Friday, November 27, 2009

Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park Honors One of Racing's All Time Greats

Citation winning
Citation winning the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup, the final race of his career.

Today's Grade 1 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park celebrates one of racing's greats: Citation, the eighth Triple Crown champion and one of two North American Thoroughbreds (along with Cigar) to win 16 races in a row in major stakes competition. For 25 years following his Triple Crown triumph, Citation's name was used as the gold standard in Thoroughbred racing, as each year's most talented three-year-olds attempted to become "the first horse since Citation in 1948 to win the Triple Crown."

Owned and bred by Calumet Farm in Kentucky, Citation was a bay colt by Bull Lea out of the mare Hydroplane. He was Thoroughbred racing's first millionaire horse, earning $1,085,760 in a 45-race career that spanned 1947 to 1951. He was trained by Hall of Famers Ben Jones and son Jimmy Jones.

Citation in the winners circle
Citation, Steve Brooks up, after winning the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup. Pictured left to right are Thomas W. Simmons, Mrs. Steve Brooks and daughter Kathy, Goodwin Knight, Mrs and Mr. Jimmy Jones.

Citation won his first start at the old Havre de Grace Racetrack in Maryland on April 22, 1947 in a 4-1/2 furlong race. He would go on to win 32 times, finishing out of the money only once. He was Champion Two-Year-Old in 1947, Champion Three-Year-Old and Horse of the Year in 1948, and Champion Older Horse in 1951.

Injuries kept Citation from racing as a 4-year-old, but he came back to the races in 1950, winning his 16th race in a row at Santa Anita Park. His owners had brought him back to racing with the goal of becoming the first horse to win $1 million.

Citation backstretchDown the backstretch in the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup (Citation on outside).

On July 14, 1951, Citation won the Hollywood Gold Cup, pushing his career earnings past $1 million and signaling the end of his racing career. He was retired to Calumet Farm, where he sired a number of noteworthy offspring. In 1959, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. He died on August 8, 1970 at the age of 25.

Photographs courtesy of Hollywood Park.


Cheryl Ann said...

My grandfather used to tell me many stories of Citation. He really loved that horse! Thank you for the memories.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, what a wonderful "tribute" to one of the greatest horses ever to race!

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