Slaying a Knight

Instead, Patton worked his way into the footnotes in North Carolina and into the headlines here in Colorado. He might have to wave bye-bye to Chauncey, but CU students probably won't be burying their heads in War and Peace come next February, or the one after that. With any luck, they'll be cheering on Patton's next crop of recruits.

"These players can hold their heads up high," the coach said. "They surpassed their goals." In the cheap seats at the Coors Events Center, other heads may also be held up high. Men's roundball is back in Boulder.

While we wait around for next season, have you heard about the Buff OneCard? This summer, the University of Colorado is going to issue a new kind of student ID that will do multiple duty as a debit card for bookstore and vending-machine purchases, a dormitory key and a long-distance phone card, among other things.

If the administration has its head on straight, the Buff OneCard will also denote membership in the Ricardo Patton Fan Club.

Now, about Ceal Barry and her Buffaloes...

Close, but no Cigarillos.
The word from Bluegrass country is that Cigar is firing blanks. The great thoroughbred, a two-time Horse of the Year and the most successful runner of his era, was gracefully retired after failing to repeat in last fall's Breeders' Cup Classic. He had been scheduled for at least 85 trips to the breeding shed in 1997--at $75,000 per date. Pretty good for a gigolo who doesn't even pick up the dinner check.

Not so fast, big guy.
Down at Coolmore's Ashford Stud, in Versailles, Kentucky, the first sixteen mares Cigar visited in his new career as lover and father have all come up empty. None are in foal. It appears that he is sterile.

In his great racing career, no one ever questioned the potency of the seven-year-old son of Palace Music and Solar Slew. Over four seasons, Cigar won 19 of 33 starts, including 1 races in a row in 1995 and 1996. If somebody would pony up--let's see here, another $185--Cigar's lifetime earnings would come to a cool $10 million, the most in horse-racing history.

Late last year owner Allen Paulsen sold a three-quarter interest in Cigar to Coolmore and several partners for a reported $25 million. Orders poured in from all over the world: The Morning Line had it that Cigar could likely become the greatest stud since Northern Dancer and Alydar.

No such luck. No Cigarillos.
To his credit, ex-owner Paulsen expects to buy back his racehorse should he fail at stud, which now appears to be the case. Rumors floated around the racing world two weeks ago that Cigar would return to the track, but Paulsen quelled those. Last week there was even talk of trying to clone the great champion. Paulsen put an end to that idea, too--and not just because the Jockey Club, which registers thoroughbreds, has long stated its opposition to cloning schemes.

"I think I'll take him back to my farm and take care of him," the classy Mr. Paulsen said.

That, of course, is just as it should be. Paulsen won't race again with a great one whose day has passed. He won't abandon a great one just because his genes can't be passed along. More power to him, and to Cigar. At Allen Paulsen's farm, there will now be two champions--one equine, one human.

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