Cigar appeared to be a horse bred to excel on the turf. As it turned out he was bred for excellence – on the main track. In 1995 he achieved perfection with his season’s final win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Being a son of turf sire Palace Music his connections ran him on grass in 11 of his first 14 starts in 1994. Trainer Bill Mott changed tactics the following season and his decision brought us the 1995 Horse of the Year.
Running exclusively on dirt at six different tracks on both coasts he came into the Classic undefeated with nine impressive victories. He had never won on a muddy track and had to break from post 10 in an 11 horse field. Jockey Jerry Bailey restrained him as long as he could and with a dramatic rush they took the lead and were never challenged. The Hall of Fame jockey said, “He’s the greatest I’ve been around.”
But there was further greatness ahead for Cigar in 1996, when he won the first ever Dubai World Cup and extended an improbable winning streak that would last through 16 races before he was defeated in the Pacific Classic. Cigar failed in his bid to become the first back-to-back Classic winner, when he finished third in the 1996 edition at Woodbine. Weeks later, Cigar made an appearance in honor of his retirement at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden.