02/03/2015 12:25PM

Cigar Street injured, will miss Donn

Barbara D. Livingston
Cigar Street ran seventh in the Breeders' Cup Classic, making him the top-finishing older horse.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Cigar Street, who emerged last year as one of the top older horses in America, was injured in a recent workout, which explains his absence from the lineup for the Donn Handicap on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Co-owner Jake Ballis said this week that Cigar Street injured his left knee in a Jan. 12 workout at Payson Park and is expected to be out for at least several months.

“We’ve been informed the injury is not career-threatening and should heal in time,” Ballis said this week from Lexington, Ky. “If all goes well, he should be able to get back to 100 percent.”

Ballis, who co-owns six horses, including Cigar Street, with NBA player Rashard Lewis, said Cigar Street will spend 60 to 90 days at the Classic Mile in Ocala, Fla., before being re-evaluated.

“It’s pretty unfortunate and untimely,” said Ballis. “We were looking to run Saturday in the Donn, then maybe even go to Dubai.”

Cigar Street, a 6-year-old horse by Street Sense trained by Bill Mott, has been highly regarded since earning a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in a maiden win as a 3-year-old in March 2012. He raced twice at 4, winning both times, including the Skip Away (104 Beyer) at Gulfstream. He then was laid up for nearly 17 months before returning to race three times last year as a 5-year-old, winning one race, the Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs.

In his final start last year, the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, he finished seventh at 11-1. Three-year-olds finished first through sixth in the BC Classic, making Cigar Street the top-finishing older horse.

“We toyed with the idea of retiring him after this latest injury came up, but since he’s not a Grade 1 winner, we thought we’d wait another year to see if we can’t knock that out,” said Ballis.

Meanwhile, Mott still has Lea, the defending champion, for the Grade 1, $500,000 Donn, for which entries were to be taken Wednesday.

Lea, with Joel Rosario to ride, will be the 121-pound highweight in a field of about 11 expected for the 1 1/8-mile Donn. The Donn will be co-featured with the San Antonio Stakes from Santa Anita on the leadoff telecast in the Jockey Club Tour on FOX series (5:30-7:30 p.m. Eastern).

Lea, bred and owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, earned a 114 Beyer in winning the Donn last year. Now 6, he was sidelined for 11 months afterward before returning to win the Jan. 10 Hal’s Hope at Gulfstream in last-to-first fashion.

Also featured on the FOX show will be the Grade 1, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race that is expected to lure some of the top turf horses on the East Coast. Starting with the highweights, the expected field includes Imagining, 120 pounds; Summer Front, 119; Mshawish, 118; Lochte, 117; and probably another four or five starters.

Four other stakes also are on tap for another terrific Saturday card. They are the Grade 3, $150,000 Suwanee River for filly and mare turfers; the Grade 3, $100,000 Fred Hooper for older horses at a mile on dirt; and a pair of $75,000 turf sprints, the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (older horses) and the Texas Glitter (3-year-olds).

Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
The drf experts picked cigar street to finish ahead of bayern, toast of new york and california chrome in the breeders cup classic. Then they voted for chrome as horse of the year. Cigar street is a one time grade 3 winner. Go figure
mike More than 1 year ago
Please tell me you've been spot on every single time with your predictions.
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
Once again, mikey doesnt like anything, except life cereal
mike More than 1 year ago
Gunner More than 1 year ago
The leadoff telecast in the Jockey Club Tour on FOX series (5:30-7:30 p.m. Eastern). And that is all that the dudes need to know.
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
Grade 1 or no Grade 1, this unsound horse should not be allowed to pass his unsound genes on to future generations. He's unfit to be a stallion.
mike More than 1 year ago
And you know that for a fact?? Thanks
Chas More than 1 year ago
Do you have scientific proof to support your view? If not stop the whining and crying...Storm Cat, is perhaps the all time stallion in the US, yet look at his racing career which was nothing...so to apply your thinking would eliminate so many horses for breeding, we would see half the races being run...suffering injuries is an unfortunate part of the game and does mean a horse is unsound....
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
I'm glad you're not making that determination.
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
Two injuries to talented horses working at this track this week. There was injury problem last spring at this track. Then the surface was redone.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Is better to fake an injury than getting embarrassed !!! This horse had no shot of being in the superfecta !!!!
mike More than 1 year ago
Are you on something? He's not faking anything, unsoundness has been a problem for a good part of his career.
Guy John More than 1 year ago
Lea is too good and fast for this field.