75 percent share in Cigar is sold Coolmore Stud pays estimated $18.75M

horse to stay in Ky.

November 06, 1996|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Allen E. Paulson, owner of Maryland-bred Cigar, has sold a 75 percent interest in the horse to a top international breeding operation, the Ireland-based Coolmore Stud, and a top TC international breeder-owner, Michael Tabor.

But Cigar will remain in the United States. He will stand for a $75,000 fee at Coolmore's Kentucky branch, Ashford Stud. Ashford's 475 acres adjoin Paulson's Brookside Farm near Versailles, Ky.

"It is a great honor for Ashford to stand the best horse any of us can remember," said John Magnier, an owner of Coolmore Stud.

Paulson retired the 6-year-old Cigar last week after his third-place finish Oct. 26 in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Woodbine. He had vowed that Cigar would stand at stud in this country after rejecting a $30 million offer by Japanese breeders.

For this deal, Paulson valued Cigar at $25 million. That means Coolmore and Tabor, who stands last year's Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner Thunder Gulch at Ashford, presumably paid $18.75 million for their 75 percent interest. Paulson retained 25 percent.

Paulson said: "It will ensure that one of the best horses seen in America in modern times will be available to U.S.A. breeders. I have a lot of good mares, and he'll be right next door."

Mike Pons, business manager of Country Life Farm near Bel Air, where Cigar was born, said that Paulson owns about 20 mares he would like to breed to Cigar. Paulson's 25 percent interest would allow precisely that, because Cigar will probably be bred to about 80 mares next year, Pons said.

The other 60 will probably come from all over the world.

"We are attracted to the Coolmore proposal because Coolmore is a global operation," Paulson said. "I believe that they will give Cigar the best possible chance at stud."

Pons described Coolmore Stud as "one of the creme de la creme farms in the breeding world." It stands stallions in Ireland, Australia and the United States. Its international contacts should ensure Cigar a datebook with desirable mares from around the world.

Pons speculated that one reason Paulson, 74, embraced the deal with Tabor and Coolmore was concern about providing security for Cigar at his Brookside Farm. That's like providing security for a rock star, Pons said.

A son of Palace Music out of Solar Slew, whose sire was Seattle Slew, Cigar enters the breeding world with unknown potential. But Coolmore's owners like what they see in the bay horse with the white stripe down his face.

"Our interest in the horse began when Vincent O'Brien [a Coolmore owner] saw Cigar in Dubai and was deeply impressed by him," Magnier said. "Vincent considered Cigar to be an outstanding racehorse with the looks to match and a great example of a sire line he knows so well."

Cigar is from the Northern Dancer male line, as are top Coolmore stallions Sadlers Wells, Storm Bird, El Gran Senor, Danehill, Caerleon and Fairy King.

The $4 million race in Dubai in the Middle East, which Cigar won with his most courageous performance, transformed him into an international superstar. He eventually won 16 races in a row, matching Citation's modern record, before retiring as the richest racehorse in history with earnings of $9,999,815.

Cigar is the reigning Horse of the Year and odds-on to win that honor again this year. Before taking up residence at Ashford Stud, he will make his final public appearance Saturday at Louisville's Churchill Downs.

Pub Date: 11/06/96

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