical and mental condition other than
the osteo-arthritis he was suffering from in several of his cervical
vertebrae," said Kathy Hopkins, director of equine operations for the
"Medical therapies had failed to relieve the pressure that the
arthritis was causing on his spine, which had resulted in instability in his
Cigar won 16 races in a row from October of 1994 to July of 1996, including
the first running of the Dubai World Cup in 1996 and the 1995 Breeders' Cup
Owned by Allen Paulson and trained by Bill Mott, Cigar was ridden mainly by
another horse racing Hall of Famer, jockey Jerry Bailey. Cigar was named Horse
of the Year in 1995 and 1996 and voted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.
"The great champion Cigar thrilled racing fans and surely brought new
ones to the sport as he compiled win after win in his incredible streak of
victories," said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.
"An example of racing at its best, he continued to serve as an
ambassador, bringing joy to countless visitors to the Hall of Champions at the
Kentucky Horse Park, where he will be missed."
Cigar began his racing career in 1993 as a three-year-old but did not win
his first major race until capturing the Mile at Aqueduct in November of 1994
- a race now named the Cigar Mile in tribute.
Cigar retired from racing after a third-place run in the 1996 Breeders' Cup
Classic, closing his career with 19 wins from 33 starts and then-record
earnings of $9 999 815.
"Cigar was an incredible horse who left an everlasting mark on the
racing world," said Ted Nicholson, interim executive director of the
Kentucky Horse Park.
Cigar, who was infertile, will be buried on the Memorial Walk of Champions
near fellow thoroughbred legends such as Alysheba, Bold Forbes and John Henry.