In 1948, Citation became the eighth horse to win the American Triple Crown and, in a 45-race career between 1947 and 1951, became the first horse in history to win over $1 million in prize money. Bred and owned by Warren Wright Snr., under the name Calumet Farm, Citation was by Bull Lea, leading sire in North America five times between 1947 and 1953, out of Hydroplane, a mare by Hyperion, leading sire in Great Britain six times between 1940 and 1954.
Trained by Horace A. “Jimmy” Jones, Citation won eight of his nine races as a juvenile and was named American Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse in 1947. Citation also won 19 of his 20 races in 1948. His sole defeat that year came in the Chesapeake Trial Stakes, run over 6 furlongs at Havre de Grace Race Track in Maryland. Sent off at odds of 1/4, on a muddy track, he was beaten by Saggy, a “baggy-legged auction colt” who never won another race. Eddie Arcano – having his first ride on Citation after the tragic drowning of his previous jockey, Al Snider – said afterwards, “I could have caught him, but I wasn’t about to burn up that horse for an $8300 pot with all those $100,000 races laying ahead of us.”
In any event, Citation went on to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes – by an aggregate of 17 lengths – as part of a 16-race winning streak that would last until January 1950. In fact, prior to the Kentucky Derby, Jimmy Jones stepped aside to allow his father, Ben, to be named as the official trainer of Citation and, afterwards, jockey Eddie Arcano donated a share of his prize money to the widow of Al Snider.
Citation was named American Horse of the Year in 1948 but, having developed arthritis in the fetlock of his near front leg, didn’t race again for 13 months. On his return, at Santa Anita, he won an allowance race to extend his winning streak to 16 consecutive races. When the proprietor of Calumet Farm, Warren Wright, died in December 1950, he specified that Citation remain in training long enough to earn over $1 million in prize money. So he did, winning the Hollywood Gold Cup in July 1951 to take his career earnings to $1,085,760.