In eight months, Cigar has gone from anonymity to dominance in thoroughbred racing.
Cigar scored his ninth straight victory Sunday - and perhaps his most impressive - by winning the $1 million Hollywood Gold Cup by a commanding 3 1/2 lengths at Hollywood Park.
This from a horse that won just two races in 13 lifetime starts following a third-place finish at Belmont Park last Oct. 7.
In his nine straight wins, Cigar has never won by less than two lengths. He has become the overwhelming favorite for Horse of the Year honors.
Cigar ran fourth much of the way Sunday before making his move late in the backstretch. He took the lead on the final turn and pulled away in the stretch.
Ridden by Jerry Bailey and carrying high weight of 126 pounds, Cigar covered 1 1/4 miles in 1:59 2/5. The 9-10 favorite paid $3.80, $3.20 and $2.60.
Tinners Way crossed the finish line a head in front of Tossofthecoin, a 23-1 longshot. Best Pal, the 1993 Gold Cup winner, and second choice Concern ran sixth and seventh.
Cigar has won all seven of his starts this year and, thanks to the Gold Cup winner’s share of $550,000, has career earnings of $2,509,800.
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