CITATION (SportsCentury) w/BONUS FOOTAGE
In 1948 the even-tempered horse who lacked WHIRLAWAY'S flair became racing's eighth Triple Crown winner - it was 25 years before any horse equaled his achievement. Though he had a particular habit of not giving his full attention to the race, occasionally even gazing up at a tree as he rounded a turn, he was fast and determined; he had an enormous stride and his courage was legendary.
CITATION was born and raised at racing's most exclusive address...Calumet Farm located in the heart of Kentucky's Blue Grass Country near Lexington; he was foaled April 11, 1945, and was by BULL LEA...a kind and gentle stallion and out of HYDROPLANE II, an imported English mare by the immortal HYPERION. The stable produced six Horses of the Year and four Kentucky Derby winners in the 1940's. CITATION always symbolized the great Calumet glory days as they dominated American breeding and racing like no other outfit has or ever will again. Calumet had owned many outstanding horses: WHIRLAWAY, PENSIVE, PONDER, ARMED, COALTOWN, BEWITCH, TWO LEA, HILL GAIL, IRON LIEGE and TIM TAM and much of their success had been due to the great stallion, BULL LEA, who sired many of the horses mentioned.
In 1947, CITATION'S first year at the track, the bay colt won $155,680 and was named Two-Year-Old Horse-of-the-Year. Calumet had so many other great runners that year that the farm banked $1,402,236 - the first $1 million year for any racing stable in the world. Some called it Calumet luck, others said, "if it's by BULL LEA and trained by the JONES', how could you miss?" BULL LEA lost the 1938 Kentucky Derby to LAWRIN, trained by BEN JONES, disappointment at the time, it was an example of Calumet luck for his defeat was the reason WARREN WRIGHT, the master of Calumet, hired the JONES'. When the JONES' arrived at Calumet in 1939, the WRIGHTS' had a handful of cups...when JIMMY JONES left in 1964 more than 500 trophies covered the shelves in the horse-shoe trophy room! The following year in the Spring of 1948, a tragic event struck Calumet - AL SNIDER who had ridden CITATION so brilliantly took a few days off to fish with a couple friends in a cruiser off the Florida Keys. All three disappeared...never to be seen again. With the sudden loss of AL SNIDER and the Kentucky Derby nearing, Calumet set its sites on racing's greatest rider.
EDDIE ARCARO and CITATION made their debut as a team in April 1948 but their separate star powers were not aligned as they lost to SAGGY on a muddy track in the Chesapeake Trial - an insignificant tune-up race before the Kentucky Derby. CITATION came back with a vengeance to win the Kentucky Derby by 3-1/2 lengths, the Preakness by 5-1/2 lengths and the grueling Belmont by 8 lengths. CITATION ran nine more times as a three-year-old and won every race...that particular season saw CITATION win 19 times in 20 starts with a season-record earnings of $709,470 for that year giving him a total of $865,150 in overall earnings. His accomplishments went unparalleled: he became the eighth Triple Crown winner, was Horse-of-the-Year, Best Sprinter, Best Handicapper and Champion Three-Year-Old! That was the last of the towering greatness of CITATION.
CITATION came out of his 1948 campaign with osselet trouble on his left fore ankle (a bony growth) and was later bothered by tendon complications. He was forced to sit out his entire four-year-old season missing the year considered to be a Thoroughbred's prime and although he was brought back at five and six-years-old, it was not back to the form he had previously been...things were never the same again. When he returned to the races, CITATION revealed his most glaring fault...he could not or would not carry weight. Although just a shell of what he had been, CITATION was still a very good horse at five-years-old and WRIGHT thought a few rich California purses could earn $46,185 and would push CITATION ahead of STYMIE as the world's greatest money winner, CITATION returned to action on January 11, 1950, and won a 6 furlong race at Santa Anita and regenerated all of the old excitement among his loyal followers...it was his 16th consecutive win...the longest streak in modern racing history. This was followed by a series of tough losses that year as CITATION won only two of nine starts but finished no worse than second in the others.
His losses were mostly to the talented, Irish-bred NOOR, a son of NASRULLAH, whom he was constantly giving weight to. In 1948 he could have beaten him but in 1950 he was not the CITATION of old and NOOR became his nemesis. WARREN WRIGHT died on December 28, 1950 - he had set his heart on having CITATION become the first millionaire in the history of the turf and CITATION was $61,370 shy of it. CITATION achieved it by winning the $100,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 14, 1951, after which he was immediately retired..."MRS. WRIGHT called me and said to send him home because that's the way MR. WRIGHT would've wanted it", said JIMMY JONES.
BEN JONES considered CITATION the most intelligent horse he ever handled and that probably accounted for the colt's great adaptability. He won sprints and distance races from 6 furlongs to two miles, beat older horses under different jockeys at twelve different tracks in seven states. He won races in the rain, wind, sun and it didn't matter if the track was hard, soft or covered with two inches of clinging mud...he could do it all and that's the mark of greatness. Regardless of the opposition or distance CITATION would not be defeated.
From 1947-1951 CITATION started 45 times and won 32 times with ten seconds, two thirds and one fifth place. He won $1,085,760 but his two and three-year-old-years had been fantastic, in 29 starts he finished second twice and won all the rest! But more than his record, it was the colt's unremitting courage and will to win that made him the most popular horse since MAN O'WAR. When he was on the track it was power contained...on the track it was power released. At stud, CITATION proved less successful than had been expected. His most noted progeny include a Champion Filly in SILVERSPOON and a Preakness winner in FABIUS but nothing that remotely approached the greatness that was CITATION.
On August 8, 1970, the gallant and noble CITATION, aged 25, died at Calumet. He was buried in the Calumet graveyard at the foot of his sire, BULL LEA's statue and as one looks at his grave, the words of BEN JONES come to mind, "...CITATION was the greatest of them all...I've tried to fault him but I just can't find any holes. A horse could not come any greater and I do not believe there has ever been a horse greater than him in any century."
It was not until 1973 that another horse, SECRETARIAT, won the Triple Crown. Many feel CITATION was the greatest racehorse since MAN O'WAR and the greatest until SECRETARIAT. He probably was a bit under-appreciated because Calumet had so many good horses in the 1940's plus he was the fourth Triple Crown winner in an eight-year span. Had you been able to put SECRETARIAT in 1948 and put CITATION in 1973 many are confident that CITATION would be remembered as fondly and affectionately as SECRETARIAT. A deserving salute to one of racing's greats can be yours!
AS AN ADDED BONUS...Four priceless segments on CITATION are included after the running of the main feature:
1) The death of Jimmy Jones, CITATION's trainer, makes its way through the racing world...he was in poor health the past few months and died at the ripe old age of 96-years-old in his homestate of Missouri
2) An A+++ lengthy feature that aired on CBS News' "Sunday Morning" that compared SECRETARIAT to CITATION; vintage footage of CITATION from racing's golden age is shown throughout as is generous footage of SECRETARIAT retired at Claiborne Farm and also of his racing feats. The connections of both horses acknowledge each other's great and legendary champions and give accolades but in the end...Penny Tweedy (SECRETARIAT's owner) responds, "SECRETARIAT stands alone", and Jimmy Jones (CITATION's trainer) firmly holds strong to his belief that, "no horse can compare to CITATION...he ran any distance, on any track, in any weather, and at any time could take on ANY horse...PERIOD!"
3) CIGAR, the 1995 and 1996 Horse-of-the-Year, attempts to tie CITATION's 16-straight win streak in the 1996 Citation/Arlington Challenge at Arlington Park; CITATION's trainer Jimmy Jones is in attendace at age 89 and still holds firm that CITATION is STILL the best horse that ever ran and that CIGAR would have to prove a lot more than this to convince him of his greatness. Jones also stated, "...that the horses CIGAR has run against don't compare in the least to those that CITATION had to browl with and... it's impossible to compare two horses from two different eras...separated by nearly half a century."
4) "BEN JONES: MONARCHS OF THE TURF" - a near-extinct instant classic mini-documentary production on the life of trainer, BEN JONES, with extra rare film footage of many of his stable stars: WHIRLAWAY (1941 Triple Crown winner), PENSIVE (1944 Kentucky Derby winner), the super filly TWILIGHT TEAR (1944 Horse of the Year ) and CITATION (1948 Triple Crown winner).
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|