The Days Citation Shone

A son of Bull Lea, by Bull Dog, by Teddy, a prolific sire of winners and champions, Citation was a stable mate to Coaltown in the year of his Triple Crown title, 1948. Going into the Triple Crown season, Citation was Calumet Farm’s better thought of horse, while Coaltown was his heralded understudy.

On the Tuesday before the first Saturday in May’s Run for the Roses, Citation scored in the Derby Trial. Five days later in the 74th Kentucky Derby, Citation swept past his stable mate Coaltown to win the Derby by three and one-half lengths. Then he won the Preakness Stakes, the Triple’s second leg, and took time off the Triple Crown trail to win the Jersey Stakes by 11 lengths. Days later, he returned to work in the last jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. Those who doubted Citation could run a mile and one-half race, the distance of the Belmont, were left in the dust with their thoughts!

Big Cy took the Belmont by eight lengths, a record margin of victory. And he did that just a few days after his Jersey Stakes win, which came just a few days after his Preakness victory! In today’s Thoroughbred racing world, no horse runs that number of races in that number of days! Trainers and owners continue to hassle over the current Triple Crown schedule that requires three-year-olds to run three races at three different locations at three different lengths in just five weeks.

Citation at five. (A Public Domain photo from Wikimedia Commons.)

Citation at five. (A Public Domain photo from Wikimedia Commons.)

Coaltown to Citation:
“Yeah, you won the Derby, but that little $2.80 payout was the lowest price in Kentucky Derby history, dude!”

Citation to Coaltown, (snorting):
“You had the lead, and you couldn’t hold it against me! My new jock, Eddie Arcaro, he’s better than Al Snider on me, and I bet I win the Triple Crown!”

“Triple-snipble! We’ll see!”

Citation (after his Preakness and Jersey stakes victories):
“Ready for the Belmont?”

“A mile and a half? You’ll drop in your shoes! You’ve had too many races in too short a time.”

Citation (after his 8-length triumph in the Belmont):
“Where were you?”

“Watching, dude. Just watching…”


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