2019 Death of Cigar Mile Winner Lion Tamer Reported

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Lion Tamer, ridden by Jose Santos, shown winning the 2004 Cigar Mile

Lion Tamer, winner of the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Racetrack in 2004, died in Jamaica at age 19 on September 3, 2019, due to a heart attack. The chestnut son of Will’s Way had been standing stud at Orange Valley Estates in Trelawny, Jamaica since 2017 after standing for nine seasons at Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana.

Trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Michael Tabor, Lion Tamer was ridden by Jose Santos to be the upset 12-1 winner of the 2004 Cigar Mile by 1 1/4 lengths over multiple graded stakes-winner Badge of Silver in a final time of 1:33.46.

Lion Tamer earned three other graded victories in his career, taking a trio of Grade 2’s with wins in the Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park as a sophomore and the Richter Scale Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Gulfstream and Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland as a 4-year-old.

Lion Tamer also added two other Grade 1 placings to his resume at 5, finishing third in the Vosburgh and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, both at Belmont Park. Lion Tamer wrapped up his career with earnings of $1,000,727 and a consistent record of 8-3-2 from 20 lifetime starts.

At the time of his retirement to stud, Lion Tamer was the only millionaire standing in Louisiana, attracting the attention of breeders and covering 34 mares in his first year at Clear Creek. From nine American crops, Lion Tamer’s top progeny include multiple stakes winner Heavy on Themister, stakes winner Win Lion Win, and Grade 3-placed stakes winner Southern Dude.

In January of 2017, Lion Tamer was transferred to Orange Valley Estates where he stood for three seasons prior to his death. His Jamaican crops include 3-year-old filly Golden Wattle, who defeated males to win Jamaica’s richest juvenile race, the Supreme Ventures Jamaica 2-Year-Old [JM $4 million], on December 27.

Lion Tamer bred 20 mares in his final year at stud, producing a handful of foals that are now 2-year-olds working towards their debuts.

Out of the stakes-placed Olympio mare Tippecanoe Creek, Lion Tamer was bred in Kentucky by Paul Smith.