Cicada was an American Thoroughbred Champion racehorse bred by Christopher Chenery's Meadow Stud. A bay filly by Bryan G, she was out of Satsuma whose dam was Hildene, a "blue hen" mare and the first horse owned by Chenery. Sired by the 1926 Kentucky Derby winner Bubbling Over, Hildene cost him $600.
Cicada was trained by Casey Hayes, who also trained Hill Prince, First Landing, and Sir Gaylord. Hayes believed in starting his horses young, so Cicada first raced in February 1961 at Hialeah Park Race Track and won easily by four and a half lengths. She won one allowance race and lost one before being entered in her first stakes race. Still a bit green, she lost the Fashion Stakes but then romped home in her third allowance. And then she wired the Blue Hen Stakes, winning by five and a half lengths. Cicada was never out of the money in her sixteen starts as a two-year-old. She won eleven of those races, six of them consecutively . The money she earned in that first year was a record for her sex.
In her first race as a three year old, she took on her elders as well as males, and won. By now, racing officials were piling on the weight. Carrying much more weight than her competitors, Cicada continued to win or place. After she won the Oaks Prep with ease, there was talk of entering her in the Kentucky Derby but it didn't happen. It proved a fateful decision, since Sir Gaylord, who had been entered instead, turned up lame. Cicada went into the Kentucky Oaks and won by three lengths. By now, Cicada had replaced Bewitch as the world's leading money-winning female Thoroughbred. She was also breaking records every time she raced.
During a workout, Cicada suffered a small injury that could have easily been treated. However, it was decided to retire her rather than risk serious hurt. As a broodmare, Cicada was not a great success. In her first season, she proved barren and was returned to the races. Retired a second time, she produced Cicada's Pride, by Sir Gaylord, who won the 1968 Juvenile Stakes at Belmont Park.
Cicada lived until she was 22, dying in 1981.