Cigar always seemed to know that he was special, and those who encountered him certainly agreed. He was very playful and liked to be scratched by his handlers. Peppermints were his favorite treat. While he was still racing he would get a peppermint after each of his races. During his 16-consecutive-win season, he refused to take his peppermint after he lost his 17th race.
Foaled April 18, 1990, the Hall of Fame horse and longtime visitor favorite at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions lived 24 wonderful years.
At retirement, Cigar’s career had a total of 19 wins out of 33 starts with earnings of $9,999,815, which was a record at that time. He was voted Champion Older Male and Horse of the Year in both 1995 and in 1996.
“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 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.”
The first horse to tie racing legend Citation’s record of 16 consecutive victories, Cigar had lived at the Kentucky Horse Park since his retirement in 1999. Cigar was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in August 2002, his first year of eligibility.
Like the other Hall of Champions horses who died in retirement at the park, Cigar is buried on the Memorial Walk of Champions near Thoroughbreds Alysheba, Bold Forbes, Forego, John Henry and Kona Gold; Standardbreds Cam Fella and Rambling Willie; American Saddlebreds CH Imperator, CH Skywatch and CH Gypsy Supreme; and American Quarter Horse Sgt. Pepper Feature.
Cigar died October 7, 2014 at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital from complications following surgery for severe osteoarthritis in his neck.