04/29/2002 11:00PM

Cigar and Serena's Song join the Hall


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Cigar, whose 16-race winning streak in the mid-1990's helped energize Thoroughbred racing, and Serena's Song, North America's all-time leading earner among female horses, were elected into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame, it was announced Tuesday.

The two equine stars were elected along with trainer Grover "Bud" Delp, who has trained more than 3,500 winners, and the late jockey Jack Westrope, who won 2,467 races before being fatally injured in the 1958 Hollywood Oaks. Noor, who became the first horse to defeat two Triple Crown champions, was elected as the Horse of Yesteryear.

Ed Bowen, chairman of the Hall of Fame committee, made the announcements Tuesday morning in the Churchill Downs press box. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Aug. 5 at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs.

Allen Paulson bred Cigar in Maryland, mating Palace Music to the Seattle Slew mare Solar Slew. Early in his career, Cigar was owned by Allen's wife, Madeleine, and was based in California with trainer Alex Hassinger.

After winning his maiden race on dirt second time out, Cigar made his next seven starts on turf, winning once. He was then transferred to trainer Bill Mott in New York, who ran Cigar four times on turf without success.

On Oct. 28, 1994, Mott put Cigar on dirt and he romped to an eight-length victory in allowance company at Aqueduct. A month later, Cigar won the Grade 1 NYRA Mile (since renamed the Cigar Mile).

After that, Allen Paulson traded several horses to his wife - including 2-year-old champion filly Eliza - in exchange for Cigar, who ran in Allen's name the remainder of his career.

In 1995, Cigar was 10 for 10, climaxed by a victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic at muddy Belmont Park, and was crowned Horse of the Year.

In 1996, Cigar won his first four races - including the inaugural Dubai World Cup - to tie Citation's modern-day record of 16 consecutive victories. His streak, which included stops in Illinois, California, Arkansas, Florida, and Massachusetts and attracted big crowds along the way, ended in the Pacific Classic when he was defeated by Dare and Go. Cigar earned a second straight Horse of the Year title, and finished his career with a North American earnings record of $9,999,815.

"For Allen it was very exciting," Madeleine said of the streak. "He enjoyed it, he was never afraid. He always felt very confident every time Cigar ran. I would throw up."

Cigar was selected over Ancient Title and Precisionist in the Contemporary Male category.

Serena's Song, a daughter of Rahy out of Imagining, by Northfields, raced three years for owners Bob and Beverly Lewis and trainer D. Wayne Lukas. She won 18 of 38 starts, including 16 graded stakes, and defeated males in both the Jim Beam Stakes and the Haskell Invitational. Her career earnings of $3,283,388 is a North American record for females, although that record is being challenged by Spain ($3,097,040), who runs in Friday's $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap at Churchill.

"We've been blessed with some of racing's best fillies, and she stands at the top of the hill for the simple reason she was so consistent," Lukas said. "She was just absolutely a gem to train, she showed up every time we asked her to run, whether it was against the boys or her own sex. If they're going to have a Hall of Fame, they better put her in there."

Serena's Song beat out Dance Smartly and Flawlessly in the Contemporary Female category.

Delp, 69, has been one of the dominant trainers in the mid-Atlantic region for 40 years. A native of Creswell, Md., Delp has been a leading trainer at Pimlico, Delaware and Monmouth Park.

Delp is best known for developing Spectacular Bid, a three-time champion who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 1979. In 1980, Delp guided Spectacular Bid through an undefeated season (9 for 9) in which the horse was voted Horse of the Year and Delp an Eclipse Award as top trainer.

In a 40-year training career, Delp has won 3,533 races. In addition to Spectacular Bid, Delp trained stakes winners Dispersal, What a Summer, Sweet Alliance, Truly Bound, Sunny Sunrise, and Include, who is still in training.

"I'm overwhelmed," Delp said from Maryland. "I've been in this business as a trainer for 40 years, as an assistant for seven, and a hotwalker for one or two. Now I'm in the Hall of Fame. That's quite a jump from making a dollar a head walking hots."

Delp was selected over Sonny Hine and Mel Stute.

Jack Westrope made his mark early on, winning 301 races from 1,224 mounts as a 15-year-old in 1933. In a 26-year career, Westrope won 2,467 races from 17,497 mounts before being killed in the 1958 Hollywood Oaks when his mount, Well Away, threw him into the rail.

Westrope's major victories included the Santa Anita Derby, San Juan Capistrano, the Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Suburban Handicap.

"I don't now if jockeys are like him anymore," said Pamela Westrope Donner, one of the jockey's three daughters. "He was irreverent. Here was this guy, five-foot-two or three, and after winning a big race, he would walk into a restaurant with $10,000 in his pocket and buy everyone dinner."

Westrope was voted in over Eddie Maple and Kent Desormeaux.

Noor, a son of Nasrullah out of Queen of Baghdad, by Bahram, was bred in Ireland by the Aga Kahn and placed in the 1948 Epsom Derby before being purchased by Mrs. Charles Howard to run in North America. Noor won 12 of 31 starts from 1947 to 1950. He defeated Citation four consecutive times and also defeated Assault. His major victories included the Santa Anita Handicap, San Juan Capistrano and Hollywood Gold Cup.

Noor was elected over Morvich and Swoon's Son.