USA Thorougbred Champion Cigar Dies In Surgery for Arthritis

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Cigar.
Cigar.

LEXINGTON, Kentucky. Oct. 8, 2014–Cigar, the American Thoroughbred who won 19 of the 33 races he started to earn $10 million that was a record at the time, died Tuesday night during surgery for severe arthritis in his neck. The Hall of Fame horse was 24 years old.

Cigar, U.S. Horse of the Year in 1995 and 1886, was a favorite attraction for hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world to the Kentucky Horse Park where he was retired in 1999.

“Cigar had been experiencing arthritis-related health issues over the past six months and was in outstanding physical and mental condition other than the osteoarthritis he was suffering from in several of his cervical vertebrae,” said Kathy Hopkins, the horse park’s director of equine operations. “Medical therapies had failed to relieve the pressure that the arthritis was causing on his spine, which had resulted in instability in his hind legs.”

Cigar will be 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.