Colonial Affair's victory in the 1993 Belmont Stakes with Julie Krone remains the only win by a female jockey in the Triple Crown.
New Digs for #TeamJerkens
The Centennial Farm team heads into fall off of an exciting couple of weeks! We are thrilled with our four new additions, purchased at the prestigious Keeneland September Sale, and our Belmont-based horses have settled into a brand new barn. Stay tuned for more information on our newest offering.
While the Centennial Team was busy in Lexington, the Jimmy Jerkens team was busy in New York! Our horses in training, led by millionaire Wicked Strong, stayed in Saratoga Springs a little longer than usual while the New York Racing Association put the finishing touches on a newly renovated barn at Belmont Park. They did a phenomenal job. Located equidistance from the main track and training track where Jimmy Jerkens can easily utilize both surfaces, the new barn is much sleeker than the old one. Updated walls and flooring will make it easy to maintain and its size allows for jogging if the weather becomes an issue. The horses are relaxed and happy in its quiet location, complete with a spacious grazing area. Take a quick peek inside:
As the calendar turns to fall, we have quite a bit to look forward to. Make sure you're following Centennial Farms on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so you don't miss a thing!
Looking for Wicked Strong Finish on Final Spa Weekend
Entered in Grade 1 Woodward Stakes
The closing weekend feature at Saratoga Race Course is the 62nd running of the prestigious Grade 1 Woodward. Our own Wicked Strong drew the rail as the third choice in his attempt to end the meet in style.
Favored in the field is G1 Whitney runner-up Liam's Map, who heads a four-deep, speedy battalion from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher. The lightly raced four-year-old seeks his first career graded stakes victory after being nailed on the line last out. His stablemates, Coach Inge, Protonico, and Mylute, have won or placed in the G1 Preakness, G1 Clark, G2 Alysheba, and G2 Brooklyn, among other blacktype efforts.
Our own trainer, Jimmy Jerkens, also sends out second choice Effinex, winner of the G2 Suburban at Belmont in July. The multi-horse entries for Pletcher and Jerkens will be joined in the gate by Dallas Stewart's Commanding Curve, runner-up in last year's G1 Kentucky Derby, and Bay of Plenty, who took the Alydar Stakes last out for Kiaran McLaughlin.
Kelvin Pahal works Wicked Strong on September 2
Wicked Strong enters the race off of a sneaky good effort when fourth in August 8th's Whitney. While he has experienced some bad luck in 2015, including being virtually eliminated at the start of the G1 Met Mile, Wicked continues to train forwardly at Saratoga. He enters the Woodward off back-to-back bullet works, including a 36.83 blowout over the Oklahoma track on Wednesday morning. He will be joined once again by Luis Saez, who currently trails only Irad Ortiz, Jr., multiple Eclipse Award winner Javier Castellano, and Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the standings.
The $600,000 Woodward Stakes is carded as the tenth race on a twelve race card at Saratoga on Saturday, September 5. Tune in to NBC Sports Network beginning at 5pm to cheer on Wicked Strong! Post time is at 5:47 Eastern.
Centennial Hits the Saratoga Yearling Sales
Building the Future
There is always something going on in Saratoga Springs throughout the summer, but this week has been particularly jam-packed. We headed to the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale to see if we could commence the latest class!
Drafting the next round of stable stars is an involved process comprised of multiple steps and a few opinions. Our focus is on identifying colts with the potential to be outstanding racehorses and desirable stallion prospects. After combing through the catalogue for pedigrees that mesh well with our goals, the physical inspections begin. Dr. Stephen Carr, Paula Parsons, and Don Little, Jr., each examine the group. Sales evaluations include observing the horse, assessing their walk, and a veterinary appraisal. Each individual involved in the process brings a unique perspective to make sure no stone goes unturned.
Of course, the potential athletes who make the shortlist are bound to have caught the eye of others, some of whom come with awfully deep pockets. Unfortunately, across the board increases in total sales, average, and median left us empty-handed at the end of the two-day sale. Undeterred, we are on to the next group. The Fasig-Tipton team has assembled another strong catalogue for the NY Bred Preferred Yearlings sale, commencing on Saturday, August 15. New York-breds are eligible for some of the nation's biggest purses and are a constant presence in the country's biggest races. Recent graduates of the sale include Breeders' Cup winner Dayatthespa and millionaire graded stakes winner Upstart.
Team Centennial at Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion
We are looking forward to seeing how we fare over the weekend. Hope you'll join us as Team Centennial builds toward the future in search of the next Colonial Affair, Corinthian, or Wicked Strong!
Wicked Fun Saturday on Tap
There is little doubt that Saturday, August 8 at Saratoga Race Course promises to be memorable. Over 100 partners, family, and friends will join together at America's oldest sporting venue to enjoy and participate in one of the hallmark days of the country's most prestigious meet.
Fan favorite Juba, whose twitter account (@Jubacolt) has an audience of over 1,600, is the second choice in the day's sixth race. Unraced since tangling with Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist in the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont Park in May, Juba enters the race off of a sharp 35.44 drill over the Saratoga training track on Tuesday. Favored in the race is Ocean Knight, winner of the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis in January, but off since early March. Juba retains the services of regular rider Luis Saez in a salty field that also includes Havana, winner of the 2013 Grade 1 Champagne, and the graded stakes placed duo of Crafty Dreamer and Souper Knight.
The competition only gets tougher from there as our 2014 Grade 1 Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong lines up in what is likely the toughest race of 2015 so far. The historic Whitney routinely draws the best older horses in the country and the 88th edition is no exception. Nearly every horse in the field is a Grade 1 winner, with victories including the Metropolitan Handicap, Belmont Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Stephen Foster, Whitney, Travers, and Donn. We began the week at the post position draw, where NYRA's Andy Serling interviewed our own Don Little about drawing the nine, prepping on grass, and more.
Post time for Juba's Saratoga debut is 3:55 Eastern. The Whitney, with a scheduled post time of 5:46, is part of live NBC coverage from 5-6pm.
Wicked Strong gallops at Belmont
Wicked Strong continues to train towards the G1 Metropolitan Mile to be run on Saturday, June 6 at Belmont Park. He worked five furlongs in 58.98 over the main training track on Friday, May 29 with Jockey Joel Rosario.
Photo credit Susie Raisher
There were 21 Nominations for the race including some formidable opponents in Bayern, Honor Code, Private Zone, Protonico and Tonalist. Entries for the race will be taken on Wednesday, June 3.
Photo credit Susie Raisher
Centennial 2YO's Gearing Up For Racetrack
Final Farm preparations for seven 2YO's
A beautiful spring morning in Middleburg, Virginia.
Juba Steps Up for Westchester
First Stakes Race for Tapit colt
Social media fan favorite Juba has been entered in the G3 Westchester Handicap to be run Saturday, May 2 at Belmont Park. This will be Juba’s first Stakes Race and he will face a formidable field of five. The 2013 and 2014 Belmont Stakes winners, Palace Malice and Tonalist, will also be starters in the one mile race.
Photo by Adam Coglianese
Never off the board in his five lifetime starts, Juba broke his maiden running six and one-half furlongs at Gulfstream Park on March 18 and won his next start out at Aqueduct on April 4th in a first level allowance condition race going seven furlongs. His time of 1:23.58 in his last start was faster than the winner of the Carter Handicap on the same card. A bullet work going five furlongs in :59.45 last Friday made the option of the Westchester a real possibility.
President Don Little noted, “This horse seems to be on top of his game right now so after discussing it with Dr. Steve Carr and trainer Jimmy Jerkens, we figured why not give him a shot. We know it’s a step up to run against some of these seasoned Grade 1 winners but he has shown us he deserves the chance. Angel Arroyo has the mount for the first time as previous rider Luis Saez with be at Churchill Downs. It is exciting in many ways especially with the fact that our current Grade 1 winner, Wicked Strong, is in the same partnership."
Post time for Saturday’s Sixth race is 2:53 EDT.
Race update as of April 30: Palace Malice has been scratched out of the race due to a foot bruise.
Remembering Allen Jerkens
The Chief - A True Legend
As many of you know, Hall of Fame and former Centennial trainer, H. Allen Jerkens, passed away on Wednesday, March 18 surrounded by his family. The Chief, as he was known to all, trained for Centennial at its inception in 1982. He was instrumental in helping create Centennial's reputation as one of the leading partnership organizations in the country. He trained all of our early stakes winners, most notably, Aptostar and Topicount completing a Centennial exacta in the G1 Acorn. Nordance was our first Graded stakes winning colt who eventually sold to a notable stud farm in England.
Aptostar winning the 1988 Grade 1 Acorn Stakes
There will be a memorial service for H. Allen Jerkens at the Sport of Kings Theatre at Gulfstream Park at 11 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, March 24. At a later time there may be another memorial in New York.
"I remember the first time I met Allen, on the polo field actually" reflects Don Little, Jr. "A large, intimidating player but a gentle, kind man with a wisdom of horses like no one I have ever met. He will be respectfully remembered by myself and all of us at Centennial."
Centennial Yearling Class of 2014
Centennial Farms is pleased to present its new 2014 partnerships which afford investors various levels of participation and risk.
Our first partnership is comprised of five colts purchased at the September Keeneland Yearling Sale and the second LLC is a single horse partnership purchased from the Fasig Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. An investment in either of these two groups offers the flexibility to participate in one or more horses depending on your diversified portfolio strategy and comfort level.
2014 Premier, LLC
The 2014 Premier, LLC consists of five incredible colts by Arch, Congrats, Hard Spun, Quality Road and Super Saver colts with a total capitalization of $2,250,000.
The following video was taken a few days after the sale in Kentucky.
Investments are available starting at $56,250 for a minimum of two and one half percent interest with all expenses paid through December 2015. For more information please click on the partnership on the left column.
Arch - Flying Dixie by Dixeland Band
Hard Spun - Play Ballado by Saint Ballado
Quality Road - Lady Solvig by Giant's Causeway
Super Saver - Pinata by Vision and Verse
Congrats - Audacious Chloe by More Than Ready
2014 Union City, LLC
The Candy Ride colt makes up the asset in the 2014 Union City, LLC. Minimum investment in this partnership is $26,000 for five percent interest which has a total cap of $520,000. Expenses would be paid through the end of 2015. The Jockey Club has accepted the name Unified for this colt.
Please contact the office for more information or click on the partnership on the left column.
Candy Ride - Union City by Dixie Union
Keeneland Sales Purchase
Don Little, this could be the nicest colt we've ever had.
Centennial's Acquisition Team added one of the most exciting horses to the stable's history ever with Hip number 643. This yearling colt by Arch is out of the premier Blue Hen King Ranch family that has produced the likes of Verrazano, Somali Lemonade, Queena, Chic Shirine and Too Chic. He is an A+ individual out of and A+ family.
With a successful racing career, he could become one of the most valuable stallion prospects with this outstanding family. We could not be more thrilled with this spectacular individual.
Colt purchased during Session 4 Keeneland
Stellar Spa Meet for Jerkens
We congratulate our trainer Jimmy Jerkens on his spectacular meet at Saratoga this summer. He was third in purses earned with over $1.8 million won and an astounding 57% for in-the-money finishes. Among Saratoga based trainers with 15 or more starts in the meet, Jimmy had the top win percentage of 32% and an astonishing earnings per start of $65,290. The success at this meet continued to add to the success of the whole year where he currently is running at number two with earnings per start of $30,032 and a remarkable win rate of 30%.
Jerkens at Red Jacket Ceremony honoring his Dad
His 1-2 finish in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes with V.E. Day and Centennial’s Wicked Strong puts him in the history books alongside Nick Zito as the only other trainer to finish first and second in the 145 years of the race.
We look forward to his continued success at the Belmont Fall Meet with his entire stable as well as our up and coming two-year-olds as they hit the racetrack and train towards their career debuts.
Wicked Strong's Inspiration to My Father
Email from a racing fan's son
Written by Patrick Kenneally
I want to express my thankfulness for all that Centennial has done with Wicked Strong and the story of the name. Not only have you shown support for Boston and the Marathon survivors, Wicked Strong has provided my father with inspiration while he battles leukemia.
We live right near Saratoga Race Course but are currently in Louisville, Kentucky for my father’s chemo treatments. The Travers race has always been exciting for us being near Saratoga. My father immediately picked Wicked Strong as his pick for the race once the field was set. As a family we embraced the mentality to be Wicked Strong. Our motto is that "Bill is Wicked Strong"; Bill is my father. My
father has President Don Little’s quote about “no matter the highs and lows in life you must move forward” on the wall in his hospital room.
As Travers day came my dad was
all aglow about watching Wicked Strong’s race, he even had me place bets on the race which he never does. The whole Travers day was a great distraction from the normal routine
of being in the hospital. Dad could not have been happier watching that race. He was filled with so much inspiration watching Wicked Strong's effort that he got out of bed and went for a walk for the first time in two days. He was like a thoroughbred how fast he was going through the halls.
His treatments will be over in a week and on Labor Day they will be doing a bone marrow test to see how successful it was. If he is able to come back to New York we will be so thankful.
My father is wicked strong and will beat leukemia; we thank you for giving us Wicked Strong to rally around.
**Update as of September 9 - the results of Bill Kenneally's bone marrow biopsy came back and he is officially in remission from his leukemia. We wish him continued "wicked" good health.
Save The Date - October 25
Yearling Showcase in Middleburg
Please save the date for the weekend of October 25/26 to join us in Middleburg, Virginia for a showcase of Centennial’s newest yearlings.
We suggest arrival Friday evening or Saturday morning in time to spend the mid-afternoon at the farm viewing the purchases from the Fasig Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale and upcoming September Keeneland Yearling Sale. We purchased a handsome Candy Ride colt in Saratoga and are planning on purchasing four or five high quality colts that fit our criteria at the Keeneland Sale.
Saturday evening we are planning a dinner at a local restaurant and have confirmed newly appointed President of NYRA, Chris Kay, as our guest speaker. We anticipate a very interesting discussion with Chris regarding the future of New York racing and thoroughbred racing in general.
Candy Ride colt purchased at Fasig Tipton Saratoga
Attendees would have Sunday free to explore the Middleburg area rich in history and charm and make their way home.
There is availability at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg (http://www.salamanderresort.com/) and there are several hotels near Dulles airport (25 minutes away); please let us know as soon as possible if you will be able to join us for a fun weekend meeting the newest Centennial roster.
Six furlong breeze for Wicked Strong
Latest work towards G1 Travers Stakes
Pre-Travers workout for Wicked Strong
Next breeze scheduled for August 16
A Dandy of a Win
Wicked Strong wins the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes
Wicked Strong became Centennial Farms newest millionaire earner on Saturday when he held off Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist and won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga. He now has career earnings of $1,244,610 and a record of 3-1-1 out of nine lifetime starts.
Courtesy of NYRA - A. Coglianese
From The Bloodhorse online:
After the race Jimmy Jerkens said, "This is great. This is really great. The way he works in the morning, I don't think Secretariat worked any better than this horse does in the morning," he said. "I know the talent's there. It's just getting him to put it all together."
Jerkens decided to shake things up a bit, adding a slight blinker. The addition had its desired effect as Wicked Strong showed speed while pressing the pacesetting Legend on the outside before taking the lead leaving the turn for home. Tonalist, ridden by Joel Rosario, presented a formidable challenge in the drive, but Wicked Strong took command in the final furlong to win impressively.
Wicked Strong, who drew the outside post in the field of six, was sweating heavily heading to the post but that was not unusual for the high-strung colt, Jerkens noted.
"We basically had cheaters, just enough to keep him focused," said Jerkens after his first Jim Dandy win. "They did exactly what we wanted."
As for Wicked Strong's pre-race appearance, the trainer added, "He's always like that. It's gotten to the point I'd worry if he didn't sweat. He's been doing that since he was a 2-year-old."
"Rajiv took him a couple of horse widths out when he saw Tonalist coming and that discourages a horse that's coming up from behind you, too," noted Jerkens. "That's race riding. That's what you have to do. It was probably just enough to discourage him a little bit and when we straightened away we kind of kicked away and it made the difference."
Maragh said he liked the blinkers on Wicked Strong. "He was very aggressive today; he put me in the race, which I was happy about. Tonalist made a bold move, and I thought, 'It's going to be a good horse race' from there and Wicked Strong just dug in and found extra and pulled away at the end."
"He wasn't loafing down the backstretch. He was running into a nice rhythm and didn't go on and off the bridle, which he was doing in his prior starts. He was more focused today and more aggressive."
Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/86396/wicked-strong-gets-redemption-in-jim-dandy#ixzz39556tOCo
Congratulations to Jimmy Jerkens
The results are in....
Jimmy Jerkens’ stable is shifting up to Saratoga on Tuesday, July 15 and we all look forward to an exciting meet.
Photo by Jamie Squire, Getty Images
We wanted to point out the closing statistics for the Spring/Summer Belmont meet where Jimmy finished in first place among New York based trainers having twelve or more starts. He had an impressive win statistic of 35% and win/place/show of 46%. He was tied for eleventh overall with six other trainers factoring in all trainers/all starts/all earnings. Our congratulations to Jimmy and his team.
As a reminder President Don Little, Jr. will be in Saratoga from Wednesday, July 23 for the duration of the meet. If you are in town and would like to meet at the barns in the morning or for an afternoon at the races, please contact the office.
Mile Workout for Wicked Strong on May 25
Colt training for Belmont Stakes
A Spring Visit to the Farm
Checking in with the Two Year Old Colts
Grade III Winner Chelokee Dies in Arizona
Grade III winner Chelokee was euthanized due to complications from a prior injury at the University of Arizona Equine Center near Tucson May 2. The son of Cherokee Run was 10 years old.
Chelokee was donated to the equine center by Centennial Farms (Donald Little Jr., president) at the end of 2009 and stood his first season there in 2010.
Chelokee in the 2007 Florida Derby
The dark bay or brown horse raced for Centennial, and then stood his first season at Tom Simon's Vinery near Lexington in 2009. Overall, he sired 47 foals from four crops. Among his 11 winning offspring are stakes-placed runners Lady Kee and General Houston.
Chelokee suffered a career-ending injury in the 2008 Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) on the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) undercard and was initially given a "50-50" chance of survival. He then made a health comeback after undergoing surgery and rehabilitation. As a 3-year-old the previous year, he won the Northern Dancer (gr. III) and Barbaro Stakes and ran third in the Florida Derby (gr. I). Chelokee retired with five wins from 10 starts and earnings of $385,785.
"Due to his prior injury, mechanical breakdown of his left front (ankle) occurred," University of Arizona Equine Center manager Laura Lea Walker said of Chelokee, who covered three mares this season. "This led to a bone infection, where he lost a section of his coffin bone. True to his nature, and with the help of his team of veterinarians and caretakers, he fought through and stood another two breeding seasons.
"Those of us who cared for Chelokee daily carefully monitored his quality of life and spirit. He was a fighter, but we noticed at the beginning of the 2014 breeding season a tiredness in him due to the chronic pain. When his activities and playfulness began to wane, the decision was made to euthanize him, allowing him a peaceful passing. We were with him until the end, and he will be greatly missed.
"Chelokee was one of the most amazing horses. His big heart and intelligence, as well as his sweet nature endeared him to everyone that came in contact with him."
Out of the grade II stakes-placed Silver Ghost mare Dixie Ghost, Chelokee is a half-brother to grade II winner Salute the Sarge and added-money winner Mymich. He was bred in Kentucky by Gulf Coast Bloodstock.
Centennial Farms 2014 Kentucky Derby
Centennial Farms would like to congratulate all the Horizon partners with the success of this years’ Kentucky Derby entrant Wicked Strong. He is the epitome of Centennial’s mission to purchase well-bred athletic individuals at the Select Yearling Sales that ultimately provide partners the opportunity to compete in the country’s most prestigious classic races.
Photo courtesy of Chelsea Durand
Centennial Farms, through its partnership approach, enables investors to fulfill their racing dreams. We invite you to join the 2013 Rising Star, LLC and be part of the exciting journey of thoroughbred ownership.
For further information, please click the partnership information on the left hand side of the home page or email us at email@example.com
Last Breeze at Belmont
Wicked Strong now heads to Kentucky
Wicked Strong Breezes for Kentucky Derby
Four furlongs in 49.62
Wicked Strong Scores Big at Big A
Now ranked third in Derby points
Wicked Strong became a Graded Stakes Winner in impressive fashion by winning the G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 5. The colt, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, had a perfect trip catching favorites Social Inclusion and Samraat to draw off powerfully and win by three and one-half lengths. He earned a Beyer of 104 and enough points for an invitation to the Kentucky Derby.
The Boston Marathon bombings last April were rated by many news organizations as the top story of 2013, and now the New England connections of two 3-year-old colts named in tribute to the victims are hoping they will be the ones making headlines this spring.
Wicked Strong, who carries the colors of Centennial Farms headquartered in Beverly, Mass., is already turning heads and it is hoped that Boston Strong, owned by Sovereign Stable in Manchester, N.H. will follow suit soon.
"Wicked Strong is in Florida with Jimmy Jerkens and he's been training fabulously. He's awesome," said Centennial President Donald Little Jr. "That's a perfect name for him."
(photo by Adam Coglianese)
Originally, the son of Hard Spun out of the Charismatic mare Moyne Abby, a $375,000 purchase out of the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale, was called Moyne Spun. But the Boston tragedy changed that.
"About a week or 10 days after the bombings, I just woke up and it came to me that he should be renamed Boston Strong," Little said. "I looked it up, but it was taken by somebody."
That was Sovereign Stable president Matt Gatsas, who just one week before the bombings on April 15, had signed the ticket on a New York-bred 2-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile.
"I bought him at Keeneland on a Monday night and usually would have named him right away but I forgot about it because we had rescheduled a family vacation to the Bahamas and were booked for a 6 a.m. flight on Tuesday morning," Gatsas said. "We were scheduled to come back the following Tuesday and then the bombings happened."
Three people were killed and another 260 were maimed, dismembered, or otherwise injured near the race's finish line in the marathon bombing. That is the same spot where Gatsas and his friends would cheer on the runners every year while he attended Babson College from 1995-99.
"I must have walked that (Boylston) street a million times before. I know that area really well and have stood in the area where the bombs exploded," he recalled. "When we flew back into Boston, the story was all over the news. While unpacking I was watching TV and they were all talking about the slogan 'boston strong.' I thought how great it would be to name the horse that. So I logged on to The Jockey Club website, never thinking the name would be available, but it was."
For the $100 fee, Sovereign's colt had his name. Shortly thereafter, Centennial's colt got his moniker.
"On the second night after the bombings, my wife, Holly, was at the (Boston) Bruins game with (Bruins and Delaware North Companies principal) Charlie Jacobs and his wife, Kim, and was telling them the story. Kim said to call the horse 'wicked strong' because everybody will know what that means. Holly texted me with the idea and that was how our horse got his name," Little explained.
In New England, 'wicked' has long been used as the operative adverb. It precedes any and all adjectives and is considered the perfect modifier. Wicked good, wicked bad, wicked cool, wicked tough, and even wicked strong are part of the vernacular.
Now 'boston strong' is as well, and the term remains a rallying cry for those residing in the City of Boston and across the six states in the region.
"It's really neat how his name has caught on all over. The partners have really taken to him," said Gatsas. "He's a New York-bred, which is kind of funny given the sports rivalry between Boston and New York."
Boston Strong spent all summer in the Saratoga barn of John Terranova but was sidelined by a fever and then was working toward his first start in New York before suffering another setback with a leg injury in December. He has recovered and is currently back with his trainer, who will gallop him and resume breezing when he's ready.
Wicked Strong, who has a first, second and third in three 2013 starts, worked a mile Jan. 11 in 1:40.05 at Palm Meadows Training Center in preparation for the Jan. 25 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.
"He was closing and was beaten only a half-length behind Honor Code and Cairo Prince in the Remsen (gr. II) in his last start," said Little. "A couple of more strides and his nose is in front. We're getting Javier Castellano to ride for the first time and he's already earned two points for inclusion in the Kentucky Derby (Presented by Yum! Brands, gr. I). His Wynn future odds have dropped from 200-1 to 40-1 so there's excitement about him."
Some may think Centennial Farms and Sovereign Stable, which both syndicate racing partnerships, intended to capitalize on the marathon tragedy. They would be grossly mistaken.
All 12 of the partners in Wicked Strong agreed to send 1% of the colt's earnings, already $1,500, to the One Fund, which was established to benefit the victims most affected by the bombings. The partners in Boston Strong made an initial contribution of $1,000 and will donate 5% of any future earnings to the One Fund.
Even Suffolk Downs, which raised $25,000 for the One Fund, chipped in by sending specially designed Boston Strong apparel featuring a Suffolk Downs logo adapted in honor of the Boston Marathon to Gatsas.
"The outpouring of support that we saw throughout New England following the tragic events of April 15 was truly remarkable and everyone found their own unique way of expressing it," said Suffolk Downs chief operating officer Chip Tuttle, who completed the Marathon shortly before the tragedy struck. "As longtime respected members of the New England racing community, it certainly comes as no surprise that both the Gatsas and the Littles have made their own tributes by naming these horses as they did and we wish them the best of luck on the track."
Gatsas thinks Boston Strong, who is out of the Danehill Dancer (IRE) mare Truly Enchanting and is a half brother to Infinite Magic, winner of the 2013 American Derby (gr. IIIT), will develop into a good grass horse. Wicked Strong is being kept on the dirt and at this stage is a Triple Crown contender.
"If he gets to the Kentucky Derby, we'll try to invite one or two of the people who are victims of the bombings to come along with us," said Little. "But we want to only go if we're one of the contenders. We don't have Derby fever here and he's not going to run unless he's legitimate."
Gatsas said that he hasn't connected directly with any of the victims either, but would welcome the opportunity should the colt progress as expected.
"He's got potential and hopefully, he'll be a good one and can run a little bit. Can you imagine Boston Strong and Wicked Strong running in the same race somewhere?" Gatsas said. "That would be really neat, and it would be ironic, too."
Our Hard Spun colt, Wicked Strong, made an impressive closing effort on Saturday, November 30 to finish third missing by half a length for victory in the G2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct.
What was most encouraging is the way he closed on current Derby favorite Honor Code and second choice Cairo Prince after slow fractions early on. The Remsen is considered one of the first prep races for the Kentucky Derby each year; Wicked Strong earned two points towards the eligibility of the 2014 Derby and is currently ranked 24th. His efforts were also reflected in the Wynn Las Vegas Kentucky Derby odds which began at 200-1 and are now 40-1 putting him in the top 12.
(photo by Adam Coglianese)
Both Trainer Jimmy Jerkens and Jockey Rajiv Maragh had only positive and encouraging things to say about this exceptional two-year-old.
Wicked Strong’s next start could possibly be in the G3 Holy Bull Stakes on January 25 at Gulfstream Park. The Holy Bull is a 1 1/16 mile race with a purse of $400,000.
First win for 2012 Horizon, LLC partners
Our aptly named Hard Spun colt, Wicked Strong, proved to be just that beating a strong field in Maiden Allowance company on Saturday, October 26 at Belmont Park. He settled in along the rail behind the front of the pack, swung three wide to take the lead in the stretch and won by two lengths earning a Beyer of 80. The two-year-old colt scored the win on his second career start after finishing second on September 21 at Belmont.
He came out of the race in good order and we could not have been more pleased with how he handled every aspect of the race. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens is considering the $400,000 G2 Remsen at Aqueduct on Saturday, November 30 but won’t make the final decision for a week or two. Jimmy said after the race, “Wicked Strong didn’t do a thing wrong. I thought his race was perfect, really.”
Centennial Farms Announces Restructure
Donald V. Little, Jr., President of Centennial Farms, announced today that Centennial Farms has restructured its management company. Centennial Farms Management Company Inc., which was formed in 1982 by the late Donald V. Little, Sr., will be closing down its operation over the next few years as the existing partnerships it formed wind down. Following the death of his father, Don Little realized new ownership was needed to continue its core business of managing racing partnerships. After a year of investigation and discussion with limited partners, Little and long-time friends and partners Peter and Peggy Horvitz have formed Centennial Farms, LLC.
Peter and Peggy, along with Peter’s mother, Lois, have been involved with Centennial since 1989 when their first partnership included Rubiano, the 1992 Eclipse Award winning Sprint Champion. “I think they were hooked after the incredible run we had with Rubiano,” Little said. Centennial’s core management team for 31 years of Little, Dr. Stephen Carr and Paula Parsons will continue to work together with the addition of the Horvitzes. Peter and Peggy also are co-owners of Centennial’s farm in Middleburg, Virginia, along with Don’s mother, Judy.
“We’re very pleased to join Don Little in the ownership of the new Centennial Farms,” the Horvitzes said. “Centennial has been a winner with horses like Rubiano, Colonial Affair and Corinthian, and we look forward to watching the next generation of Centennial horses finish first.”
“I am excited about the new Centennial Farms and working with the Horvitzes,” Don Little said. “They have a strong passion for the sport and the well-being of its athletes. Those were two of the most important traits we were looking for in potential new owners of the management company. We will continue working hard to cultivate new owners in this great sport and purchase top prospects at the select sales.”
Centennial made its presence known the first day of this year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchasing three top tier colts by Tapit, Dynaformer and Tiznow, ranking it in the top ten leading buyers list for that day. These three colts make up the assets of its new 2013 Rising Star, LLC.
If interested in learning more about Centennial or its new 2013 Rising Star, LLC, please feel free to contact our office.
Centennial Farms Ranks Top Ten Buyers Session One
New Partnership Formed 2013 Rising Star, LLC
The Centennial Acquisition Team worked diligently to comprise a “keeper” list of twelve colts for the 2013 September Keeneland Yearling Sale. All these individuals met our strict conformation requirements. While bidding was highly competitive, we were able to secure three top prospects during the first session on Monday ranking Centennial among the top ten buyers.
Striking Dynaformer Colt - Hip 92
These colts are represented by some of the most well respected stallions in the thoroughbred world today: Dynaformer, Tapit and Tiznow. Following the sale closely, the remaining colts on our list sold well above our price range with three of the nine selling for over $1,000,000. After looking at all results over the first four day we feel that we were able to get great value and the new Keeneland format of combining books one and two worked in our favor.
Please click on the link to the left for full details on the partnership offering.
New Tapit Colt added to Centennial Roster
Hip #25 purchased
The Centennial Acquisition Team was out in force in the days leading up to the Saratoga Select Yearling Sale inspecting all the colts in the catalog.
On Monday evening, August 5 they were able to secure their number one pick with a handsome son of Tapit (Hip 25) for a final bid of $350,000.
By the hottest stallion in the country, and one of the world’s leading sires, this colt is bred on a champion producing cross.
Ch.c. TAPIT – CAUSEWAY LADY by GIANT’S CAUSEWAY
A grade one winning son of Pulpit, and a grandson of A.P. Indy, Tapit has become a stallion sensation. With his best-bred crops still to run, he is sire of 41 stakes winners, 23 of them graded, including Champion Two-Year-Old Colt and G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile victor Hansen; Champion Two-Year-Old Filly and G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly captress Stardom Bound; and other G1 scorers Tapizar, Testa Matta, Tatipsfly, Joyful Victory, Careless Jewel, Zazu, Laragh and Tell A Kelly.
The dam, Causeway Lady, is a daughter of Giant’s Causeway, the most important son of the breed-shaper, Storm Cat. Champion racehorse, and three-time Champion Sire, Giant’s Causeway is rapidly emerging as an extremely important broodmare sire. His daughters have already produced at least 23 stakes winners, including this year’s brilliant three-year-old,G1 Haskell winner, Verrazano, 2012 classic winner Beauty Parlour, and other G1 winners Evening Jewel, Planteur, Warhorse, Eden’s Moon, Soft Falling Rain, Lock Garman and Escado.
This pedigree has all the ingredients of a champion in the making. With a stakes winning record, this colt will be very much in demand by the top stallion stations in Kentucky as well as Europe.
Please click the Tapit partnership link on the left hand column for more information as well as a video of the colt. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the office.
Horizon Colts Arrive at Belmont
Both Juba and Wicked Strong had their first three furlong breeze on June 19 at Belmont and continue to impress Jimmy Jerkens. The slideshow below were photos taken on June 7.
Salisbury Knight shipped in good order from Middleburg, Virginia on June 18 to Jimmy Jerkens' stable at Belmont. We look forward to their continued workout schedule and debut at historic Saratoga Racecourse.
Virginia-bred Colonial Affair and Julie Krone made history together
by Nick Hahn - Reprinted with permission www.theracingbiz.com
With no Virginia-bred headed to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, recently departed Colonial Affair will remain the most recent state-bred to win a Triple Crown race.
Twenty years ago, Colonial Affair provided a landmark win with major impacts, one immediately apparent after the Belmont Stakes and one that would go unrecognized for years to come.
Colonial Affair died in his stall apparently of natural causes on April 23. The 23-year old had been retired from stallion duties in Argentina, where he stood for about a decade.
In delivering the wide sweeping Belmont Stakes win, Julie Krone became the first female jockey to win a Triple Crown Race — a milestone win that crossed over into mainstream media.
Colonial Affair was bred by Herman Greenberg’s Rutledge Farm in Middleburg, sired by a Virginia stallion that won the Kentucky Derby in 1981, Pleasant Colony. He was out of the winless Nijinsky II mare Snuggle.
“(Colonial Affair) was a big, scopy horse that could cover distances in an effortless motion,” recalls winning owner Don Little of Centennial Farms. “He kicked it up a notch when the tack was put on him. Otherwise he was lying down.”
Paula Parsons , the farm trainer for Centennial Farms, broke Colonial Affair in Middleburg.
“He was a big, quiet horse that was easy to ride,” confirmed Parsons. “Certainly not obnoxious as colts can be at that age.”
Centennial picked up Colonial Affair at the 1991 Saratoga yearling sale for $100,000, a deal if you could see potential.
“Funny thing about Pleasant Colony was that he was one of the least impressive horses to look at while Colonial Affair was good looking,” said Little. “He must have got it from his mother (Snuggle). But we knew Pleasant Colony was a sire of horses that would get the distance. He was a big lanky colt but you could look past that and picture what he would look like as a grownup.”
Little passed on the Derby and Preakness, despite the obvious allure, to have Colonial Affair at his best in the Belmont Stakes.
“Belmont was the target,” explains Little. “We didn’t pay any attention to the Derby or the Preakness. Our focus was to win a classic distance type of race.”
After Krone’s determined ride in the middle of the Belmont stretch, it may not have figured that Colonial Affair would be the last Virginia-bred to stroll into a Triple Crown winner’s circle.
His victory came during a renaissance of Virginia racing, a golden age. Hansel won the Preakness in 1991. In the Belmont starting gate with Colonial Affair was Paul Mellon’s Sea Hero, the reigning Kentucky Derby winner.
The impact of this mini-golden age was a huge asset in bringing in-state racing to life in Virginia. In October of that same year, the Virginia Racing Commission set a deadline for track construction applications. New applicants were interested thanks to the passing of simulcast wagering legislation earlier in the year in the General Assembly. A little over a year after Colonial Affair’s Belmont, the Virginia Racing Commission awarded an unlimited license to Stansley Racing.
It would have been ideal for Virginia breeders if the state had had racing during the early Nineties. Capitalizing on those on-track successes might have led to changes that would still be apparent. The number of Virginia-bred registered foals increased briefly in 1994 and then again when Colonial Downs finally opened. Currently however, it’s a little over a third of what is was in 1993.
“We never had a program to reward breeders,” observed Parsons. “It’s hard to know how much a lack of the program hurt us because we were successful despite not having one.”
Yet despite a diminishing foal crop, Virginia-breds continue to produce quality if not quantity, results. Quality Road and Bodemeister have launched legitimate campaigns in recent year looking to hang a Triple Crown blanket on a Virginia-bred label. Quality Road would have been the favorite in the Kentucky Derby in 2010 if not for a quarter-crack. Last year, if not for I’ll Have Another, Bodemeister, first runner up in the Derby and Preakness might have made a Triple Crown bid in the Belmont stakes.
Within the last month Swagger Jack became Virginia’s latest Grade one winner in the $400,000 Carter Handicap.
As for this year’s class, Code West is the best chance for a Virginia-bred to make a Triple Crown starting gate, probably in the Belmont Stakes.
Julie Krone, meanwhile, remains the only female jockey to win a Triple Crown race. Rosie Napravnik will attempt to add to that list when she rides Mylute in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
Remembering Colonial Affair
Written by Centennial President Don Little, Jr.
As the Triple Crown season is approaching, I wanted to reflect on one of its historic moments. In light of Colonial Affair’s death this week at the age of 23, my mind kicked into gear remembering that rainy Saturday in June 1993.
My father, Don Little, Sr., had no recollection of the weather stating “the sun is shining in the Big Apple” on ABC for the whole racing world to see. As the horses turned for home, I was watching in an area away from our hopeful and excited partners. I could not really see clearly through the fog but heard the call. I slowly advanced back to the owners’ box where people began to cheer “come on Julie!” They of course were cheering for Julie Krone, the female jockey aboard our entry Colonial Affair in the 1993 Belmont Stakes. Could this mark the first Triple Crown victory by a female jockey? The crowd was encouraging her down the stretch and our partners were cheering even louder. Eyes full of excitement and joy as he crossed the finish line in front of a field of 14.
Colonial Affair on Belmont Day
History had been made on the 20th anniversary of Secretariat’s record 30 length victory. It has been almost twenty years since that great day. Most of the partners were new to horse ownership, something Centennial has always taken pride in. Many are still involved in some way to this day. A few things have changed since then as both trainer Scotty Schulhoffer and my father are no longer with us. The love of the sport and the thoroughbred continues on with the Centennial Farms’ family. Thanks to all our partners especially Betty Moran and Fred Martin, Colonial Affair’s groom Vicente Zapien, Scotty’s assistant Sal Russo, Dr. Stephen Carr, Paula Parsons and most of all to Julie Krone who made the dreams of many become a reality.
They say things come in threes, the number three that is. It was a Triple Crown race in 1993. It is Centennial’s thirtieth anniversary so maybe that dream once again will become reality with the new crop of Centennial two year olds in 2013. May our partners, current and new, once again experience the feeling we all had on that rainy Saturday in June.
Who knows, maybe my father and Scotty are watching him breeze right now.
Centennial's Colonial Affair Dies in Argentina
From Blood Horse.com
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Colonial Affair died on the morning of April 23 at Haras El Paraiso in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina.
The 23-year-old son of Pleasant Colony—Snuggle, by Nijinsky II, was shipped to Haras El Paraiso in 2003. He was previously retired from stallion duty.
Colonial Affair in Argentina
Owners Pablo and Victoria Duggan reported in an e-mail message that Colonial Affair was found dead in his paddock, possibly of a heart attack or some other infirmity of old age. The owners said the stallion would be buried at their horse cemetery.
"It was a honor for us to be able to stand such a good horse at our farm," they wrote.
Colonial Affair helped Julie Krone make history in 1993 by becoming the first female jockey to win the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and first to win any of the Triple Crown races. He won three other graded stakes—the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), Whitney Handicap (gr. I), and the Excelsior Handicap (gr. II)—all in 1994.
Out of 20 career starts, Colonial Affair won seven times and placed in another seven races. His career earnings totaled $1,635,228.
He has sired 15 U.S. stakes winners and 20 worldwide, including the Argentine group I winner Cafrune, who was bred by El Paraiso and has won 15 stakes to date.
Horizon Colts Continue to Shine
Three of our two-year-old colts enjoying their morning workouts over the Middleburg Training Track. All three colts are doing extremely well and are expected to ship to the racetrack by June.
There is still availability to join in this partnership. Feel free to contact the office for more information.
Salisbury Knight by Bernardini
A trip to Middleburg in late November to check on the horses confirmed that all three of the Horizon yearlings are maturing into big, strong colts. They are currently galloping a mile and are wonderful movers on the training track.
For more information on the 2012 Horizon, LLC click the link of the left hand side of the page.
Please feel free to contact the office with any additional questions.
Grand Strand in Middleburg
Yearling progresses with his training
Don Little, Jr. recently visited the yearlings in Middleburg and was delighted by their progress.
The Tiznow colt, Grand Strand, is currently galloping a mile on the training track and impressing everyone in the barn. He is a big, strong colt which is evident in the photos.
Offspring of Three Top Sires Join Centennial Roster
New colts make up the 2012 Horizon, LLC
Tapit, Hard Spun and Bernardini are three of the hottest sires in the world today as well as the sires of the three new yearling colts that are the assets of Centennial’s new 2012 Horizon, LLC.
The colts were recent purchases from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale which saw high demand for quality horses and a great deal of competitive bidding between leading buyers. Centennial ranked in the top fifteen buyers at the conclusion of Thursday’s session. Our Acquisition Team worked diligently, sticking to a plan and budget that worked well to secure three spectacular individuals that fit the Centennial model of athletic ability, conformation and pedigree.
Bernardini colt purchased for $290,000
Total capitalization for this new partnership is $1,480,000 with all expenses paid through the end of 2013. There is a very attractive investment incentive to participate before year-end as both the accelerated depreciation and expense allowance within the horse industry will expire on December 31, 2012.
For more information on the colts click on the Horizon Partnership on the left hand side of the page. Please feel free to contact with the office with any questions.
Hard Spun colt purchased for $375,000
Centennial's Next Classic Hopeful
Tiznow colt joins stable
Having purchased a record five Grade 1 winners at the Fasig Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale over the years, Centennial Farms Aquisition Team secured the final bid of $300,000 for Hip Number 39 on Monday evening, August 6.
Tiznow - Myrtle Beach by Kingmambo
A champion at three and four, Horse of the Year Tiznow is the only two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1). The most important male-line descendent of Man O'War at stud today, Tiznow has developed into one of North America's leading sires of classic distance runners. Tiznow's offspring - Well Armed, Folklore, Colonel John, Tizway, Morning Line, Gemologist, Bullsbay and Da' Tara - have been victorious in the Dubai World Cup (G1), Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), Metropolitan Handicap (G1), Travers Stakes (G1), Belmont Stakes (G1), Santa Anita Derby (G1), Wood Memorial Stakes (G1), Matron Stakes (G1), Ruffian Handicap (G1), Whitney Handicap (G1), Carter Handicap (G1), Lady's Secret Stakes (G1) and Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (G1).
The dam of this colt, Myrtle Beach, is a daughter of classic winner and outstanding international sire, Kingmambo. She is half-sister to the stakes winning and graded placed Charley Tango and stakes placed Cosmic Wing. Even more significantly, Myrtle Beach, is three-parts-sister to Issaqueena (by Kingmambo's sire, Mr. Prospector). When Issaqueena was bred to Tiznow, the result was this colt's very close relative, Tizaqueena, a winner of over $650,000, with five stakes victories, including the Churchill Downs Turf Mile Stakes (G2), Arlington Matron Stakes (G3) and runner-up in the First Lady Stakes (G1).
Total capitalization for this partnership is $500,000 with all expenses paid through the end of fiscal year 2013.
Please contact the office for more information.
Redemption Road Scores At Spa
Redemption Road scored the first win of the Saratoga season for Centennial Farms in the Seventh Race on Wednesday, July 25. The Scat Daddy colt, in his fifth career start, stalked the pace early, went three wide around the turn, took the lead at the top of the stretch and drew out clear under the urging of Jockey Junior Alvarado.
Junior Alvarado driving Redemption Road home.
With the meet underway, attention will soon turn to the prestigious Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale to be held on the evenings of August 6 and 7. We look forward to our annual tradition of purchasing one well-bred colt that will have maximum stallion potential like former Centennial superstars Corinthian, Colonial Affair and Rubiano.
Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese.
Chelokee Sires First Winner
Chelokee’s two-year-olds marked their first win for the stallion over the weekend at Prairie Meadows. Filly Lady Kee won by 5 ½ lengths in a Maiden Special Weight race on July 8. She ran the 4 ½ furlong race in :52.71.
We hope that Centennial's Beat Of the Drum will add to Chelokee’s success as a stallion when he begins his racing career later this summer or early fall. He has been training well at the farm and we are excited about his prospects.
MICHAEL MATZ - BELMONT WINNER
Union Rags wins Belmont Stakes
Congratulations to Centennial trainer Michael Matz and his crew on winning the 144th Belmont Stakes on June 9 with Union Rags. There is a pedigree connection between Union Rags and Centennial’s 1993 Belmont winner Colonial Affair. Union Rags’ second dam Terpsichorist is a half-sister to Colonial Affair’s second dam Mirthful Flirt.
Photo by Anne M. Eberhardt
Michael currently trains Centennial’s Aridus and will be training the two-year-old colt, Phantom Image (Elusive Quality/Shady Reflection) when he is ready to ship from the farm in Middleburg, Virginia.
Donald Little - A Life Remembered
Horses were a passion throughout a well-lived life
Donald V. Little, the founder and chairman of Centennial Farms, died on February 29th from injuries sustained from a jumping accident during the Masters Classic in the International Arena at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.
1993 Belmont Stakes victory w/ Colonial Affair
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. Little inherited a love of horses from his mother, the accomplished horsewoman Janice Snow. He shared this passion with his loving wife of 57 years, Judith Lewis Little, his two children, Andrea Little Eaton and Donald V. Little Jr., and anyone else he could convince to get on a horse or to learn about racing.
Mr. Little was a talented horseman who began his lifelong obsession with the sporting life while foxhunting and show jumping during his pre-teen years. As a teenager, he won several steeplechase races before, at age 16, he used $500 saved from jobs worked during high school to purchase his first thoroughbred, Gladhadagal. The goal was to compete at regional fairs in New England and it was with overflowing enthusiasm that Mr. Little prepared Gladhadagal for a start at the Topsfield Fair by galloping her around the polo fields at Myopia Hunt Club in Hamilton, Massachusetts. Mr. Little's hopes of equine success with Gladhadagal were quickly dashed when the filly reared up after hearing the ringing of the bell for the call of the post, dropped her rider, and retreated to the barn.
Despite that inauspicious beginning, Mr. Little's passion for thoroughbreds only grew as he matured. He rarely retreated and always sought the means and people to move forward.
Following two years at the University of Pennsylvania studying to be a veterinarian, Mr. Little joined the Air Force, where he spent six years flying B-47 bombers. At the time, Mr. Little was the youngest aircraft commander of the select Strategic Air Command.
After ending his military service and returning to the North Shore of Boston, horses resumed their position as a true passion in Mr. Little’s life.
Mr. Little dabbled with some claiming horses at Suffolk Downs, but his desire was to enter the winner’s circle in the premier races. Combining his savvy business sense and expert horsemanship, Mr. Little, with the backing of two lifelong friends – Tony Woodruff and Judson Streicher – started Centennial Farms in 1982 with the goal of sharing his passion for horses with others and winning races at the highest levels of the sport.
Before purchasing any horses to race in the tan and red Centennial Farm’s colors, Mr. Little hired a pair of recent Harvard Business School graduates to conduct research on the thoroughbred markets. The result was one of the core philosophies of Centennial Farms: Purchase horses from the premier sales with both the bloodlines and conformation, and those horses will appeal to the leading breeding farms throughout the world if they are successful on the track.
To further improve Centennial’s odds for success, Mr. Little hired two seasoned experts of the thoroughbred business – Dr. Stephen Carr and Paula Parsons – to join the Centennial team. Dr. Carr, who Mr. Little met playing polo in Aiken, South Carolina, was a leading veterinarian at the premier thoroughbred tracks on the prestigious New York/ Florida circuit. Ms. Parsons was a thoroughbred trainer highly respected within the tight-knit racing community for her ability to spot talented young horses and to provide those colts and fillies the education and training needed before they ship to the racetrack to begin their careers.
In 1983, with five or six investors and the assistance of Carr and Parsons, Mr. Little purchased a colt from Danzig’s first crop and named him Nordance. That colt won the Pilgrim Stakes as a two-year-old before being retired to stud in Great Britain, returning a substantial profit for his partners. High class stakes-winning fillies Top Issue and Silent Account soon followed and Centennial quickly established itself as one of the premier stables in North American horse racing. Throughout the 1980s, Mr. Little and Centennial competed in the heady bloodstock markets of the time, bidding against the likes of the Maktoum family of Dubai, D. Wayne Lukas, and Allen Paulson for the most fashionable bloodstock at the leading thoroughbred auctions.
While Mr. Little was enjoying major success in the thoroughbred business, the entire equine world benefited from his passion for horses. In 1989 Mr. Little founded the Boston Jumper Classic, bringing Olympic Caliber International Show Jumping to the region. The event has grown into a top equine event in New England and one of the premier show jumping events in the country.
It was also during this period that he served as Captain of Polo at Myopia Hunt Club in Hamilton Massachusetts, President of the United States Polo Association, and began his longtime post of Joint Master and then Master of the Hunt at the Myopia Hunt Club. Mr. Little continued as Master until his death.
While winners and success were on display throughout the 1980s – including total earnings of $873,732 in 1986 – Mr. Little and Centennial would make a major change in the early 1990s that would lead to some of his most memorable accomplishments in thoroughbred racing. In 1991, Mr. Little hired veteran trainer Scotty Schulhofer and they enjoyed a tour de force through the most prestigious races on the NYRA circuit. This included dominating the sprint division with Rubiano, who would be voted Champion Sprinter for 1992.
Just a year later, a late developing colt would provide Mr. Little with arguably his biggest victory of a lifetime filled with equine accomplishments. In a mild upset, Colonial Affair captured the 125 th running of the Belmont Stakes, the longest and third jewel of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. Many remember the victory for the accomplishment of jockey Julie Krone, who at the time became the only female jockey to ever win a Triple Crown race.
Despite his own success, Mr. Little was always willing and actively looking to share his passion for horses with others. He served as an early adviser to billionaire Carl Ichan when the fellow investor decided to enter the thoroughbred business during the 1990s. At this time, Mr. Little raised a substantial portion of the millions of dollars needed to reopen and renovate Suffolk Downs after the Boston track was closed for two years.
Centennial Farms went through major changes in the late 1990's, including the retirement of trainer Scotty Schulhofer and the transition as Donald V. Little, Jr., took over day-to-day operations. However, the company continued to enjoy considerable success and that success continues. King Cugat dominated the turf divisions throughout North America from 1999-2001, finishing on the board in 15 of 16 career races and earning over $1.2 million in purses.
Mr. Little could often be seen at the major races with Centennial throughout the last few years. He attended races all over the East Coast by flying the single engine Navion plane inherited from his stepfather. It was during this period that Mr. Little got to witness arguably the most memorable to date of the Centennial racehorses. In 2006, the talented but temperamental chestnut named Corinthian carried the Centennial colors to victory in some of the most prestigious races on the thoroughbred calendar. After establishing himself as a leading contender for the 2006 Triple Crown, Corinthian was sidelined until the beginning of 2007 with a minor injury. Centennial's patience paid big dividends. Reappearing as a 4-year-old, Corinthian won two races impressively in Florida before capturing the Metropolitan Handicap and earning himself a future career as a stallion in Kentucky. Corinthian would end his career in the pouring rain at Monmouth Park in 2007, winning the inaugural running of the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Monmouth Park. As with most victories, Mr. Little’s greatest thrill with Corinthian’s success was that he was able to enjoy it in the company of great friends, some of whom he introduced to thoroughbred ownership.
Mr. Little will always be remembered for his specific, tangible contributions to the world of horse racing, polo and fox hunting. However, these accomplishments only suggests his true impact on the equestrian community, which was to challenge, inspire and most of all encourage any horse enthusiast and rider who had the privilege to cross his path. We here at Centennial Farms will always appreciate and be thankful for the time we spent in Mr. Little's company, and for the guidance and wisdom he provided. We look forward to Centennial Farm's continued success in his honor.
A memorial service will be held at Noon on Thursday, March 8, 2012, at the Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, 188 Elliott St , Danvers, Massachusetts. A reception will follow at the Myopia Hunt Club Hamilton, MA.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to: Fisher House Boston, 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850, Dana Farber Cancer Institute & Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, PO Box 3387, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, or the Life Fund FBO, Boston Park Rangers Mounted Unit, 125 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115.
CONVOCATION WINS AT SARATOGA
Courtesy of DRF - Mike Welsch
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said it looks like the Grade 1 Woodward on Labor Day will be next for Convocation following his convincing 3 1/4-length victory over Ron the Greek in a mile and one-eighth allowance race here Friday.
Now a winner at Saratoga in 2010 and 2011
The victory was the first this season for Convocation, a 5-year-old son of Pulpit, who was pressed on the lead from the outset by Ice Box before ultimately asserting his superiority and edging well clear through the stretch.
“There didn’t look like there was any speed in there,” said Jerkens when asked if he was surprised to see Convocation on the lead and pressed by Ice Box of all horses on Friday. “I thought he ran very well.”
Convocation, who has been graded stakes placed on several occasions, received a 97 Beyer Speed Figure for the victory. That matched the number he earned when finishing fourth four weeks earlier in the Grade 2 Suburban.
“I think the Woodward will be his next start,” said Jerkens. “He’s not eligible for anything else although a lot will depend on how the race shapes up. We just have to hope when he gets in against horses that are a little better than him, that they don’t have their best day because you know you’re pretty much going to get the same race out of him every time.”
ARCH TRAVELER WINS ZIGGY'S BOY STAKES
By Dave Grening - Courtesy of DRF
Arch Traveler has the pedigree and the body type to suggest that he will go a distance of ground, but the 3-year-old colt demonstrated again on Thursday that shorter races may be his forte.
Arch Traveler earned a 96 Beyer in his BEL debut
Under Jose Lezcano, Arch Traveler slipped through an opening along the rail in mid-stretch, then spurted clear to win Thursday's $60,000 Ziggy’s Boy Stakes by three lengths. Glickman, who set the pace under Eddie Castro, finished second by three-quarters of a length over the late-running Rocking Out. Free Entry and The Fed Eased completed the order of finish.
Arch Traveler raced a close-up fourth while rating on the inside behind fractions of seconds and 45.58 seconds set by Glickman. Coming to the top of the stretch, Lezcano got into a brief wrestling match with Arch Traveler before guiding him through a narrow opening along the rail. It took a few strides before Arch Traveler would go through the opening, but once he did he closed in a solid 12.48 seconds for the final furlong.
Arch Traveler, a son of Sky Mesa owned by Centennial Farms, covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.87 and returned $3.80 to win.
“He doesn’t accelerate right away,” Jerkens said, adding that Lezcano told him “you feel like you turn the reins loose he’s going to surge, but he doesn’t, he stays there. You got to ask him, then he’ll go.”
Arch Traveler was making his first start since finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on April 3. Before that, he won a first-level allowance race going 1 1/8 miles after winning a seven-furlong maiden race. Those efforts came three weeks apart at Gulfstream.
“He probably prefers this, but I think he could win at a route in the right spot,” trainer Jimmy Jerkens said.
Jerkens said that the Grade 2, $250,000 Woody Stephens here on June 11 is a logical next start for Arch Traveler.
On the Triple Crown Trail!
Arch Traveler joins Triple Crown chase with allowance win
Arch Traveler took another step towards the Triple Crown trail and a potential start against graded-stakes company with a sharp victory over a strong allowance field on Saturday, February 26 at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Jose Lezcano aboard for the win
A son of Sky Mesa, Arch Traveler was coming back on less than three weeks rest while making his debut beyond seven-furlongs.
While questions were asked before the race about the quick turnaround and extended distance, the colt passed both tests with high marks to establish himself as a possible starter for either the $1,000,000 G1-Florida Derby on April 3 or the $750,000 G1-Wood Memorial on April 9.
Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the colt broke sharply and he was briefly in front as the field entered the first turn. At that point, jockey Jose Lezcano slowed down the pace and took Arch Traveler back to second, where he settled a half-length off the lead as the field moved down the backside. Arch Traveler moved to the front as the field turned for home before kicking clear through the final eighth of a mile. Nacho Business made a bold move late, but Arch Traveler was always safe, posting a ¾-length victory to confirm his status as one of the better three-year-olds on the East Coast.
“He’s now run three races pretty quickly by today’s standings but I wanted to get this one under his belt,” said Jerkens. “There’s a chance he could come back in the Florida Derby. We’ll see if there are any defections along the way. We’ve got plenty of time to decide but this could also give us the chance to wait until we get back to New York.”
Arch Traveler was purchased by the Centennial Farms selection team of Dr. Stephen Carr, Paula Parsons and Don Little, Jr. at the 2009 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $260,000.
The colt now shows a record of 2-1-1 from 4 starts for $60,250. Arch Traveler is currently ranked as #25 on the NTRA Triple Crown prospects poll.
DEVON ROCK: ANOTHER BELMONT DAY WINNER!
Stable wins on Belmont Day in NY a third-straight year
Centennial Farms won a race on the Belmont Stakes Day program for the third consecutive year when Devon Rock broke his maiden on Saturday, June 5 covering a mile over the turf in 1:34.81.
Devon Rock and Castellano
Devon Rock broke well and was forwardly placed throughout under jockey Javier Castellano. The Rock Hard Ten colt took the lead a quarter mile from the finish and extended his margin through the stretch, winning by 2 ¼ lengths, earning an 84 Beyer rating for the victory.
Devon Rock finished third in his career debut over the main track on April 30 at Belmont Park, he now shows earnings of $41,700 from two career races.
“Winning a race on Belmont Stakes Day is an achievement for any stable,” said Don Little, Jr. “We have now accomplished the feat three years in a row, as Desert Key won an allowance in 2008 and Convocation broke his maiden last year. Both of those horses are now graded-stakes placed and competing at the highest levels of the sport. Devon Rock is a horse with tremendous potential and we expect he will develop into a stakes horse in the near future.”
Devon Rock races on behalf of the Bluegrass partnership. The other colt in this syndicate, Aridus, broke his maiden over MSW company last week at Delaware Park for trainer Michael Matz.
“This partnership has two talented colts,” said Little. “We expect it will be a fun and rewarding summer for our Bluegrass partners.”
A HISTORICAL AFFAIR
Reliving the story of Colonial Affair 16 years later
As the focus of thoroughbred racing shifts to the upcoming Belmont Stakes, Centennial Farms would like to take a look back at one of our finest moments: Colonial Affair’s upset victory in the 1993 Belmont Stakes with jockey Julie Krone.
Colonial Affair now stands stud in Argentina
In front of more than 45,000 fans on a rainy and damp summer day, Colonial Affair benefited from a flawless ride by Krone to become the first classic winner for Centennial Farms. It was also the first and only victory by a female jockey in a Triple Crown race.
Colonial Affair had finished second in the Peter Pan Stakes two weeks earlier, but both Krone and Hall of Fame trainer Scotty Schulhofer agreed that the colt was asked for too much run early in that race. A plan was hatched to get an optimum performance from the son of Pleasant Colony: take him farther back off, keep him out of the kickback from other horses, and come with one strong run.
Colonial Affair ran to the plan, winning by 2 ¼ lengths, covering the 1 ½ miles in 2:29 4/5.
The victory remains one of the most memorable for Centennial Farms, and it ranks as #55 in the Blood Horse Publications book “Horse racing’s top 100 moments”.
All said, Colonial Affair will be remembered as one of the better horses of his generation. He won both the Whitney and Jockey Club Gold Cup as a four-year-old in 1994 before getting injured on the eve of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he would have been favored in the richest race in the world.
The horse has traveled the world as a stallion, standing in the United States before seasons in New Zealand, Japan, and his current home of Argentina.
The victory also catapulted Julie Krone into iconic status . In 2000, she became the first woman inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
CORINTHIAN WINS MET MILE!
Courtesy of NYRA Press Office
By Fran Labelle
Grade I winner now a leading stallion candidate
Corinthian had always been regarded as a talented horse who had tough luck throughout his career. His luck changed in a big way Monday afternoon as he carried Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux to a three-quarter-length victory in Belmont Park’s Memorial Day feature, the 114th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap, before a crowd of 14,901.
The Met Mile victory capped a big weekend for Corinthian’s trainer, Jimmy Jerkens, and his father, Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens, who ran second in the Met Mile with Political Force. The elder Jerkens, whose only Met Mile win came in 1971 with Tunex, saddled Ecclesiastic, who won Saturday’s Grade 3 Jaipur.
Favored Lawyer Ron finished third, as Corinthian returned $21.60 to win and the $2 all-Jerkens Met Mile exacta came back $285.
For Corinthian, a 4-year-old Pulpit colt, Monday’s victory marked his coming of age in the big leagues. As a three-year-old, he won Gulfstream’s Fountain of Youth but was disqualified and placed third. He was pointed for the Aqueduct’s Grade 1 Wood Memorial, but a hairline fracture in his hind leg suddenly squelched the blossoming career. The injury did not require surgery, but after Jerkens brought him back to Saratoga in late July for a distant third-place finish, he was convinced that time would be the best medicine.
Corinthian came back with back-to-back wins in Florida, including the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap in March. In his last start, the Grade 3 Excelsior Breeders’ Cup at Aqueduct in April, he jumped in the air at the start and lost all chance.
A hot-blooded type who often gets overanxious in the paddock, Corinthian finally put it together for the prestigious Met Mile. He was kept reasonably close to a pace of :23.21; :45.70 and 1:10.29, came four-wide around the turn and drove hard for the victory in 1:34.77 on the fast main track.
Political Force, who had previously been graded stakes placed, then came with a rally that was partly stalled when jockey Edgar Prado, aboard favored Lawyer Ron, accidentally struck him in the face with his whip.
“When I saw him break and laying that close, I knew we were in business,” Jimmy Jerkens said of his first Met Mile winner. “He ran to his workout the other day. When he is juicy and on the muscle, he’s right. Usually, horses get worse the closer they get to the gate. He settled down once he got with the pony.”
“I thought we had Lawyer Ron, and then I said, `Oh my God, here comes `The Chief’ (his father).’ We were going one at a time, worrying about this race. We’ll have to discuss it with his owners where he goes next. We were willing to throw out the Excelsior to get ready for this one. He broke his maiden going a mile. The work a week ago [five furlongs in a bullet :58 on May 21] was beyond anything I ever saw. I never had a horse do what he did. He was just strong all the way. He was terrific all week. I thought if he didn’t run good today, he just wasn’t good enough.”
Corinthian, who has now won five of nine starts and more than doubled his career earnings on Monday to $694,273, not only proved his was more than good enough, but that the best may lie ahead.
“From what I know of this horse, he’s come full circle,” Desormeaux said. “You couldn’t have planted me at the half-mile pole and asked for better position. More than the position was the way he was carrying me. When a good horse is traveling well, :45 feels like :48. I thought we were going slow, but I knew the caliber of horse I was on. He was so within himself. Coming to the three-eighths pole, he kind of got into gear and acted like he wanted to go for the wire. That was the only time I restrained him and said, `No, not yet.’ When the horses engaged, he jumped back in the bridle. I didn’t have to ask him for much, even when it was time to go. In the stretch, I thought he was just doing enough, quite frankly. All I could hope for at that stage of the race was that nothing came swinging wide and he couldn’t see it. He was really determined.”
H. Allen Jerkens, also known as “The Giant Killer” for his history of upsets in racing’s biggest races, was happy for his son as well as for Political Force’s effort.
“He ran a great race,” Jerkens said. “Now, he’s starting to come into himself. I thought they would go a little faster for the first quarter, but they really started to hum in the second quarter. The only bad race (Corinthian) has ever run was last time when he got stuck in the gate. (The public) got down on him really quick, but Jimmy said he had been working really good. If we couldn’t win, I’m glad Jimmy did.”
Sun King, the 2006 Met Mile runnerup, was fourth, trailed by Latent Heat, Silver Wagon, Half Ours, Silent Name, who was left at the gate, and early pace-setter Mr. Umphrey. Accountforthegold was scratched.