The Cigar Mile Handicap is an American Grade 1 flat horse race
for thoroughbreds three-years-old and up and is run in late November
every year at the historical Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York
City over 1 mile on dirt. The Cigar Mile Handicap is run under
handicap weight conditions.
Inaugurated in 1988 as the NYRA Mile, the Cigar Mile Handicap was
renamed in 1997 after 1994 race winner and Hall of Famer, Cigar. In
his career Cigar won five from eight starts. When retired in 1996,
Cigar had earned $9,999,813, a record that stood until Curlin topped
the $10-million mark in 2008.
Hill 'n' Dale Farms of Lexington, Kentucky became the Cigar Mile
Handicap's main sponsor in 2005. The record for the fastest time in
the Cigar Mile Handicap was set in 2006 by Discreet Cat ridden by
Garrett Gomez and trained by Saeed bin Suroor - for Sheikh
Mohammed's Godolphin racing operation.
Only one horse has ever won the Cigar Mile Handicap twice and that
was Congaree in 2002 and 2003 ridden both times by Jerry Bailey and
trained by Bob Baffert. Trainer Baffert has won three Cigar Mile
Handicaps: in 2000, 2002 and 2003, as has Todd A. Pletcher: in 2001,
2004 and 2005.
Two owners have celebrated two wins in the Cigar Mile Handicap:
Michael B. Tabor in 2001 with Left Bank and 2004 with Lion Tamer,
and Stonerside Stable in 2002 and 2003 with Congaree. Since the
Cigar Mile Handicap's inauguration, it has only been cancelled once
and that was in 1993.