Citation – 1948 Triple Crown Winner
Citation was the eighth winner of the U.S Triple Crown. He was a bay colt, foaled on April 11, 1945. He was owned and bred by Warren Wrights Calumet Farm, the most successful thoroughbred stable in American history. His sire was Bull Lea, and his dam was Hydroplane II. His fans gave him the affectionate nickname of The Big Cy.
He began his racing career in 1947. Ben A. Jones and his son H. A. “Jimmy” Jones were his trainers. Citation made his racing debut on April 22, 1947, winning a four and a half furlong maiden race at Havre de Grace by a length. Then in his second start he broke Arlington Parks track record for five furlongs. He scored his first stakes win in Washington Parks Elementary Stakes. During his two year old season his only loss was to his unbeaten stable mate Bewitch in the Washington Park Futurity. After winning the 1947 Futurity Trial Stakes Citation evened the score with his stable mate in the Belmont Futurity, handing Bewitch her first defeat. Cy scored his final juvenile victory in the Pimlico Futurity.
Citations three year old debut came in a six furlong allowance race at Hialeah, he won by a length. In the Seminole Handicap Citation won once again, beating older horses. Then he stepped back into his own division and won both the Everglades Stakes and the Flamingo Stakes with ease. The young star suffered his second defeat when Eddie Arcaro took the reins, after his regular jockey Al Snider was killed in a fishing incident. He ran second to Saggy in a very muddy Chesapeake Trial Stakes. The loss was quickly avenged, Citation won the Chesapeake Stakes from Bovard by four and a half lengths, with Saggy finishing another eleven lengths behind.
After Citations success in the Derby Trials only four stables sent out horses against the Calumet entry. At the half mile mark Coaltown led by six lengths, but Citation with Eddie Arcaro in the irons, moved past him with ease for a three and a half length victory. In the Preakness Stakes he led wire to wire, cantering to a five and a half length victory over Vulcans Forge. Before the Belmont he won the Jersey Stakes by eleven lengths. In the Belmont Stakes Citation led the field into the Belmont’s great homestretch. He won by eight lengths, tying Count Fleet’s record of 2:28 1/5. Citation had just easily swept the 1948 U.S. Triple Crown.
Then he went on to win Chicago’s Stars and Stripes Handicap, but injured his hip in the process. It took him only a few weeks of recovery to return to winning form. Then he scored in the American Derby. After that, he returned to New York to make horses such as Coaltown, Natchez, First Flight, and Spy Song inhale his dust in the Sysonby Mile. Then he won the two mile long Jockey Club Gold Cup by seven lengths. He followed the win by romping to victory in the Empire City Gold Cup. In the Pimlico Special he raced alone, for other horses were scared to face him. Even with the lack of competition he ran the race in a brilliant 1:59 4/5. Citation then headed west and won two races. At the end of his three year old year his record was 29: 27, 2. And he won 1948 Horse of the Year.
But he had developed osselet, a form of osteoarthritis affecting the fetlock joint, which kept him out of commission for a season. In January of 1950 Citation came back after his layoff to win a six furlong race at Santa Anita. At the end of the season Citation had raced nine times, won twice, and finished second seven times.
In Citations six year old season he would have retired but Warren Wright wanted Citation to be the first equine millionaire. He ran third in a six furlong sprint, and the next time out he also ran third. In the Hollywood Premiere Handicap he ran out of the money for the first time in his career. Then he lost again in the Argonaut Handicap. But then his luck turned and he won the Century Handicap, followed by a win in the American Handicap. After that, he won the Hollywood Gold Cup, beating stable mate Bewitch. Citations win put him over the million dollar mark.
After making a final public appearance at Arlington Park in Chicago he retired to Calumet Farm, along with Coaltown and Bewitch. He enjoyed moderate success as a stud and sired champion filly Silver Spoon and Preakness winner Fabius. Citation was the first champion to be painted by Richard Stone Reeves. He passed away on August 8, 1970 and was buried at Calumet Farm near his sire and dam.