Rivers of Gold: excerpts – part 6: Cigar, superstar

(where my other books had a specific focus: E.P. Taylor was about the man and his horses; Northern Dancer chronicles our great Canadian champion;  Dark Horse: tackles the mystery behind the great stallion, Nearctic; Horse and Tiger stars the magnificent Nijinsky and the colossal impact he wielded on the world around him. Especially Ireland.  Rivers of Gold, however, is about many, many horses.  They led.  I followed.  Cigar is a perfect case in point.  He also was an inspiration for me to set aside several years of my life to follow these rivers back to their sources.  Because of Cigar I started to become fascinated with the challenge of horse breeders: what is the magic alchemy that creates a champion?  Especially one as truly extraordinary as Cigar.)

Rivers of Gold

Cigar’s final race was the Breeders’ Cup at Canada’s Woodbine racetrack.  It was the first time (and likely last) Woodbine would host the event.

With so many great champions from around the globe here in our backyard, the atmosphere was electric.  But no horse generated excitement like Cigar.  His celebrity status kicked into overdrive after winning in Dubai.

From thereon in, every time Cigar entered a race his fans grew exponentially.  He was a super-star.  Wherever he went there was a palatable buzz created, for the most part, by the humming and whirling and clicking of cameras.  I was among the paparazzi.

My intention was to focus on Cigar and how he was stabled within yards of his great-grandfather, Northern Dancer, began training.  At the time I had no idea that Cigar was born of the convergence of Canada’s Thoroughbred genetic streams, our Rivers of Gold.


Cigar: superstar

…to be continued


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