He was known for his stick work (whipping) and in 1948 won the Peter Pan Stakes on Escadu. It was on Escadru where he famously challenged Citation on the far turn in that years Belmont Stakes. Kirkland and Escadru made a bold run where the lead was whittled to 2 lengths with just 3/8 of a mile to go. Citation then spurted clear and became the eighth Triple Crown winner while the team of Kirkland and Escadru settled for 3rd.
Mr. Kirkland won many of the east coast's biggest races. They included: the 1944 Delaware Handicap on Everget, the 1946 Massachusetts Handicap on Pavot and the Rhode Island Handicap of that year on Man O' Glory.
- "A Racing Life" by Allen Woodville" (1969)