When most pilots hear the word “citation,” they think of Cessna’s line of Citation business jets rather than the famed thoroughbred “Citation” who not only won the 1948 Kentucky Derby by three and a half lengths at Churchill Downs, but also the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes to win the Triple Crown for the year. Apparently, Citation was known for his ease of handling with no complications or handling difficulties. For those reasons, Cessna decided to name its line of business jets in the horse’s honour.
Interestingly enough and according to Citation’s Wikipedia page, he was largely of British “ancestry” as of the sixteen horses in the fourth generation of his pedigree, fourteen were bred in Britain and one was bred in France.
Citation ultimately won at least 16 consecutive races in major stakes race competition and was the first horse in history to win one million dollars. After retiring and being used as a stud (Citation fathered Fabius, the 1956 Preakness Stakes winner), he died on August 8, 1970 at the ripe old age of 25 and was buried in the horse cemetery at Calumet Farm.
This weekend, Churchill Downs in Louisville Kentucky will host the 139th Kentucky Derby and more than 600 general aviation flights are expected to arrive in the Louisville area – no doubt many of them being Citations. Cessna will also pay tribute to both Citation the Kentucky Derby Winner and the Citation line of business jets by supporting customers flying in for the weekend with on-site “thoroughbred-inspired” Citation aircraft and service solutions plus a Citation Latitude mock up.