Cigar: The Minstrel and “Rivers of Gold”

At this moment on our planet, we have to be content with memories.  And surely our horses have provided us with a slew of great moments to remember.  How about starting with Cigar, for it was on this date, 27 March 1996, this magnificent grandson of The Minstrel, won the inaugural Dubai World Cup.


The basis for my book “Rivers of Gold” was an article I was asked to write about Canada’s contribution to the gene pool for Thoroughbred Times.  The magazine titled the series Canadian Saga, yet it was inspired by the great US Champion Cigar.

The year was 1996.  Woodbine was hosting the Breeders’ Cup.  Cigar was the headliner.  I was now writing for the Japanese magazine, Gallop, and had fairly camped out in the stable area.

Physically Cigar was perfection.  When an equine conformation expert measured and scanned Cigar’s superstructure the big bay colt was awarded an A+ placing him in the top 3% of all Thoroughbreds.  According to his jockey, Gerry Bailey, it was Cigar’s efficiency of motion that set him apart.  Ordinary horses were always expending much more energy simply to keep up…. to be continued

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