11/05/2014 11:36AM

Public memorial service for Cigar set for Nov. 14

Barbara D. Livingston
The late Cigar, shown with trainer Bill Mott, will be honored with a public memorial service on Nov. 14 at the Kentucky Horse Park.

A public memorial service for late champion Cigar will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington on Friday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Cigar, Horse of the Year in 1995 and 1996 and winner of a record-tying 16 consecutive races, died Oct. 7 at age 24 due to complications following surgery for severe osteoarthritis in his neck. The Hall of Fame racehorse, who was also North America's leading moneywinner at the time of his retirement, had resided at the Kentucky Horse Park since 1999, after he proved sterile upon entering stud two years prior.

The memorial service will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park's Hall of Champions, near Cigar's gravesite adjacent to his former paddock. Attendance at the memorial service for members of the public is included with park admission. Admission is free for guests arriving after 1:30 p.m. for only the memorial service.

Kentucky's First Lady, Jane Beshear, will be on hand for the service. Videos of Cigar’s races and related news stories will play in the Hall of Champions throughout the day, and a memorial guestbook will be available. The public is also invited to post comments on Twitter or Tumblr using the hashtag #CigarKHP, or to comment on the Kentucky Horse Park's Facebook or Google Plus posts on Nov. 14.

The Kentucky Horse Park has also announced that it will hold a ceremony commemorating the 20-year anniversary of Cigar's Breeders' Cup Classic triumph next year, with the horse's connections on hand, in the week preceding the 2015 Breeders' Cup at Keeneland. Plans call for the unveiling of a bronze statue of the horse at that time. The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation is leading fundraising efforts to commission the piece.

For more information about next week's memorial service, contact the Kentucky Horse Park at 859-233-4303, 800-678-8813 or info@kyhorsepark.com, or visit www.KyHorsePark.com. Those wishing to make a donation to the Cigar Memorial Fund may do so through the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation.