|CIGAR - 1995-96 Horse of the Year|
(source: Wikimedia http://tinyurl.com/kaozctv)
What would another $187 get you? If it was the 1990s and you were Allen E. Paulson, owner of the superhorse named Cigar, you would be the owner of a horse that won $10 million. Instead Cigar retired with having locked in lifetime purses worth $9,999,813, which still stands as the top earnings for a Thoroughbred.
You may not know that I love horse racing but you have probably gathered that I love cigars. So, it came as some slight disappointment to learn that this magnificent horse was not named after the object of my true favorite pastime. Instead, this horse, which had blood of 1977 Triple Crown winning grandfather Seattle Slew coursing through his veins, was named after the aeronautical navigation fix “CIGAR”. This nav fix happens to be out in the Gulf of Mexico about 147 miles West Southwest of Ybor City.
Paulson named many of his horses after these five letter waypoints and for good reason as he owned Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, which is still the manufacturer of perhaps the finest business jets in the world. While Cigar had a bit of a slow start in his career, when he began to come into his own under the exceptional guidance of Bill Mott he hit his stride and never had to look back.
While Paulson didn’t directly name his horse after the highest form of the art of tobacco, that waypoint was named as a nod to Ybor City and that horse was named for that waypoint. In the end Cigar can truly be our favorite horse, or at least one of them. Great cigars and horse racing is a pair beyond compare. The Sport of Kings lends itself perfectly to the enjoyment of a great cigar. I frequently smoke a toast to both.