Cigar: A Picture of Greatness: Thoroughbred Retired As Top Money Leader


Twelve years ago, Cigar retired from the track as the top money leader in Thoroughbred racing history with earnings of $9,999,815. He was Jerry Bailey's favorite and best mount in that Hall of Fame jockey's long career.

Jerry Bailey and Cigar

Bailey won a record 14 Breeders' Cup races. He knew a good horse when he rode one. "I love horses," said Bailey (Against The Odds, Riding for My Life, Jerry Bailey with Tom Pedulla, 2005, paperback, page 155).

"They (horses) are magnificent creations, with personalities as entertaining and as complex as human beings," Bailey claims. "Cigar," he said, "is at the top of that very short list" of horses with whom he became "emotionally attached". Getting too close to a good horse is inadvisable, Bailey warns. There is "no consolation when you lose one".

In his autobiography, Bailey and Cigar's trainer, William Mott, relate the story of how switching from turf, for which Cigar had been bred by Palace Music, to dirt changed the horse from mediocrity to super stardom. Bailey inherited the ride on Cigar for the NYRA Mile from fellow rider Mike Smith, who had other commitments that day.

A short time later, Bailey got the regular ride on Cigar. Bailey said Cigar knew how to best expend himself in a race. He would give enough effort to win handily and save energy for the next time out. The horse was "one of the very few exceptions," Bailey says, in the game of horseracing as far as durability was concerned.

Cigar's Dual Honors in 1995 and 1996

Cigar was destined to achieve great things. He ate up Thoroughbred racing in 1995 and in 1996 at the ages of five and six, respectively. Winning 16 consecutive races, Cigar was the only horse to tie that string of wins first accomplished by the immortal Citation, who raced to16 straight victories in the 1940s.

Voted Horse of the Year and Champion Handicap Male in 1995 and in 1996, Cigar won a hoofload of grade I handicaps and stakes, including the Donn and the Massachusetts handicaps both years, as well as the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

He captured the 1-1/4 miles Breeders' Cup ($3 million) in 1995 at Belmont Park in record fashion (1:59-3/5), and the inaugural $4 million Dubai World Cup in 1996 at Nad al Sheba Race Course, United Arab Emirates.

In 1995, he raced 10-0, equaling the single season record of only one other major stakes Thoroughbred to do so — Spectacular Bid (1980).

Cigar Took Up Painting After Retirement

As an encore, a sterile Cigar learned to paint to help earn his keep for his retirement at the Kentucky Horse Park. Two other racers then, Candy Ride and Free House, also did "Moneighs", as their work was tagged. The paintings were sold by ReRun Inc., a non-profit organization based in Millersburg, Kentucky organized to help retired and pensioned Thoroughbreds.

The Moneighs garnered as much as $6,000 apiece.

Cigar created his own painting style, claimed Shon Wylie, (U.S.A. Today newspaper, Michael Hiestand, sports pages, 2003), by holding a brush between his teeth and stroking it on a canvas. (Others commonly used their muzzles, hooves, or tails.)

Hail Cigar — unique racer, original Moneigh-er.