Bred and owned by Calumet Farm, Citation became America’s eighth Triple Crown winner in 1948, fashioned a 16-race win streak and was the first horse with $1 million in career earnings.
Trained by the father-son combination of Ben and Jimmy Jones, Citation won his career debut April 2, 1947 at Havre de Grace in Maryland and later in the year broke the track record for five furlongs at Arlington Park. Citation added wins in the Elementary Stakes, Futurity Trial, Belmont Futurity and Pimlico Futurity that year. His only loss in nine starts as a 2-year-old was when he finished second to stablemate Bewitch in the Washington Park Futurity.
Citation opened his 3-year-old season with four consecutive victories to stretch his win streak to seven. The wins included the Seminole, Everglades and Flamingo stakes. He defeated reigning Horse of the Year Armed in the Seminole. After finishing second in the Chesapeake Trial to Saggy, Citation won his next 16 starts. His wins in 1948 included the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont, Jersey Stakes, Stars and Stripes Handicap, American Derby, Sysonby Mile, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Pimlico Special (walkover) and Tanforan Handicap. He won 19 of 20 starts that year at distances from six to 16 furlongs and was named Horse of the Year. His seasonal earnings of $709,470 set a new record. At the conclusion of his 3-year-old campaign, Citation owned a lifetime record of 27-2-0 from 29 starts and had won 15 straight races.
An osselet injury sidelined Citation for all 1949. He stretched his win streak to 16 in an allowance race in January 1950 at Santa Anita, but finished second in seven of his nine starts that year, including four losses to English import Noor, who set world records in two of those races. The highlight of Citation’s year was the Golden Gate Mile Handicap in which he set a world record of 1:33⅗.
Citation returned in 1951, finishing third in his first two starts before being out of the money for the only time in his career in the Hollywood Premiere Handicap. He then finished second in the Argonaut Handicap and returned to solid form with wins in the Century Handicap, American Handicap and Hollywood Gold Cup. In the Gold Cup, his final career start, Citation defeated stablemate Bewitch and eclipsed $1 million in career earnings. He concluded his career with a record of 32-10-2 from 45 starts and earnings of $1,085,760.
In retirement at Calumet Farm, Citation produced Hall of Fame filly Silver Spoon, as well as Guadalcanal, Get Around and 1956 Preakness winner Fabius.
Citation died Aug. 8, 1970 at Calumet at the age of 25 and was buried at the farm’s cemetery.