10/09/2014 9:00AM

Racing world reacts to Cigar's death


Here’s what members of the racing community said about the death of two-time Horse of the Year Cigar on Tuesday.

Former jockey Jerry Bailey

“It’s a sad, sad day for me. I did get to see him on Sunday. I fed him some carrots, but I knew he wasn't doing too good."

“He changed me. He made me really like horses. It's not like I didn't like horses. But I had a doctor-patient relationship with them. They were a way to make a living, a means to an end. He made me different. I used to spend hours with him after training, just to be around him, to be around all the people who were around him.”

“Horses can bring out the best or the worst in people. Cigar brought out the best. Everyone around him, Mott and his wife, Allen and Madeleine, the hot walkers, the grooms, the exercise riders, the foremen, we all became a traveling family. We all were made better by him.”

“He was the people’s horse. He just enjoyed people and the attention. He loved being around all the people at the Horse Park.”

“He was a very, very smart horse. He did only what he had to do to win races.”

Bailey on the Pacific Classic:

“That one’s on me. I put him on that pace. I got to thinking he could do anything.”

Bailey on the Dubai World Cup, which Bailey said was Cigar’s greatest performance:

“Even now, if you watch it on TV, you think Soul of the Matter is going to go right by him. But I could feel Cigar’s engine revving beneath me. He wasn’t going to let him get by.”

Richard Mandella, trainer of Soul of the Matter and Dare and Go

“It was a million-dollar race, so it’s no secret that I felt good about it. But I was also a fan of Cigar, and I never dreamed about beating him.”

“He was such a great horse. What a competitor, with such heart. In the World Cup, we had him beat at the quarter pole. But he just looked Soul of the Matter in the eye and just dug in. Broke my heart. I truly thought [Soul of the Matter] had him beat cold.”

Alex Hassinger, who trained Cigar for first nine starts of his career, seven of them on turf.

“I remember Bill Mott called me up after he’d started him four times [on turf], and he said, ‘You want to tell me about that maiden win on the dirt?’ I told him he went six furlongs in 1:09 and 2 without Valenzuela shaking a stick at him. He said, ‘Okay, thanks.’ And that was it.”

“He was by Palace Music, and the thing you remember about him, he had that incredible shoulder, neck, and head that you might not ever see again. And his walk. He had a swagger about him. Even when he was young, he had that swagger. He’d be in the paddock on the farm, and he’d look around for people. He’d love to get petted, and there was even a girl there at the farm that fed him grape soda. Even from the get-go, he had that mind and constitution that you just knew was going to make him great.”

“We had 120 [2-year-olds] for Brookside out at the farm, and we had 100 stalls and 30 round pens. So, you had to make decisions on who got the stalls. Cigar didn’t make the main barn. He actually spent some time in one of the pens, living outside, and that was one year when we had a lot of rain. He was out there in the mud.”

“Cigar was the type of horse that was never going to be a precocious 2-year-old or an early 3-year-old. He was by Palace Music, so that’s one of the reasons he was on turf, but we also had to manage him, work through some of the things that he went through. We knew he’d get better with age.”

“He was one of those horses who could do 12-second eighths forever.”