Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kentucky Horse Park to Honor Thoroughbred Champion Cigar



Lisa Jackson



Public Memorial Service to be Held at Hall of Champions


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2014) - A public memorial service for Thoroughbred champion Cigar will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, at 2 p.m. The service will be held at the park's Hall of Champions near Cigar's gravesite and the paddock he occupied for most of the 15 years he lived at the park.

Cigar died Oct. 7 at age 24 due to complications following surgery for severe osteoarthritis in his neck.

Kentucky's First Lady Jane Beshear will pay tribute to the Hall of Fame horse and longtime visitor favorite at the Hall of Champions. Fans are welcome to bid a final farewell to the horse known as the "Incomparable, Invincible, Unbeatable Cigar." 

The public is invited to attend the memorial service, which is included with park admission.  Guests arriving only for the memorial service after 1:30 p.m. will not be charged admission.

Videos of Cigar's races and related news stories will play in the Hall of Champions throughout the day, and a memorial guestbook will be available for fans to sign and leave comments. 

Guests who post photos and farewell wishes to Cigar on Twitter or Tumblr with #CigarKHP, or comment on the park's Facebook or Google+ posts to Cigar on Friday, Nov. 14 will be included on Cigar's memorial page on the Kentucky Horse Park website at  

The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation is leading efforts to raise funds to commission a bronze statue memorializing Cigar, with plans to unveil the statue during the week before the Breeders' Cup 2015, when the races will be in Lexington.  The Kentucky Horse Park and Cigar's connections will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his 1995 Breeders' Cup Classic win at Belmont Park, ending a perfect season for the champion.

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 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 was 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.

For more information about the memorial service for Cigar, contact the Kentucky Horse Park at 859-233-4303 or 800-678-8813 or or visit

From Nov. 3 to March 11, the park is open Wednesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Winter admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 7-12. Children 6 and under are always admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult. Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate; and the "Showplace for Saddlebreds" - The American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop.

Editor's Note: Media and guests are asked to park in the main parking lot and enter through the park's Visitor Center. Broadcast vehicles may park behind the Hall of Champions (along Nina Bonnie Boulevard).  


The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man's relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and hosted more than 800,000 visitors and campers, as well as 18,400 competition horses in more than 200 special events and horse shows in 2013. The park is home to the National Horse Center, which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations.  Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is THE place to get close to horses. Information about the park's programs and activities can be found on-line at, and on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.