Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cigar 1990-2014

I didn't even know about the death on October 7th of perhaps the best racehorse of the 1990s. Cigar, 24, died. He won something like 16 consecutive graded races, tying but not breaking Citation's record. He tried mighty hard, though.

Owned by Allen and Madeleine Paulson, he was named after an aviation checkpoint.

Cigar died after suffering from osteoarthritis in his neck.


“The Kentucky Horse Park was committed to providing him with the highest level of care possible,” said Hopkins. “We are heartbroken to lose this great horse, especially as we were trying to do everything we could to improve his quality of life and make him more sound and comfortable. Our park family is immensely grateful to Dr. Reed and the outstanding medical teams at Rood and Riddle and Hagyard Equine for their ultimate dedication to and concern for this unmatched champion.”

“Cigar developed a compression of his spinal cord in the lower part of his neck,” said Dr. Reed. “The most severe compression was between cervical vertebra 6 and 7, with additional compression between cervical vertebra 5 and 6. This was an acquired problem related to arthritis, and bony remodeling in the neck. The severity of this spinal cord compression became so problematic that all parties were left with few options, the best one being surgery. This was a significant surgery involving a prolonged recovery. Unfortunately, during recovery Cigar suffered a vertebral fracture and passed away.”

Following retirement after winning 19 out of 33 races, Cigar was sent to stud duty, but he was not successful there.

His owners decided to send him to Kentucky Horse Park, where he remained a major tourist attraction for many years.

Cigar was buried at the cemetery at the horse park. Many racing greats are buried there including Alysheba, John Henry, Forego, Bold Forbes, and Kona Gold.

One of his best races, the 1995 Breeders' Cup Classic:

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