Citation (April 11, 1945–August 8, 1970) was the eighth American Triple Crown winner, and one of three major North American Thoroughbreds (along with Zenyatta and Cigar) to win at least 16 consecutive races in major stakes race competition. He was the first horse in history to win one million dollars.
Owned and bred by Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, Citation was a bay colt by Bull Lea from the imported mare Hydroplane (GB), who was by the leading sire Hyperion. Although Citation was bred in Kentucky, his pedigree was largely European: of the sixteen horses in the fourth generation of his pedigree, fourteen were bred in Britain and one was bred in France. As a descendant of the broodmare Glasalt, Citation was related to the 2000 Guineas winner Colorado: the same branch of Thoroughbred "Family" 3-l later produced the Preakness Stakes winner Gate Dancer.
Citation was trained by the Hall of Fame inductee Ben Jones and his son, Hall of Famer Horace A. "Jimmy" Jones. The horse was originally ridden by Al Snider and later by Eddie Arcaro and Steve Brooks.
1947: two-year-old season
Citation won his first start as a two-year-old at Havre de Grace, Maryland. He then broke the Arlington Park track record over five furlongs in his second start. For the year, he raced nine times, winning eight starts and earning $155,680. His only loss came at the heels of his stablemate, Bewitch, in the Washington Park Futurity, which the filly won in track record time for six furlongs. Citation racked up victories in the Elementary Stakes, Futurity Trial, Futurity Stakes, and Pimlico Futurity. He was named champion two-year-old.
1948: three-year-old season
Citation started the 1948 racing season with two victories over older horse Armed, who had been named Thoroughbred racing's 1947 Horse of the Year, in an allowance race and the Seminole Handicap. It is rare for a three-year-old to defeat older horses so early in the year, let alone a top handicap star like Armed.
After Citation won the Everglades Stakes and the Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah Park, Snider drowned while fishing off the Florida Keys. Calumet Farm hired Arcaro, one of Snider's friends. In Arcaro's first start on Citation, they lost to Saggy in the Chesapeake Trial Stakes. This was the last race that Citation lost for almost two years.
Citation reversed the loss to Saggy in the Chesapeake Stakes, which he won over Bovard by 4½ lengths, with Saggy well back. Citation followed with his final Kentucky Derby prep, a win in the Derby Trial Stakes.
In the Kentucky Derby, ridden by Arcaro, Citation won by 3½ lengths over his stablemate, eventual 1949 Horse of the Year Coaltown, and Arcaro gave the widow of former jockey Al Snider a share of his Derby purse money. Citation was then sent to Baltimore where he won the Preakness Stakes by 5½ lengths. From there he won the Jersey Stakes before going to Elmont, New York, and becoming the 8th Triple Crown winner by capturing the Belmont Stakes, tying the stakes record of 2:28⅕ set by the 6th Triple Crown winner, Count Fleet.
Citation then won the Stars and Stripes Handicap, equalling Armed's track record. He next won the American Derby and the Sysonby Mile. After that came the Jockey Club Gold Cup at 2 miles (3.2 km), which he won by seven lengths over 1947 Preakness winner Phalanx. He then won the Empire City Gold Cup.
In Citation's next start, he deterred potential challengers and won the Pimlico Special in a rare walkover. Citation then traveled to California, where he finished the year with two wins, including in the Tanforan Handicap at Tanforan Racecourse.
By the end of his three-year-old season, Citation had a record of 20 starts, 19 wins and $709,470, for a new single season record. His total career record now stood at 27 victories and two seconds in 29 starts and earnings of $865,150. He had also amassed a 15-race winning streak. For his performances, Citation was named Horse of the Year, gaining 161 of a possible 163 votes in the poll conducted by Turf and Sport Digest magazine. Toward the end of his three-year-old season, he developed an osselet.
1950–1951: later career
The osselet injury kept Citation from racing in 1949, but he came back to race in 1950, winning his 16th race in a row at Santa Anita Park (a streak that stood alone among major North American stakes horses until Cigar equaled the feat in 1994-96; Zenyatta later broke the mark by winning her 19th race in a row in 2010; Rapid Redux then surpassed Zenyatta's record in 2012 with 22 straight wins, although not against major stakes competition). His owner, Calumet Farm, had brought Citation back from his injury in 1950 with the intention of making him the first horse to earn $1 million, but he came against the English import Noor, who defeated Citation four times (Citation carrying more weight in the first three encounters), in the Santa Anita Handicap at 1¼ miles, the San Juan Capistrano Handicap at 1¾ miles in world record time, the Forty Niners Handicap at 1⅛ miles in track record time, and the Golden Gate Handicap. In the latter event, Noor conceded weight to Citation and set a world record of 1:58⅕ which stood as an American record on a dirt track until Spectacular Bid broke it 30 years later. Citation's times in these races would have also been records; he did not become a millionaire at age five solely because Noor ran faster than any horse in history up to that point. Citation himself set a world record in winning the Golden Gate Mile Handicap in 1:33⅗ in a race that Noor sat out.
Citation was brought back by his owners one more time at age six in 1951 in an attempt to become the first racehorse to win a record one million dollars. After two third-place finishes, Citation finished out of the money for the first time in the Hollywood Premiere Handicap. After another loss in the Argonaut Handicap, he returned to form with victories in the Century Handicap, American Handicap, and Hollywood Gold Cup, winning over his stablemate, the mare Bewitch. The Gold Cup victory put him over $1 million in career earnings, and he was then retired to stud.
Citation retired after the Hollywood Gold Cup. As a sire at Calumet Farm, he produced a number of noteworthy offspring including the Hall of Fame filly Silver Spoon, Get Around (won $164,868), Guadalcanal (won $243,337) and 1956 Preakness Stakes winner Fabius.
He died on August 8, 1970, at the age of 25 and was buried in the horse cemetery at Calumet Farm.
In 1959, Citation was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
In the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the Top 100 U.S. Thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, Citation was ranked #3. Unlike the two horses ranked ahead of him, Citation was not retired at the end of his three-year-old season; at that time, his record stood at 27 victories in 29 races with two close seconds. The two horses ranked ahead of him, Man 'O War and Secretariat, were both retired at three years old and with only 21 races each. Man 'O War won 20 of 21 with one second, while Secretariat won 16 of his 21 races and never finished worse than fourth.
The memory of Citation was honored after his death when Dwayne Wallace, Chairman of Cessna Aircraft Company, selected the name Citation for the new business jet Cessna was designing. Hints of Citation's legacy can be found in the jet's logo in the form of a horseshoe background. Even today, pictures of Citation line the hallways of Cessna's buildings. A famous statue of Citation can be found at Hialeah Park. This statue is shown in Godfather II as Michael Corleone travels to Miami to visit Hyman Roth.
Bull Lea (USA)
|Bull Dog (FR)||Teddy (FR)||Ajax (FR)|
|Plucky Liege (GB)||Spearmint (GB)|
|Rose Leaves (USA)||Ballot (USA)||Voter (GB)|
|Colonial (GB)||Trenton (NZ)|
|Thankful Blossom (GB)|
|Hyperion (GB)||Gainsborough (GB)||Bayardo (GB)|
|Selene (GB)||Chaucer (GB)|
|Toboggan (GB)||Hurry On (GB)||Marcovil (GB)|
|Tout Suite (GB)|
|Glacier (GB)||St. Simon (GB)|
|Glasalt (GB) (family 3-l)|
- "Citation pedigree". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
- "Mayonaise - Family 3-L". Bloodlines.net. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
- Article on Citation's 16 race winning streak Retrieved 2010-9-15
- Montgomery, E.S, "The Thoroughbred", Arco, New York, 1973 ISBN 0-668-02824-6
- "Citation Named Horse of the Year in National Poll". Reading Eagle. 1948-12-04. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- Ahnert, Rainer L. (editor in chief), Thoroughbred Breeding of the World, Pozdun Publishing, Germany, 1970
- Thoroughbred Heritage: Grave Matters (photo of grave) Retrieved 2010-9-16
- Biographies: Citation Retrieved 2010-9-16
- Adapted from the article Citation (horse), from Wikinfo, licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
- Citation's Kentucky Derby
- Georgeff, Phil. Citation: In a Class by Himself (2003) Taylor Trade Publishing ISBN 0-87833-292-8
- Citation at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame