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!”

Coaltown:
“Triple-snipble! We’ll see!”

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

Coaltown:
“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?”

Coaltown:
“Watching, dude. Just watching…”

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Secretariat’s Last Laugh

Secretariat speaks:

“Thirty-nine years later they say I did set the Preakness Stakes speed record! About …. time!!

“”In the 1991 Pimlico Special, Farma Way sped through that 1-3/16 miles race in 1:52-2/5, and that still stands as that track’s record for a race of that distance. But in 1973, before Farma Way’s heroics, I set the speed record at that track with my 1:53 run in the 1-3/16 miles Preakness Stakes, at the time a world record, track record, and Preakness record. 

“However, an electric timer device recorded my Preakness run at 1:55, and the clocking of that speed was argued over and officially changed to 1:54-2/5, which was recorded by the Pmilico official hand clocker on Preakness day.

“Finally, on June 19 this year (2012), the Maryland Racing Commission was unanimous in their decision to change the official time of my Preakness run to 1:53, correcting both previously recorded times.

“My loving owner, Penny Chenery, was relentless in her bid to get the MRC to investigate the clockings of my Preakness time and set the record straight. At long last, my Preakness time is official, a race record, 1:53 at 1-3/16 miles!

“I’m delirious with joy! I now hold all three speed records for the Triple Crown, which I won in 1973 — The Kentucky Derby, 1:59-2/5 at 1-1/4 miles; the Preakness Stakes, 1:53 at 1-3/16 miles; and the Belmont Stakes, 2:24 at 1-1/2 miles.

“I heard PC say ‘I didn’t know if it was appropriate to cheer but I couldn’t help myself’ when the Preakness speed record decision was handed down June 19.

“PC, you truly conducted a “labor of love”, as your attorney described your effort following the announcement of the decision. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, which is bigger than most!”

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