Tag Archives: horse racing

Breeders’ Cup Wagering Available during National Horse Show

Attend the Nation’s Top Horse Show While Betting on the Nation’s Top Thoroughbred Racing

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2014) – Off-site wagering for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup races will be available at the National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena on Friday, Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 1, 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Both walk-up and drive-thru wagering will be available in the parking lot adjacent to the arena, and signs will be posted directing guests along the way. Park admission is not required and parking will be free.

Guests are invited to stay and enjoy the National Horse Show, America’s oldest indoor horse show, both Friday and Saturday, which is taking place at the park Oct. 28 to Nov. 2. Admission to the show is free both days that Breeders’ Cup wagering is offered until 6 p.m., then is $8 in advance/$10 at the door on Friday night and $16 in advance/$20 at the door on Saturday night after 6 p.m. Children 12 and under are free.

Founded in 1883 at the original Madison Square Garden, the National Horse Show is firmly established as a major fixture on the national and international sports and social event calendars, and has been held at the Kentucky Horse Park since 2011. Show jumping elite from around the globe will be competing at the event for numerous prestigious titles, including the ASPCA/NHSAA Alfred B. Maclay National Championship, and more than $750,000 in cash prizes, the biggest prize money on the United States indoor tour.

For more information about the National Horse Show, or ticket information for Thursday or Sunday, call 859-608-3709 or visit www.NHS.org. Media inquiries for the National Horse Show should be directed to 561-753-3389. For information on the Kentucky Horse Park, call 859-259-4200 or visit www.KyHorsePark.com.

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 on-line at www.KyHorsePark.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

Lisa Jackson
Kentucky Horse Park

It Is with Great Sadness We Say Farewell to a Friend

Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to a special part of our family. World champion and legendary racehorse, Cigar, had his final ride to the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. His impressive career included two-time Horse of the Year, a 16 race winning streak, and being inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame.

Besides all of his wins, it was the relationship that we had with Cigar that enriched our lives. He was so full of character, extremely intelligent, and had command presence. He loved being in the limelight and loved what he did. He truly loved to race. My late husband, Allen Paulson, and I had the ride of a lifetime with Cigar.

He lived the last several years in retirement at the Kentucky Horse Park where his adoring fans could meet him in person. We thank everyone who have watched him race and have sent your condolences and stories to us. We are sad to lose our friend, but we couldn’t be more proud of the 24 years we had with him. A big thank you to Steve Haskin for the beautiful tribute that he wrote. Ride on into the sunset, Cigar!

Madeleine Pickens


Haskin: Farewell to Cigar

By: Steve Haskin
October 8, 2014

Racing lost one its all-time greats with the passing of Cigar. As a tribute, I am reprinting some of my most memorable experiences with this magnificent horse.

Garden Party

During a Blood-Horse online chat about five years ago, someone asked me what was my most special moment in racing? Well, needless to say, there are dozens to choose from. But one that ranks right up there at the top did not even occur at a racetrack — or a training center or a breeding farm. It occurred at, of all places, Madison Square Garden.

Shortly after Cigar’s retirement, Madeleine Paulson announced that Cigar would be honored and paraded at the National Horse Show at the Garden on Nov. 2, 1996. She had a close association with the Equestrian world and wanted to show Cigar off to her “horsey” friends and to a whole new audience.

No one knew how they were going to react, not being followers of Thoroughbred racing. But they were horse lovers first and foremost. Mott was not exactly enamored with the idea of vanning Cigar into the heart of Manhattan, and for good reason. It surely had never been done before and the thought of bringing a champion racehorse into this strange environment with masses of people, taxi cabs, and blaring horns seemed absurd. Most everyone else was skeptical to say the least. But Madeleine was determined to pull it off and actually arranged for Cigar to have a police escort and for Seventh Avenue to be closed to traffic for approximately 20 blocks.

Madison Square Garden went all out to pull this off. They invited comedian Bill Cosby, members of the New York Rangers and Knicks, and brought in the Knicks’ cheerleaders and the Budweiser Clydesdales to lead Cigar’s van through the streets of the city to the Garden.

Cigar traveled from Belmont Park to Manhattan in a full-sized van, with a huge color mural on both sides depicting the horse in action. Next to the mural in large blue print with white stars was the name “Cigar.” Above it against a red background were the words “Champion and Horse of the Year,” and below it, “America’s Racehorse.”

The van met up with the Knicks cheerleaders, the Clydesdales, and other participants on a quiet side street several blocks from the Garden. There, the proceedings were organized by MSG officials. Lining the street were a number of fans, several holding posters and banners. One of the posters read: “To the Great Cigar. Thanks for the Memories.” Outside the Garden, groups of school children gathered, waiting to get a glimpse of the great Cigar.

Inside the arena, more than 16,000 people awaited Cigar’s entrance prior to the Horse Show, having no idea what to expect.

By now, Seventh Avenue was closed, and it was an eerie sight looking down one of New York City’s busiest avenues and seeing nothing, not a single car in both directions. When everyone was organized the Cigar parade commenced. With bagpipers, the Knicks cheerleaders, the New York City Mounted Police Corps, and the Clydesdales leading the way, the procession turned down Seventh Avenue to the quizzical looks of passersby, who gawked at the huge, ornately decorated horse van and its odd entourage.

At the Garden, Jerry Bailey posed for photos with the children. Finally, the van arrived and Bailey, decked out in Allen Paulson’s silks, hopped aboard and gave Cigar several reassuring pats on the neck. Looking east on 33rd Street, it was quite a sight seeing the van with the Empire State Building as a backdrop. Cigar peered out at the strange surroundings and then was led into the bowels of America’s most famous arena by Mott and assistant trainer Tim Jones.

At 2 p.m., Bill Cosby came riding in on a horse. After dismounting, he held a microphone directly in front of ringmaster Barry Kiger’s coach horn. As a musical crescendo filled the Garden, the crowd erupted in applause in anticipation of Cigar’s entrance.

When Cigar made his appearance, with Bailey aboard, everyone rose and saluted the champion. Bailey then rose slightly in the saddle, and Cigar, as if on cue, broke into a graceful canter worthy of any champion show horse. The crowd went wild. With Cigar striding majestically around the arena as if part of the Horse Show, the public address announcer bellowed: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is Cigar!”

Bailey then brought Cigar to the middle of the arena, where he was draped in a blanket of red, white, and blue flowers and then presented with baskets of carrots and apples by members of the Rangers and Knicks, including Hall of Fame Ranger Rod Gilbert. After the speeches, Bailey dismounted and Cigar was led around the arena by Mott, as a flurry of flashbulbs popped all around the Garden.

Mott turned the horse over to Jones, who continued to lead him around. Then the lights in the arena went dark, and a single spotlight shone down on Cigar. When a solitary trumpet began playing “Auld Lang Syne,” I have to admit I lost it. Soon after, the entire band joined in, adding to the emotional impact and ending the proceedings with a flourish. Standing on the floor of the arena in the dark, I tried to wipe away the tears before the lights came back on. When they did, I turned around, and almost everyone in the seats was wiping their eyes. That was the single most emotional moment I’ve ever experienced in racing, perhaps in part because Cigar, those closest to him, and myself, were so far removed from the world of racing that the moment transcended the sport and seemed surreal.

Afterward, Jones said, “It was all I could do not to break down. The whole experience brought me to tears. I really believe he knew what was going on and he put on quite a show for everyone. When they played that song it was a joyous moment. But it was also very sad because I knew this was really the end.”

A night in Dubai

It was Jones who had accompanied Cigar to Dubai and supervised his early training for the inaugural Dubai World Cup. I was there providing lead coverage of the event for the Daily Racing Form. The Maktoums put on a show that was unlike anything ever seen before, from the outrageous party in the desert to the raucous rock concert to the dazzling pre-race festivities. On race night, a salmon pink and golden sunset, combined with the floodlights from Nad al Sheba, illuminated the ornate mosques off in the distance, making them sparkle in the twilight. To a Westerner, it was a scene right out of Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

What no one realized was that shortly before the World Cup, word spread quickly throughout the media tent that Cigar was going to be scratched due to a foot problem. Everyone waited for the official word, but it never came. It was only when the horses began walking to the paddock from the barn area and I looked through my binoculars and saw Cigar that the rumor was officially quashed.

I watched the race at the top of the small grandstand with Ray Paulick, then the editor of the Blood-Horse. When Cigar battled back in deep stretch after appearing to be beaten to win by a half-length over fellow American Soul of the Matter, Ray and I jumped up and down like school kids and hugged each other, and then tore through the crowd down to the winner’s circle. Needless to say, that was another surreal moment provided by Cigar, one that no one had ever experienced before. Cigar had come to Dubai and conquered, thus assuring the success of the Dubai World Cup.

Jet setting

But it was earlier that year at the 1996 Eclipse Awards dinner at the Hotel Del Coronado, just across San Diego Bay, that I really became close to Cigar. Not only was I assigned to cover the event, I was also flying from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale that same night on Allen Paulson’s Gulfstream 4 jet, which at the time held the speed record for traveling around the world. The following day, Cigar was scheduled to make his 6-year-old debut in the Donn Handicap.

The other passengers were Allen and Madeleine Paulson, Madeleine’s beloved Jack Russell terrier Oliver, Bill and Tina Mott, Jerry and Suzee Bailey, and my DRF colleague, the legendary Joe Hirsch. My first thought was, if the plane went down I’d be a mere footnote at the bottom of the story.

Normally, Paulson would fly the plane himself, but because of the overnight flight, scheduled to arrive in Fort Lauderdale at about 5:30 a.m. and the big day ahead, he decided to hire a crew and go as a passenger. After boarding the plane, Paulson undid his suspenders, rolled up his sleeves, and took a seat in the front row. Soon after takeoff, Madeleine, reverting to her days as a flight attendant for Pan Am, took drink orders and put out plates of cakes and pastries and platters of food.

Mott and Bailey sat up front handicapping the Saturday card. Mott turned to me and said, “Well, what do you think, Steve? This is a tough assignment, but I guess somebody’s gotta do it.”

About 100 miles west of Tampa, the plane was scheduled to fly over Checkpoint Cigar, for which the horse was named. “Do you want to go up to the cockpit when we fly over it?” Madeleine asked me. “You can go up there anytime you want.”

After beginning to doze off, I looked up through half-closed eyes to see Madeleine covering me with a blanket, bless her heart.

When I awoke, the lights were off and everyone was asleep. Although Cigar would be a heavy favorite in the Donn, Mott was cautiously optimistic. Here he was going to Cigar’s debut and having to stare at the Horse of the Year Eclipse Award trophy that was sitting right in front of him. “I don’t like this scenario of getting all these Eclipse Awards, and everyone is happy, and then, all of a sudden it’s D-Day again in less than 24 hours,” he said earlier. “We’re setting ourselves up for a bunch of long faces.”

At 4:20 a.m., Paulson began to stir. He walked to the back of the plane and told me were getting close to Checkpoint Cigar. About 55 miles from Sarasota I made my way to the cockpit, having to gingerly step over Oliver. The view of the Florida coastline was magnificent, as if we were in a simulator. Although the lights kept getting closer it seemed as if we weren’t moving. “Isn’t that beautiful?” the pilot asked. “It’s like a big video screen. We’re flying 80% the speed of sound, but this plane flies faster than this.”

We quickly passed over the darkness of the Everglades and descended on the lights of Eastern Florida. The landing was smooth as silk, and after the plane came to a halt, Paulson got up, put his suspenders back on, rolled down his sleeves, and said to Mott, “Ready to go to work, Bill?”

Several yards from the plane, Paulson’s limo was waiting to take us all to our respective hotels. As I stepped down from the plane, Paulson reminded me, “Well, you just flew in the fastest plane in the world.”

It was only appropriate, because later that day I’d be watching the fastest horse in the world.

Back home

One of my fondest memories of Cigar was the day he arrived at Belmont Park following his historic victory in the inaugural Dubai World Cup. He hadn’t felt a cool breeze in his face in four months, having been in Florida and then Dubai. Now he was back home, walking up Secretariat Avenue, passing rows of trees and grassy paddocks, and hearing the occasional crowing of a rooster and the chirping of sparrows, as a brisk April wind ruffled his mane.

Judging from the way he pulled assistant trainer Simon Bray and groom Seth Gregory while returning to his old home, Barn 25, after 36 hours in quarantine, there was no doubt he was happy to be back in familiar surroundings.

Although he had lost a little weight and a bit of shine to his coat, it didn’t seem as if the long trip to Dubai, the hot, humid days in the desert, and his gut-wrenching victory in the Dubai World Cup took too much out of him.

Leaving the quarantine barn, Cigar continually gnawed away on his lip chain. The farther he walked the more on the muscle he became, bouncing along on his toes and trying to prop on occasion. This was the first blast of cool air to hit him in months and he was loving every minute of it.

“Man, this horse is pumped; he’s really pulling on me,” Bray said.

As they turned down one of the horse paths, a van blocked the way and Bray and Gregory had to walk Cigar in circles until the van driver could be located. He finally emerged from a nearby barn, and as he got into his van, a truck pulled alongside. The driver of the truck opened the window and shouted to the van driver: “You gotta move that van for the mighty Ceeegar, the greatest horse of all time.”

When Cigar arrived at Mott’s barn, he was reluctant to go in his stall, balking several times. That was the last place he wanted to be, but finally he gave in. “There you go, buddy, back in stall 3,” Bray said to him as he removed his lip chain and gave him a friendly whack on the rear end.

Once free, Cigar let it all out, rolling several times in the straw, grunting and squealing. After getting up and pawing at the ground, he charged the webbing and thrust his head out the stall door, scattering whoever was standing nearby.

As Bray and Gregory returned to the quarantine barn to get Cigar’s pony, Snowball, who had gained fame himself while in Dubai, Cigar stood at his stall door with his head up and ears cocked, staring out the barn window and up and down the shed with that familiar white eye.

“You got your favorite window and your favorite stall back,” said day watchman Jimmy Camic. “I’m just glad he’s back safe, thank God. I’ll sit here with a two-by-four if I have to, and God forbid if any s.o.b. gives me a hard time.”

Soon, Gregory’s parents and brother arrived at the barn to take their son back to a hero’s welcome in their hometown of Garrattsville, N.Y., 16 miles from Cooperstown. Gregory had accompanied Cigar to Dubai when the horse’s regular groom, Juan Campuzano, was unable to get his visa processed in time.

“Seth, the guys at the pharmacy all said to send their congratulations,” Gregory’s mother told him. “I was in there yesterday and they were so excited. They can’t wait to see you.”

“I don’t know why I’m such a hero,” Gregory said. “He did it all.”

But Cigar had a way of making heroes out of all those close to him.

Attention, shoppers

Tom Durkin’s voice bounced off the walls in resounding fashion. “Cigar! Cigar makes his move and he sweeps to the lead with a dramatic rush… the invincible, the incomparable, the unbeatable Cigar.”

This historic call of the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic wasn’t being heard at a racetrack or a simulcasting facility or any place even remotely associated with racing. On this occasion, three months after the race, pant legs shook, shirt buttons popped, and ties stiffened at the sound of Durkin’s unforgettable call. You see, the race was being shown in the men’s department at Sears in Lawrenceville, N.J.

Following the race, Cigar’s presence seemed to be everywhere – from department stores, helping to sell team apparel, to Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman of the Year” issue, to GQ, to Cigar Aficionado magazine, to a full page ad by Macanudo Cigar Co. in the New York Times, which read: “From One Cigar to another. Macanudo salutes the winner of the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic on his 12th consecutive victory.” The cost of the ad: $58,000.

The world loves perfection, and in 1995, Cigar was the epitome of perfection, as he traveled some 12 miles of racetrack real estate, covering nearly 10,000 miles by van and plane, while visiting six racetracks in six different states. Whether on fast, wet-fast, or muddy tracks, all Cigar’s rivals saw of him were the black and gray streaks of his tail. Among those inhaling Cigar’s smoke were the winners of the 1995 Kentucky Derby, Belmont, Travers, Santa Anita Handicap, Pacific Classic, Whitney Handicap, and the Juddmonte International and Eclipse Stakes in England, as well as past winners of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Santa Anita Handicap, Pimlico Special, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Oaklawn Handicap.

And through it all, Bill Mott was the perfect host, granting interviews to anyone who asked and handling everything with class. He even put my then 12-year-old daughter up on his pony and led her around the shedrow and outside the barn. While the entire Cigar experience and the 16-race winning streak would have stressed out many trainers, Mott might as well have been sitting on a rocking chair back in Mobridge, South Dakota whittling away on a piece of hickory. If ever a horse and trainer fit each other it was Cigar and Mott.

Saying goodbye

It was Cigar’s final race, and the script called for him to go out a winner in the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic. But a nose and a head separated him from the storybook ending. The sun had just begun to descend behind Woodbine’s clubhouse turn as Cigar walked off the track for the last time. Shafts of light beamed down on him from an amber sky, creating a setting that was meant for a triumphant farewell. But Cigar’s weary legs and cracked feet, that had carried him some 25,000 miles across the United States and to Dubai, could not carry him those final few inches.

Back at the barn, Cigar stood facing the back of his stall, as if he knew he had lost. Allen and Madeleine Paulson stopped by for a final visit before heading off to dinner, but Mott remained. For several minutes, he stared almost hypnotically into Cigar’s stall. When he spoke, his voice couldn’t hide the emotions that were obviously building up inside him. This was no time to be dwelling on defeats or having any regrets that Cigar’s career did not end in triumph. The only images Mott was seeing as he stared into the stall were of cheering crowds and magnificent victories.

“There’s nothing I can say about Cigar that can tell you how I feel about him and the whole experience,” Mott said in a quiet monotone voice. “There’s no reason that getting beat a short head would make me feel any differently about him. I’d be pretty damn greedy if I did or if I had any ill feelings about anything. When we decided to run him again this year I knew as a trainer that trying to have a repeat year was going to be a tough task come Breeders’ Cup time. He just lost that little step, that little turn of foot, and that’s been the difference. Before, he could have overcome having to go five-wide. Today, he just couldn’t… he couldn’t overcome it.”

Just then, 82-year-old Georgia Ridder, owner of the victorious Alphabet Soup, came over to Mott, who congratulated her.

She replied, “Congratulations on the greatest horse of many years. It was just our luck today.”

“Well, you had a good day and I’m happy for you,” Mott said. “I hope you have many many more.”

So ended the remarkable career of Cigar. In For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway wrote: “But did thee feel the earth move?”

Cigar’s greatness was felt as much as it was seen. Just ask anyone who was there when Cigar rocked the grandstands at Arlington Park, Suffolk Downs, and Belmont Park. Just ask anyone who was there when Cigar made the sands of Dubai shake. Just ask anyone who was there when Cigar jolted the hallowed walls of Madison Square Garden.

Although Cigar’s accomplishments and statistics speak of greatness, they are just one aspect of his legacy. He took the torch passed to him by Holy Bull and made thousands of new racing fans around the world. He made believers out of skeptics. He made poets and artists out of 7-year-olds and 70-year-olds. He made people cheer and he made people cry.

But most of all, he made the earth move.

Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/horse-racing-steve-haskin/archive/2014/10/08/haskin-farewell-to-cigar.aspx#ixzz3FaAokkQc

Saving America’s Mustangs | 2683 Via De La Valle, G 313 | Del Mar | CA | 92014

Thoroughbred Champion Cigar Dies Following Surgery

Kentucky Horse Park Mourns Loss of Incomparable, Invincible, ‘Unbeatable’ Horse

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 8, 2014) – Thoroughbred champion Cigar died last evening, Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital from complications following surgery for severe osteoarthritis in his neck. Foaled April 18, 1990, the Hall of Fame horse and longtime visitor favorite at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions was 24.

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 great champion Cigar thrilled racing fans and surely brought new ones to the sport as he compiled win after win in his incredible streak of victories,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “An example of racing at its best, he continued to serve as an ambassador, bringing joy to countless visitors to the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park, where he will be missed.”

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.

“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, director of equine operations for the Kentucky Horse Park. “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 had been under the care of a team of veterinarians from the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute and the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, some of the best equine veterinarians in the world. The team of veterinarians and surgeons had deemed that spinal surgery was the only option to relieve the pressure and ensure the highest quality of life for the horse.

“Cigar had been suffering from a cervical spine instability for which conservative medical therapies could no longer halt the disease’s progressive nature,” said Dr. Rocky M. Mason, of the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. “The decision to seek out a more lasting treatment modality was made. Surgery is never an easy decision in a 24-year-old horse, but Cigar had proven himself a regal, classy and determined patient making the decision to proceed an easier one.”

Surgical correction was performed by a team led by Dr. Brett Woodie, of Rood and Riddle, Dr. Laura Werner, of Hagyard Equine, and Dr. Steve Reed, of Rood and Riddle who pioneered the special procedure performed.

“The Kentucky Horse Park was committed to providing him with the highest level of care possible,” said Hopkins. “We are heartbroken to lose this great horse, especially as we were trying to do everything we could to improve his quality of life and make him more sound and comfortable. Our park family is immensely grateful to Dr. Reed and the outstanding medical teams at Rood and Riddle and Hagyard Equine for their ultimate dedication to and concern for this unmatched champion.”

“Cigar developed a compression of his spinal cord in the lower part of his neck,” said Dr. Reed. “The most severe compression was between cervical vertebra 6 and 7, with additional compression between cervical vertebra 5 and 6. This was an acquired problem related to arthritis, and bony remodeling in the neck. The severity of this spinal cord compression became so problematic that all parties were left with few options, the best one being surgery. This was a significant surgery involving a prolonged recovery. Unfortunately, during recovery Cigar suffered a vertebral fracture and passed away.”

Hopkins said Cigar will be remembered as one of the greatest horses the world has ever seen, and thanked fans who have supported Cigar and the Kentucky Horse Park since his retirement. She also noted the efforts of park team members who have taken excellent care of him over the years, including Wes Lanter, Robin Bush and the late Cathy Roby.

Dr. Reed continued, “The outcome was disappointing and very sad for many people, but especially for Wes and Kathy who remained at his side to the end.”

Like the other Hall of Champions horses who died in retirement at the park, 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.

“Cigar was an incredible horse who left an everlasting mark on the racing world,” said Ted Nicholson, interim executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “We are honored that Cigar was able to spend so many years of his life here at the park where he was visited by so many fans and will always be remembered.”

A public memorial service will be held for Cigar at a future date, yet to be determined. Information will be posted on the park’s website once available at www.KyHorsePark.com.

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 on-line at www.KyHorsePark.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

Lisa Jackson
Kentucky Horse Park

Online Casinos and Horse Racing

Online Casinos is the latest trend in the word of betting and gambling. It gives the gamblers the convenience of playing at home through the internet. Such online casinos usually offer some payback percentages which can be compared to the land based casinos. However, there are also some online casinos which claim higher pay back percentages.

Horse racing can be defined as an elite sport where there are two or more jockeys riding their horses who are set at a distance for a competition. Horse racing traditions are different in different countries in the world. The variety includes breeds running over some of the obstacles, running over track surfaces and running over different distances. Though horse racing is a sport, it is mostly associated with gambling.

Comparison between Online Casinos and Horse racing

Horse racing and online casinos can be both counted as types of gambling. An article on Chipanalyst said that the major difference between the two is that online casinos can be played at the convenience at home but for horse racing one has to actually go to the race course to physically bet and watch your horse on the race course. But there is a similarity that both the games are based on luck and can be sometimes manipulated if the person playing the game has ample knowledge and experience of it.

Kinds of bets in Horse racing

On a general basis there are three common types of bets which can be placed: Win, Place and Show. The Win is a straight bet which means that the money is put on stake on the horse and if it comes in the first place it is the winner. The Place bet is when a bet is put on the horse to finish either first, second or third and this depends on how many horses are there in the race. And a bet to Show is when the horse finishes in the first three positions.

Options in Online Casino games

In terms of online casinos, there are various games which are available to play. Here there is also an option to play either paid or free online casino games. Some of the games offered online include roulette, Baccarat, Craps, Poker, Bingo, Blackjack, Sic Bo, Slot machines and Keno.

Horse Racing or Online casinos?

In terms of convenience, it can be argued that online casinos are convenient as well as easy to play. Not much investment has to be made while playing online games. There are various online sites which offer free online games with just points offered, but for the ones which demand deposits there are ample chances of winning while sitting at home.

Horse racing is a sport where the person betting has to be present at the race course and bet on the horse considering the various types. It depends completely on the basis of luck and nothing can be done once the bet is placed. Winnings will be announced according to the jockey and the horse which crosses the finish line. Moreover, some groups consider horse racing as a sport where the horses are subjected to cruelty. There are also dangers related to the sport for the horse as well as the jockey. During the race there are chances that the horse and the jockey can fall and be injured severely while jumping an obstacle. Records have shown that many horses have died on the track due to various accidents and injuries.


It can be said that betting through online casinos can be a better option than venturing in horse racing. Online casinos can be played online directly through browsers or through software which can be easily installed and played at the convenience of home. Moreover, constant playing can give the person betting an idea about the winning chances and probabilities.

Exciting Summer Ahead for Toast and Judge

Trainer Jamie Osborne was forced to have to defend his horse, Toast of New York, recently after finishing in sixth place at the recent Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes.

The former UAE Derby winner skipped the Investec Derby, in Epsom, England, in order to take part in the event in New York. While trainer Jamie was not too disheartened at missing out on the £1.25 million prize, he did feel he had to come to the horse’s defense after coming sixth.

Reports have indicated that Toast of New York may have been harboring a lung infection. Osborne said: “Toast is OK but he did come back with a slight lung infection – that probably explains why he hit a wall in the straight.

“It’s not absolutely conclusive that he caught it on the way home and on the balance of probability, he probably had the early stages of it through the race. He probably caught it on the way over.”

The diagnosis comes after the controversial revelations in the run up to the race that Osborne was going to trial diuretic Lasix on his horse. The drug is used to reduce the chance of blood vessels bursting and is banned on race days in many countries including the United Kingdom, though it is allowed out of competition.

While it hasn’t been reported that the drug had any effect on Toast’s health, trainer Osborne has now set his sights for bigger things in August. The Pacific Classic will take place at the Del Mar racetrack in California on August 24th, and Osborne is confident that he will be back to full health and ready to race once again.

“We’ve cleaned him up and the plan remains to take him the Del Mar for the Pacific Classic on Polytrack on August 24th,” Osborne said.

Meanwhile, British trainer Charlie Hills has high hopes for his horse, Just the Judge, as he makes the trip over the pond to race at Arlington Park, Texas, this summer. While the thoroughbred has had a poor run lately, he remains confident that she will excel at the Beverly D race on August 16th.

“She’s been a little slow coming to herself; however, she pleased me last time in the Pretty Polly when third to Thistle Bird. She’s coming right back to her best and looks a million dollars.

“I’m very keen to stick to a mile and a quarter now and I’m considering the Beverly D at Arlington Park as her next target.”

Spectators from all over will be taking to sites like Sports Interaction to put their money on Just the Judge, who’s likely to please if her previous performance last season is anything to go by. At last year’s 1,000 Guineas event in Newmarket, England, she took first place – but whether or not she’s likely to fare well on US soil is anybody’s guess.

With so much talent coming from overseas this August, we’re in for an exciting racing summer.

The Injured Jockeys Fund to Be Official Charity at Olympia

Sam Thomas and William Buick (Photography – Matthew Joseph).

The Injured Jockeys Fund is to be the charity of the year at this year’s London International Horse Show at Olympia from 16-22 December 2014. Markel International, the specialist insurer, will sponsor a unique class on Friday 19th December. The Markel Champions Challenge for the Injured Jockeys Fund is set to be one of the highlights of the evening, featuring some of the UK’s best known flat and jump jockeys with the additional spice of top show jumpers.

A team of three flat jockeys and one top name show jumper will compete against three jump jockeys and one top name show jumper in a series of different challenges including jumps and pony club style games. The line-up of names is set to be announced early in the autumn and is likely to include Markel’s Ambassador jockeys, Sam Thomas and William Buick.

Lisa Hancock, Chief Executive of the Injured Jockeys Fund, says: “We are delighted to be the official charity of the London International Horse Show at Olympia in our 50th anniversary year. The Markel Champions Challenge for the Injured Jockeys Fund is sure to provide a fun – and highly competitive – spectacle for the crowd, plus will help raise awareness of the important work we do at the IJF in supporting injured jockeys and their families.”

Juliet Redfern, Markel’s UK Divisional Managing Director of Equine and Livestock, says: “We are thrilled to be announcing this exciting collaboration with the Injured Jockeys Fund at Olympia in December and hope that it raises lots of money for what is a fantastic charity.”

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, The London International Horse Show Olympia, says: “We are very pleased to be supporting the Injured Jockeys Fund this year. It is a charity that does tremendous work for riders – not just in horseracing but across all equestrian sports. The Markel Champions Challenge for the Injured Jockeys Fund will see professional jockeys demonstrating their equine skills in the Olympia Exhibition Hall in an event which promises to be great fun. It will be a great spectacle which is sure to entertain the Olympia audience, as well as hopefully raising lots of money for a very worthy cause.”

For more information please contact:
Injured Jockeys Fund: Liz Ampairee, liz.ampairee@racingpost.biz 0773 333 1945
Markel International: Michael Henman, michael.henman@markelintl.com 0207 953 6000
Olympia, The London International Horse Show: Hannah Grissell, hannah@revolutionsports.co.uk 0207 592 1207

The Injured Jockeys Fund:
The Injured Jockeys Fund was founded in 1964 following the devastating accidents to Tim Brookshaw, and then Paddy Farrell in the 1964 Grand National. The Fund has since spent over £17m in helping over 1000 jockeys whose injuries have forced some of them to give up riding. The aim of the IJF is to maintain this ethos with continuing support for existing beneficiaries and to provide immediate and effective help to all newly injured jockeys in whatever way is appropriate to ensure a reasonable quality of life for them and their families. The IJF has two respite and rehabilitation centres, Oaksey House in Berkshire, opened by Patron HRH The Princess Royal in 2009, and Jack Berry House in Yorkshire, set to open in the Spring of 2015. www.ijf.org.uk

Markel International:
The Markel name and reputation are unsurpassed in the field of equine insurance. For over 50 years, Markel has provided uninterrupted coverage for horses and horse-related risks. Coverage is available for the widest range of needs from individual horse owners up to the largest global Thoroughbred breeding and racing operations, through to disciplines such as dressage, showjumping, reining, trotters and Arabians. www.markelinternational.com/equine

Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
The first international horse show took place in the Olympia halls in 1907. Olympia, The London International Horse Show, the event we see today, was started by Raymond Brooks-Ward in 1971. This year’s show takes place on 16-22 December 2014 in the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington London. The show will play host to a packed timetable of all things equestrian and is expected to welcome over 90,000 visitors. It is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious equine competitions. The show mixes top class equestrian action, including FEI World Cup™ Jumping, Dressage and Driving with family entertainment, such as the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National which raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Kennel Club Dog Agility. The show’s official charity for 2014 is The Injured Jockeys Fund.

Various Types of Horse Racing

Horse racing is a sport which has jockeys riding the horses over a set of distance for a competition. The sport is considered as one of the most ancient ones. Here the fastest horse or the one which covers most of the distance is considered as the winner. Horse racing traditions are different and vary according to different countries. Every country has its own traditions and norms of horse racing.

As mentioned before horse racing has various types but some of the basic and the most common type include Jump Racing, Flat Racing, Endurance Racing and Harness Racing.

Jump Racing – Such kind of Horse racing is common and popular in Great Britain and Ireland and is also known as the National Hunt Racing. Here the horse along with the jockey has to jump over various types of hurdles. Such a type can be further classified in to hurdling and steeple chasing which are the types or sizes of hurdles. Steeple chasing can be referred to any kind of jump race and is common in United States. When the horses grow older they are able to get through bigger obstacles and go longer distances. For instance, the horses might begin in the National Hunt as a beginner and then it can move on to hurdling after a year of practice or racing. If the horse becomes even more capable it might even progress to steeple chasing.

Endurance Racing – As the name suggests, endurance race tests the actual endurance of the horse and are mostly of long distances. The distance in different races can vary. Some can be up to ten miles while others can be up to one hundred miles. There are also a few races which can be even longer which lasts up to multiple days. Endurance race can be further classified in to non-competitive trail rides, pleasure rides, competitive trail rides, endurance rides and progressive trail rides.

Flat Racing – Flat racing is considered as one of the most common types of racing. Racing tracks for such kind of racing is typically oval in shape and are generally practiced in Great Britain and Ireland. The flat races are run over the distances from 440 yards to two and a half miles. In such races the horses are allocated the same weight to maintain fairness.

Allowance race – Allowance racing is meant for the younger horses and is a non-claiming race. These races are mostly limited to the non-winners and the entries are limited to the ones who have not won, one, two or three stake races.

Handicap races – This is a race where horses with different disabilities are brought together for a race. Such a race can be made fairer by allotting handicaps or specified weights and this depends on their abilities. The horse is declared as handicapped on its official rating and its previous achievements. Horses which have high rates get the top weights and the lower ranked get comparatively lighter weights.

Harness racing – Harness racing is also known as trotting. It is a form of race where the horses compete at a specific pace. Here every horse pulls two-wheeled bodiless cart which is called as ‘sulky’ on which the jockey sits.

Turf racing – Such races are flat races which are run on the grass surface. The turf race in Britain begins during early spring season and runs throughout summer and autumn. Some of the most common courses in turf races include new market, Ascot and Epsom Downs.

Different races use different breeds of horses over different obstacles, distances and tract surfaces. Some races are purely for sport purpose but there are also races where gambling is associated.

Breeders’ Cup Announces Keeneland as the Host of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships

Announcement marks the debut of the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland

Lexington, KY (June 24, 2014) – The Breeders’ Cup, one of Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious international events, has today announced Keeneland Race Course, in Lexington, KY, as the host site of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. This is the first time that Keeneland, one of the most iconic tracks in the country, will play host to the Breeders’ Cup. The event will be held on October 30-31, 2015.

The announcement marks the second time in the event’s history and the first time since 1993 that the Breeders’ Cup has revealed on the same day more than one future host site for the World Championships. In addition to Keeneland, the brand’s multi-year location strategy includes bringing the event to Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, CA for the 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships and Del Mar, near San Diego, CA in 2017.

“As part of our strategic three-year host site plan we are very pleased to announce Keeneland as the host venue for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” said Breeders’ Cup Chairman Bill Farish. “Throughout its storied history, Keeneland has developed an extraordinary reputation for delivering a first-class racing and hospitality product. We are excited to bring the Breeders’ Cup home to Lexington and are energized by the support from the local community and the breeders of Central Kentucky who have been such a vital part of our program since its inception.”

Located in the heart of Central Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region, Keeneland plays a unique role in both Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Each April and October, the top owners, trainers and jockeys converge at Keeneland to compete for some of the nation’s richest purse money. As the world’s premier Thoroughbred auction house, Keeneland attracts a global clientele to its four annual sales. Sale graduates include 77 horses that have won 83 Breeders’ Cup races.

“The Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland is a homecoming for many of these great champions who were foaled and raised at Central Kentucky farms, and often sold at Keeneland,” said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason. “The Keeneland team feels that sense of connection and history with the Breeders’ Cup, and we look forward to offering fans an extraordinary racing and entertainment experience.”

The multi-year host site decision is part of Breeders’ Cup larger, forward-thinking growth strategy to showcase the best of what Thoroughbred racing has to offer and is an extension of the brand’s “The Best Is Yet To Come” campaign which promises a curated Thoroughbred racing experience that will attract the best horses, the best owners and the best marketing partners.

Like Keeneland, which will be the site of next year’s event on October 30 and 31, Del Mar will be hosting the Breeders’ Cup for the first time in the event’s 30-year history with the 2017 Breeders’ Cup on November 3 and 4. In between these years, Breeders’ Cup will return to Santa Anita, which will host the 2016 event on November 4 and 5 and represents the ninth time the track hosts the Breeders’ Cup. All event dates are pending approval by the tracks’ respective states.

About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 races and purses totaling $26 million will be held October 31-Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

About Keeneland
For more than 75 years, the Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. As the world’s largest Thoroughbred auction company, Keeneland conducts sales every January, April, September and November. Its sales graduates dominate racing across the globe at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a private, for-profit corporation that returns its earnings back to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses, as well as millions of dollars in charitable contributions for education, research and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. To learn more about Keeneland, visit us online at www.keeneland.com.

For additional information, contact Niki Heichelbech at enh@visitlex.com.

Racing to Heaven, by Harriet Tramer

Cleveland, OH – June 19th, 2014 – Emotions, particularly in adolescents, can run very strong. A new book asks how much does it take for these sentiments to run out of control and command our lives along destructive paths?

“The book is what might be called magical realism,” said Harriet Tramer, the author. “It is very realistic in that many of the emotions the narrator describes are one we have all experienced on one level or another. Yet it is magical because you are not certain if she is imagining things or if they are really happening to her.”

The horses in this book seem to be cantering endlessly through the life of the woman who narrates her story. But are they really flesh and blood figures speeding along from place to place? Or are they simply something she imagines because of the turmoil in her mind? Read this book and then decide for yourself.

About the Author
Harriet Tramer has worked as both a journalist and a college instructor. And although the links between these two professions might not be immediately obvious, Ms. Tramer has learned that they have much in common: they both demand highly-developed communication skills. People in these two lines of work must not only learn to express themselves well (either verbally or through written words). They must also become adept at listening.

In writing Rounding the Circle of Love: Growing Up as She Grows Old, Ms. Tramer called into play everything she learned during her more than thirty years as a journalist/teacher. Her experience guided her as she interviewed experts in various fields – the law, medicine, exercise therapy – enabling her to present technical information in an approachable manner.

Ms. Tramer graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And she has Master’s Degrees in Communication and Urban Studies from Cleveland State University. She has written for a variety of newspapers – “The Cleveland Press,” “The Cleveland Plain Dealer,” Crain’s Cleveland Business – and has taught both at Cleveland State University and the New School (in New York City).

Available at Amazon:

Magnus Publicity

Royal Ascot Odds

With the celebrations gearing up for the centrepiece of Britain’s festivities, the Royal Ascot has been raising its head amidst the gloom and happiness throughout the world, with thousands, and more people looking forward to the royal gathering. With the Royal Ascot being termed as one of Europe’s most famous and one of the oldest celebrations dating back to 1711, the expectations are quite obvious.

Although the press and media are overwhelmed by the news of get-ups of people of different classes on this occasion, the horse race still remains to be the central part of this glorious ceremony, with all the celebrations revolving around the same.

With the delight of having a chance to look at the stunning pageantry with the Queen and carriage, and the lush lawns, the Royal Ascot week remains filled with activities around the time of the year the festivities are hosted. With about eighteen races to be conducted in groups, Royal Ascot will stand witness to a huge prize pot of almost 4 million pounds! Along with these festivities, one of the major attractions of these week-long celebrations is the betting, on the lines of the Royal Ascot odds. With the descent of four year old horses on the racetracks, with all experienced riders exhibiting their finest skills on their horsebacks, the saddles will be a sight worth looking at!

With a vast array of wealth exhibited by the jewels of the royals, the festivities will express richness in all terms of heritage, merit and sportsmanship spirit. All these things make the series of activities worth looking at, and should be attended by everyone once in a lifetime, which would be an experience for life.

However, for bookmarkers, this event is going to be quite special. The week long celebrations in mid-June has been estimated to witness bets worth 400 million pounds, hundred times more than the prize pot itself! With competitions being quite close, most of the bets will be placed online. In this glorious ceremony, one must know how to place a bet, and know something about the royal ascot odds to start off!

Some will win; some will lose, whereas everyone will get away with an experience of a lifetime, on the lush green racetracks of the course. At last, there will be one winner of the Ascot Gold Cup, and a few winners on their bets.

The odds will be decided mainly on the horses taking part, and even the racetrack plays a major role. With a downhill gradient at the beginning, the course takes gentle changes with some right turns, and the track gains an uphill gradient at Swinley Bottom, the lowest part of the track. The course makes conditions unforeseeable, and most of the odds of win-lose will depend on the conditions of the course.

It is always a no-no for a drawing in the middle course, and slightly positive odds are in favour of drawing low. The Brown Panther and some other horses still remain to be favourites, with their riders looking forward to winning the prestigious occasion and award of a lifetime.

However, Royal Ascot will still favour the riders with past experience on the triangular racetrack with right turns, and there is always a point to ponder: there have been variable results of draws on the straight course after it was laid back in the year 2006.

With these eventful days coming up, bookmarkers as well as commons will look forward to bring the best odds of the most looked-at ceremony, with the Queen Anne Stakes, Gold Cup and Diamond Jubilee Stakes being an attraction.

Are you a visitor to the Royal Ascot festivities? If not, you should try at least once, and grab the experience of a lifetime!