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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Cigar lights it up, ties Citation's mark for wins
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
July 13, 1996
Arlington International Racecourse has created a race named in honor of Citation -- the $1.05-million Arlington Citation Challenge -- for Cigar to try and tie Citation's record streak of 16 consecutive wins set from 1948 to 1950. A crowd of 34,223 packs the usually desolate track, outside of Chicago, to see if Cigar can extend a streak that has already spanned eight tracks, including one halfway across the world in Dubai on the Persian Gulf.
Despite carrying 130 pounds (giving up 8 to 14 pounds to his nine rivals) and drawing the outside post, where the six-year-old colt is floated wide on the first turn, the growing legend does not disappoint. With only mild urging from jockey Jerry Bailey, the 3-10 favorite wins by 3 1/2 lengths over runner-up Dramatic Gold in the 1 1/8-mile race.
"Everything you throw at this horse, he shrugs it off and he just wins," Bailey says. "I'm not an emotional guy, but it almost makes me cry when I ride this horse, he's that good."
Cigar's 16th straight comes almost two years after the first. The streak unassumingly started on Oct. 28, 1994 when the grandson of Seattle Slew won an allowance race at Aqueduct. It was Cigar's first race on the dirt, a wise change by trainer Bill Mott as Cigar has not lost since leaving grass.
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