The nation’s Horse of the Year Cigar was the latest link to fame for the Pons family and 113-acre Country Life Farm in Bel Air, Md. Home to that year’s leading Mid-Atlantic sire Allen’s Prospect, plus Citidancer, sire of three 1995 Maryland Million winners, Country Life was also the birthplace of Cigar, the first Maryland-bred named Horse of the Year since Challedon in 1939 and ’40.
Adolphe Pons purchased the farm at the height of the Depression in 1933 for $18,000. Funds for the initial purchase came partly from the 2-year-old earnings of Discovery, whom Adolphe had leased for racing purposes in 1932 from the horse’s breeder, Walter Salmon of Mereworth Stud. Discovery was sold to Alfred Vanderbilt Jr. before the final start of his juvenile campaign and went on to become a legendary weight carrier and broodmare sire.
- The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale showed impressive figures thanks to the Israel Cohen dispersal, with 23 horses of racing age selling for $1,599,900, an average of $69,561.
Highlighting the dispersal, and the auction, were two unraced 2-year-old colts: a son of Seattle Slew out of the In Reality mare Bald Facts for $260,000, setting a record as the most expensive horse to sell at auction in Maryland, and Movin On Up, by Time for a Change out of the Alydar mare Tin Pan Aly, for $210,000.
Cohen’s multiple allowance-winning 4-year-old Forest Wildcat sold for $57,000 to New Farm. The son of Storm Cat won five of seven starts after the sale, earned $429,126. His four stakes wins included the Finger Lakes Breeders’ Cup-G3 and Maryland Breeders’ Cup Handicap-G3. He went on to sire 70 stakes winners, a champion, and is the dam sire of champions.
- Maryland-bred multimillionaire Concern, winner of the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1, was retired to Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, Md. The leading earner ($3,079,350) to retire to stud in the region, Concern was being syndicated by his owner/breeder Robert Meyerhoff. Shares were $60,000 and a live foal season $10,000.