Aqueduct will run the Cigar Mile on Saturday and the race is the last Grade 1 in New York for 2009. The field is expected to be the best post-Breeders' Cup field until the calendar changes to 2010. Of course, the horse the race is named after had maybe his greatest moment over a New York track.
The 1995 Breeders' Cup Classic was part of an undefeated season for the Allen Paulson-owned Cigar. Cigar would make a memorable move on the turn to surge to the lead and that, of course, led to the immortal call by Tom Durkin as he finished, which you can hear here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydT4SRxZT1Y. Cigar's final time for the Classic was 1:59.58, which was a Stakes record. The win in Breeders' Cup Classic would make Cigar 10 for 10 in 1995. Cigar would go on to extend the streak to 16 in a row and match Citation's all-time record for consecutive victories. Cigar's own streak would end in the 1996 Pacific Classic, when he lost to longshot Dare And Go. Amazingly enough, Cigar would lose twice more before he retired at the end of 1996. He finished behind Skip Away in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont and third behind Alphabet Soup and Louis Quatorze in the 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic at Woodbine.
One personal note from that 1995 Breeders' Cup Classic. I remember arriving at Turf Paradise and settling into my table in the clubhouse and remarking to my friend, Sarge, that the best bet of the day was Cigar over ALL in the exacta in the Classic. Of course, as the day progressed and I didn't bet Desert Stormer to win (whom I loved that day) and had several other stupid misses and ridiculous mistakes, I never did make the Cigar over ALL exacta bet in the Classic. The Cigar- L'Carriere (who was 51-1) exacta paid $85, which was simply astounding given that Cigar was such an overwhelming favorite.
There will be no post tomorrow with the Thanksgiving holiday, but we return on Friday with a look at the Grade 1 Cigar Mile this weekend. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving! For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!
Photo courtesy of kyhorsepark.com