Hi! Here’s my next cool story. I’m thinking up these things faster than I can write them! My friend, Bridget (the horse freak), insisted that I made this story. The only thing is, this story is more of a detective story than the regular SWATKat stuff. So I hope you like it. There is a bit of technical stuff in here about horse racing, so if you don’t understand a thing about it, E-Mail me with your question and I’ll gladly answer it! (I love getting mail!)
P.S. I just to happen to have a picture or two of Cigar. If you want a copy, E-Mail, and I’ll try to send it to you (my uploading thing died the other week, so it’s pretty hard for me to upload stuff).
This story is dedicated to the great racehorse champion Cigar.
In the world of sports, there is sometimes a competitor who rises above all others. This is a story of one such legend– Anonymous
Close, But No Cigar
Breeder’s Cup Classic, October 1995 Jerry Bailey sat atop Cigar in the post parade. The track was labeled ‘sloppy’. It would be Cigar’s first race in the mud, and all eyes were upon him. Jerry wore the characteristic blue sleeves with the white stars, red cap and the red, white and blue double P on his back.Trevor Denman sat in the announcer’s booth, ready to call the race. Cigar and the other horses reached the starting gate. Several of the assistant starters started to load up the horses.
“Halling is in the gate,” Trevor Denman announced. “Cigar is next, in quest for a perfect season, he has 11 in a row and is now entering the starting gate with 10 of the best the world has to offer trying to beat him.”
Cigar walked calmly into the number 10 gate. He snorted and bobbed his head.
“One more behind the gate, that is ultra long-shot Jedd Forest, as the tote board reads 99 to one, 3 to 5 for would be champion Cigar. They’re in the gate for the twelfth running of the Breeder’s Cup Classic.”
Jerry Bailey gathered up the reigs in his hands, waiting for the break.
“And they’re off!” Trevor called as the staring gates sprung open and the horses charged out of the gate.
“French Deputy, STAR STANDARD strikes out for the lead and he is aggressively ridden here, it’s Star Standard to the lead! AND CIGAR IS KEYED UP TODAY!! He’s very competitive and right up there in third, and on the inside it’s L’Carriere (pronunced La-Carry-Air) as they make the bend onto the backstretch!”
Jerry Bailey was trying to hold Cigar back a bit, but the champion was chomping on the bit, raring to go to the lead. Jerry glanced at L’Carriere and Star Standard in front of him.
“Star Standard leads, L’Carriere pressing on the inside, and Jerry Bailey with a hard hold of the pent up power of Cigar restrained in third. Peaks And Valleys in the clear on the outside fourth, Unnacounted For is fifth French Deputy from off the pace today, England’s Halling is now seventh on the outside, Tinner’s Way is next, then it’s Soul Of The Matter, whose down on the fence about 9 lengths from the lead. Jedd Forest next, and Concern is just where he was last year at this time, last about a dozen lengths from the front.”
Jerry Bailey looked behind him. Unaccounted For was right behind them, and Soul Of The Matter was slowly creeping up between horses. Cigar was still in a hurry to get to the front.
“The opening quarter went in 24 and one fifth seconds. Star Standard on the outside, L’Carriere pressing for the lead with 6 furlongs to go. And Cigar wants to go to the lead but Jerry Bailey says No, Not yet! Unaccounted For in fourth toward the rail with 5 furlongs to run. The opening half mile went in 48 and one fifth seconds. Soul Of The Matter has to pick it up and he threads himself between horses and farther back it’s French Deputy, only 3 and a half length’s from the lead, the Paeks And Valleys followed by Halling.”
Jerry Bailey gave Cigar more head and Cigar instantly swept up next to L’Carriere. The two horses ran neck and neck for a few seconds, when Cigar passed him and came level to Star Standard.
” A break of 3 to Jedd Forest, and Tinner’s Way, Concern is still last-CIGAR!!! Cigar makes his move as he sweeps to the lead with a dramatic rush with 3 furlongs to go and Jerry Bailey turns him loose!!! He guides him down to the rail as they turn for home. Unaccounted For down inside. It’s a quarter-mile between Cigar and a perfect season!! Coming down to the last furlong with a 2 and a half length lead and Jerry Bailey calls on Cigar for everything he has! L’Carriere is weakening second on the inside, Unaccounted For on the outside and Soul Of The Matter, And here he is! The incomparable. Invincible, Unbeatable Cigar! He has won it and look at this time over this track, 1-59 and 2. He beat the best the world had to offer, and Mother Nature too, here he is Cigar!”
Jerry Bailey raised his arm in triumph. Cigar neighed and slowed down to a canter.
“I told you he’d win!” Jake Clawson boasted to Chance. “How could think Concern would win? He was 50 to one!”
“I only watched it because the football game was rained out. Besides, I picked Concern because I liked his name.”
Jake started to laugh. “Because you liked his name? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!”
Jerry Bailey hopped off of Cigar and took off his cap, revealing his grey fur and black hair. He met with Bill Mott, Cigar’s trainer, and Allen Paulsen, Cigar’s owner, in the winner’s circle. Bill Mott had scraggly yellow fur and brown hair. Allen Paulsen was a bit older and had brown fur. His hair was once black but it had turned grey with age.
Mayor Manx congratulated the three personally and handed the the Breeder’s Cup trophy, which was a large statue of a prancing horse.
“I present you three fine kats this award for a job well done with that fabulous racehorse, and remember, vote for me!”
None of the kats noticed someone lurking in the shadows, who kept a watchful eye on Cigar.
Ex-Lt. Steele leaned against the front of Enforcer headquarters. He had already given tickets to everyone violating the law on the street. Feral had demoted him to parking tickets after he tried to steal Feral’s job as Commander of the Enforcers. How he hated writing parking tickets. It was so boring and his paws had started to hurt.
Felina Feral stepped outside, searching for Steele. She found him half asleep against the wall.
Steele woke up when he heard her approach.
“Steele,” Felina said, glaring at him. “I have orders from Commander Feral to promote you.”
“Really?” Steele hoped. “What am I going to do now?”
“You’ve been chosen to go on guard duty.”
“And, who or what am I going to be guarding? Mayor Manx?”
“In your dreams, creep. You’re to guard a horse.”
Steele’s jaw dropped to the ground.
“You start tomorrow morning.”
“Do you really think the TurboKat needs any more fine tuning?” Chance asked.
Jake was listening to one of his albums at the loudest volume possible while fiddling with several wires piled on the floor.
“Chance, the radar doesn’t work and the brake cables need replacing. Not only that but we’re low on missiles. Dark Kat cleaned us out yesterday.”
“When do you think we’ll be able to fly again.”
“I’d say It’ll be safe to fly it by tomorrow but it might not be fully finished for a week.”
“That’s just perfect,” Chance grumbled. “What happens if Callie calls today?”
“Well, we might finally have a chance to try out the TurboDragon.”
“If you say so.”
Steele stepped into the barn area of MegaKat racetrack. Grooms, jockeys and horses were everywhere. He spied a groom walking past and he stopped him.
“Can you tell me where to find a Mr. Bill Mott?”
“Sure, he’s down the third isle, eighth stall on the left. He’s inspecting one of his horses.”
“Thanks,” Steele said and headed off to find Bill Mott. He found him looking at the hoof of a dark brown horse with a flag shaped mark on his face. “Um, excuse me. are you Bill Mott?”
The kat looked up. “Why yes. You must be that guard for my horse.”
“Where is the horse?”
“You’re looking at him.”
“I just thought he’d be in a confined area, if you’re trying to keep him away from trouble,” Steel murmured.
“Keep an eye on him. I have to go and watch my newest horse run in today’s race. Don’t let him out of your sight.”
“You can count on me, Billy.”
“Good. And don’t you ever call me Billy again.” He left Steele alone with Cigar.
He sat in the lawn chair next to the stall.
A kat in a trenchcoat stood in the shadows of the adjoining stall. He waited until Steele had fallen asleep, which didn’t take so long. He slowly crept out of the stall and opened Cigar’s. The horse snorted and pranced nervously.
“Easy boy. Don’t worry, you won’t be here in this stuffy stall much longer.”
Later that night…
Jake and Chance had just finished working on an Enforcer car when their alarm went off.
Jake answered it. “Yes, Mrs. Briggs, what seems to be the problem?”
“SWATKats, someone has stolen a valuable racehorse. Steele was supposed to be guarding him, but he fell asleep on the job.”
“That figures,” Chance muttered. “What was the horse that was stolen?”
Jake looked at Chance with a look of surprise.
“Meet me at MegaKat City Racetrack,” Callie said.
“We’ll be there as soon as we can, Mrs. Briggs,” Jake replied as he hung up the phone.
“C’mon buddy, let’s go find that horse!”
Felina paced back and forth in front of Cigar’s empty stall. Bill Mott and Allen Paulsen were busy screaming at Feral, who looked like he could kill Steel several times over.
“How let a horse worth 9 million dollars get stolen??!!” Bill Mott yelled. “I need that horse back within two days. He is entered in the Pacific Classic and if I don’t have him back by then, I’m gonna sue you for every penny you own!” Bill Mott’s face was turning red from anger. “And, you have better fire that incompetent twink cowering in the corner!” he yelled as he pointed to Steel.
Feral smiled. “Don’t worry about him. I have a worthy punishment already planned for him.”
Allen Paulson spoke up. “I don’t care if he’s back in time for the race in time, I just want him brought back safely.”
“You can count on us,” Feral said as he headed off to round up more Enforcers to begin a search.
Jerry Bailey leaned against the stall door, next to Callie. He had canceled all his future rides when he heard the news.
“When are those SWATKats going to get here?” he asked.
“Soon, I hope,” Callie replied, looking up in the sky.
T-Bone and Razor hovered over the track, trying to find a place to land. “We can’t land on the track or the infield,” Razor said, looking out of the cockpit. “Let’s try the backlot. There shouldn’t be many cars there.”
“You’ve got it,” T-Bone said, turning the jet.
“I remember every time Cigar won a race,” Jerry said. “He’d eat his victory peppermints and pose for the media. I swear he knows when he wins a race. He’s the smartest horse I’ve ever ridden.”
“They’re here!” Felina cried out.
T-Bone and Razor walked over.
“I’m so glad you came,” Callie told T-Bone.
“I’m glad we found a place to land,” he laughed.
Callie nodded. “I’d like you to meet-”
“Jerry Bailey!” Razor gasped as he walked over to the famous jockey and shook his paw. The two were almost the same size, only Razor was a few inches taller.
“I see you’ve heard of me,” Jerry chuckled.
“Heard of you? I’ve seen every one of Cigar’s races. I’m your biggest fan!”
“Ahem,” Felina growled. “I think we have a missing horse to find.”
T-Bone leaned against the stall door. “The Enforcer’s checked the stall out already. They didn’t find any clues.”
“I know,” Razor mumbled, staring at the stall floor. “Hey Jerry, what kind of shoes were Cigar wearing?”
“Bar shoes on the front and fullered ones in the back.”
“Bar shoes?” Callie asked.
Jerry nodded. “They help to keep traction on sloppy tracks. They’re raised in the back so they can dig into the ground.”
“Was Cigar the only horse wearing bar shoes in this part of the barn?”
“Yes,” Jerry replied.
Razor pointed to the hoofprints leading out of the barn.
“You’re a genius,” Felina told Razor, who just smiled.
They followed the prints out of the barn and into the nearby woods. The prints led them to a small shack.
Razor walked into the small dark house. He handed Felina and Jerry flashlights. The place was completely empty.
Callie and T-Bone searched the perimeter of the building while the others looked for clues.
“Hey, I found something!” Jerry cried out. He held up several pieces of straw.
“At least we’re on the right track,” Felina muttered to no one in particular.
Callie and T-Bone walked in.
“The hoofprints ended a few feet farther, then continued as tire tracks,” Callie informed the others. “The tire tracks led out onto the road. There’s no way we can track them any further.”
Jerry Bailey ram his paw through his hair. “Now what do we do?”
Later that evening, Callie, the SWATKats and Jerry sat on the steps at the back entrance to Enforcer headquarters, waiting for Felina to find any records.
“I wonder if I’ll ever see him again?” Jerry sighed.
“If there’s anyone who can find him, the SWATKats can,” Callie said. “Isn’t that right, guys?”
Neither of them answered. They didn’t want to promise any miracles.
The door opened and Felina stepped out, a manilla folder in her paw. She smiled and handed it to Razor. He sifted through the contents with interest.
“What does it say?” T-Bone asked.
“It seems Cigar isn’t the only missing racehorse. Over the past few months, four lesser known horses were stolen. Diplomatic Jet, Serena’s Song, Louis Quatorce and Silver Goblin. There are two suspects listed, but the Enforcer’s don’t have enough evidence to convict them. A Mr. Carl Baiter and A Mr. Earnest Fischer.”
Felina handed him another piece of paper. “I just found this ad in the paper. It seems Carl Baiter is selling horses for a pretty hefty price.”
Razor smiled. “I think we might have our horse thief.”
“I never thought I’d see the day when one of the SWATKats wasn’t wearing his mask,” Felina said, eyeing Razor. He wore a backwards baseball cap, a t-shirt and jeans. A pair of dark sunglasses were substituted for a mask. “You look like an over-sized teenager,” she commented.
“Hey, do you seriously think this guy will answer the door and see me there in my flight suit and say ‘Oh, a SWATKat! C’mon in and I’ll show you a famous racehorse I stole the other night!” He said sarcastically. “I don’t think so.” He turned to Jerry, who was also in disguise. “OK, you know what to do, I’ll distract him while you check for their lip tattoos.”
Jerry nodded. “Got it. Let’s go.”
Razor rang the doorbell of Carl Baiter’s house.
The door opened, and a medium sized black kat answered the door.
“Yes, can I help you?”
Razor nodded and shook Carl’s hand. “Hi, my name’s Sam McCollins and this is my friend Jeremy White. I read your ad in the paper and I would like to take a look at some of them.”
Carl smiled. “I just happen to have four that are very beautiful animals. Follow me,” he said as he showed them to the barn.
Carl led Razor and Jerry into the stable area. Four horses poked their heads out of their stalls. Razor looked all the horses carefully, stopping in front of a stall which had a grey horse in it. Carl opened the stall doors and led Razor inside.
Jerry took the opportunity to check for tattoos.
Razor picked up the horse’s front leg, examined it, and put it back down. “How old is the horse?”
“4 years,” Carl answered.
“Does he have any papers?”
“They were lost in a fire at his previous barn.”
Jerry returned and stood outside of the stall.
“Well, he’s in perfect shape.” Razor took out a pencil and a piece of paper. He scribbled something on it. “Here’s my number and I’ll call you if I decide to buy.”
“Ok, I hope to see you soon,” Carl said as they left the barn.
Razor and Jerry slowly walked toward the others, who waited just outside of the house.
“I identified them as the stolen horses, but there was no sign of Cigar. I did however find a stall that had more padlocks on it than MegaKat Bank, so he might be in that one.”
Razor nodded. “I have a plan. We’ll have to wait until night to start it.”
That night, under the cover of darkness, Razor put his plan into action.
Two horse trailers sat hidden in the trees. Razor and Felina slowly crept around the outside of the house. Razor kicked the door open, and Felina ran in and held up her gun.
Carl Baiter was caught off guard. He jumped up, out of his chair, and grabbed a gun that laid on his coffee table.
Razor held up his glovitrix and fired an octopus missile, which Carl managed to dodge. He fell to the floor and fired his gun at Razor.
Felina fired her gun at Carl, shooting the gun out of his paws.
Razor saw a set of keys laying on the coffee table. He grabbed them and put them into his pocket.
Felina charged Carl, knocking him to the floor, and handcuffed him.
“You are under arrest for horse theft,” she growled.
As she read him his ights, Razor hoped the others were doing what they were told.
T-Bone, Callie and Jerry had made their way into the barn. T-Bone and Callie each brought out one horse, while Jerry led out two. Just as Jerry was about to load the horses into the van, several gun shots went off.
Silver Goblin reared and struck Jerry on the leg with his hoof. T-Bone grabbed the spooked horse, while Callie tried to help Jerry up.
“Are you OK?”
“I think so, but my leg hurt’s pretty badly.”
Razor and Felina made their way to the barn. They left Carl with T-Bone so he could watch him. Razor walked over to the locked stall door and took out the keys. He opened the door and a horse with a flag shaped mark on his forehead nickered in a greeting. Razor grabbed Cigar by the halter and led the famous racehorse out to the trailers.
Jerry Bailey hugged the champion and handed him some peppermints.
“We better get him back. The race is going to start tomorrow,” Felina said, loading Cigar into the van.
The next morning…
Razor walked down the aisle of the barn. He wore the characteristic blue sleeves with the white stars. Jerry Bailey had talked him into riding Cigar in the Pacific Classic.
He watched Steel cleaning out stalls and laughed. The punishment fit the crime.
Carl had been sentenced to 5 years in jail with community work.
The sound of a bugle floated out over the track. Razor smiled and headed for the saddling area.
Razor stared at the track laying in front of him. He and Cigar were sitting in the starting gate.
In the stall next to him, Alex Sollis, jockey of Dare And Go smiled. “Eat my dust,” he growled as the gates flew open.
“They’re off!” Trevor Denman yelled. The scream from the crowd was deafening. “As expected, Siphon takes the lead, while Cigar tracks him comfortably in second. Dramatic Gold is in third while Dare and Go on the inside is fourth on the rail. Tinner’s Way is second from last and the super longshot, Lutheir Fever is last. As they head into the clubhouse turn, it’s still Siphon in the lead, Cigar in second and a pesky Dramatic Gold in third.”
Razor looked at Dramatic Gold, who had moved up next to him. He moved Cigar up a little to keep up with the speedball, Siphon.
“Here they come down the backstretch, It’s Siphon in the lead, Cigar is still breathing down Siphon’s neck. Dramatic Gold is in third and Dare and Go is settled in fourth. Tinner’s Way and Lutheir Fever still trail by six lengths.”
Razor urged Cigar up next to Siphon as they headed into the home turn. The two horses ran neck and neck for a few seconds, then Cigar pulled ahead.
“Cigar takes the lead! Siphon and Dramatic Gold are dropping back, they can’t keep up! But, Dare and Go is charging up on the outside! He’s pulling up next to Cigar! It’s Dare and Go who’s going for the upset!”
Razor snarled at Alex Sollis. “Eat afterburner!!” Razor yelled as he reached for his crop.
Cigar pulled to the lead and charged past Dare and Go.
“It’s Cigar, Cigar the winner by six lengths! Let this racehorse burn in your memory! We won’t see another like him in our lifetime!!”
Razor threw up his arm in victory. He slowly brought Cigar to a walk and headed the great champion Cigar towards the winner’s circle.
Well, I hoped you liked it. Unfortunately, when Cigar really ran in the Pacific Classic, under Jerry Bailey, Dare and Go swept past him to break his winning streak. Cigar went on to run in three more races. He won only one of the three. He was retired on Nov. 28, 1996-at age 6, and now resides somewhere in Kentucky. If you’d like to know more about Cigar, or the other horses mantioned, just E-Mail me!
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