Ten Things You Should Know: Cigar Mile
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
Originally published on November 25, 2010
1) The Cigar Mile is run at Aqueduct Race Track in Queens, New York. It is open to 3-year-olds and up.
2) The race was originally named for the New York Racing Association and called the NYRA Mile. NYRA is the not-for-profit operator of Belmont, Aqueduct, and Saratoga.
3) The race was run for the first time in 1988. In 1997 the race was re-named the Cigar Mile for the Hall of Fame horse who won the race in 1994.
4) The inaugural Cigar Mile was won by the Woody Stephens-trained Forty Niner, the same winner of that year’s Travers and Haskell Stakes. The future Hall of Famer Precisionist finished third.
5) In 1991, 15 horses entered the gate, the most in the race’s history. Rubiano, who would be named champion sprinter in 1992, beat 14 of his rivals in the final race of his 4-year-old season.
6) Congaree is the only two-time winner of the Cigar Mile. The Bob Baffert-trained colt won the race in 2002 and 2003. Congaree had previously won the 2001 Wood Memorial, also run over the Aqueduct track.
7) The gelding Affirmed Success, son of Triple Crown winner Affirmed, finished second in the 1998 Cigar Mile before finishing first in 1999. He completed the trifecta with a third in 2000. Affirmed Success currently resides at Old Friends in Kentucky.
8) Ten 3-year-olds have won the Cigar, the most recent being Connect in 2016. In 2013 Flat Out became the oldest winner at 7-years-old.
9) The current stakes record time was set by the 3-year-old Discreet Cat in 2006.
10) Jockey Jerry Baily won the Cigar Mile five times. His wins included the mount on the race’s current namesake in 1994. He also rode Congaree for his two wins.