Rocketry retires to Old Friends

By | Latest News, Rocketry

Rocketry, whose retirement was announced over the summer, arrived at Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky to begin his new role as thoroughbred ambassador. The much-loved fan favorite, who earned over $800,000, had been enjoying some downtime in Middleburg since retiring.

“Just like the movie character, Rocketry could not have lived up to his nickname of ‘Rocky’ any better,” said Don Little, Jr. “He consistently campaigned in stakes carrying the Centennial flag with honor every time he set foot on the track. He was sound throughout his career while breaking three track records over a distance of ground. Being involved with a horse like this was truly a joy, thrill, and one that will be cherished by all the partners involved,” Little continued. “While he will be missed on the oval, we look forward to him showing off to visitors at Old Friends.”

“Who doesn’t love Rocketry?” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “We’re very fortunate that Centennial Farms trusts us to care for their great marathoner. Thanks to Don Little, Jr. and Jimmy Jerkens for allowing us to showcase him to his many fans.”

Multiple graded stakes winner and three-time track record setter Rocketry, a member of the Crescent LLC thoroughbred racing partnership, arrives at Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Multiple Graded Stakes Winner Rocketry Retires

By | Crescent, Latest News, Rocketry

Centennial Farms’ co-owners Don Little, Jr., Peter Horvitz, and Margaret O’Meara, and the many partners to whom he provided lifelong memories announce the retirement of multiple graded stakes winner Rocketry. The handsome son of Hard Spun retires sound with career earnings of over $810,000 and three track records to his credit.

Rocketry, bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds, was quick to stamp himself as a good looking prospect, commanding $195,000 as a Keeneland November weanling when acquired by McMahon & Hill Bloodstock. Returned to Keeneland as part of the Hidden Brook consignment the following September, he drew the attention of Centennial’s Dr. Stephen Carr and Paula Parsons, hammering for $450,000. Always an impressive individual, his popularity in the sales ring was also a testament to his pedigree, which includes a bevy of graded stakes horses.

Like so many Centennial stars before him, Rocketry received his early education under Parsons and her team at the Middleburg Training Center, a place he’d return to throughout the years for vacations from a racing environment. He joined trainer Jimmy Jerkens at Belmont Park in June of his two-year-old year, under whose care he would remain throughout his career. Rocketry displayed what would become his trademark late-running style beginning with his first career start at Gulfstream Park. An impressive maiden score on turf at Belmont Park during the spring of his sophomore campaign earned him “Rising Star” status from the Thoroughbred Daily News. As a three-year-old, he beat older horses at Saratoga and barely missed his first graded black-type, finishing behind only subsequent G1 winners Voodoo Song, Yoshida, and future Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar going just 1 1/8-miles in the G3 Saranac.

Rocketry would truly come into his own as a four-year-old. His continuing maturity coincided with an increased fondness for dirt and he made the transition to the main track in September of 2018. The switch resulted in a performance in the Temperence Hill Stakes that is unlikely to be matched – he stopped the clock in 2:40.18, breaking Man o’ War’s 98-year-old Belmont Park track record for 1 5/8-miles. He took his show on the road next out and picked up his first graded stakes victory. A late charge in the G2 Marathon Stakes presented by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance established a new track record of 2:57.62 for 1 ¾-miles at famed Churchill Downs.

While his unique style and preference for longer distances would make him vulnerable to pace and biases, he continued to deliver big performances over the subsequent seasons. At five, he flew late and wide to finish second in the prestigious G2 Woodford Reserve Brooklyn Invitational Stakes. His six-year-old campaign ended with an exclamation point as Rocketry set a third track record, this time going 1 5/8-miles in 2:42.57 at Keeneland, and picked up another graded stakes victory – the G2 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

Rocketry’s zest for training, the track environment, and his Jerkens Racing family never wavered during a three-race campaign in 2021. Although his seven-year-old season upped his black-type count to a total nine races, the decision was made to retire him following a fourth-place effort in Saratoga’s Birdstone Stakes. Centennial Farms could not be more proud of his on-track accomplishments or more grateful of his status as a fan-favorite. The two elements combined in spectacular fashion when a shoe worn in victory in the Temperence Hill topped a fund-raising auction for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

While plans are being finalized for his retirement, “Rocky” has shipped to Centennial Farms in Middleburg, Virginia to unwind, enjoy the spacious paddocks, and be spoiled.

Multiple graded stakes winner Rocketry, part of a thoroughbred racing partnership, at the Jimmy Jerkens barn at Saratoga Race Course.

Rocketry Does it Again!

By | Latest News, Rocketry

*WOW*. Rocketry’s running style and the unique nature of his preferred marathon races can leave the big guy open to some unfavorable set-ups and bad luck. Though he’d continually run well, he entered the G2 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes without a win since the race’s 2018 edition, when it contested as the G2 Marathon presented by the TAA at Churchill Downs. He ended the drought in a big, big way, with the kind of performance that leaves one speechless. We are so grateful to the phenomenal partners in the 2015 Crescent, LLC who make it all possible, Jimmy Jerkens and his staff, our team, including Paula Parsons and Dr. Carr, and tremendous Rocketry.

Read more:
BloodHorse: “Rocketry Returns Victorious in TAA Stakes
Daily Racing Form: “Rocketry returns to Kentucky victorious in Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes

It was particularly special to win a race that is named for such a phenomenal organization. Centennial Farms has been proud to sponsor the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance’s Best Turned Out Awards at the Pegasus World Cup for the past two years. Supporting an organization that does so much for the welfare of beloved equine athletes is of paramount importance. Learn more.

Rocketry Nearly Captures Brooklyn

By | Latest News, Rocketry

Rocketry’s furious outside rally, on a track playing kindly towards the rail, fell just a half-length short in the prestigious G2 Woodford Reserve Brooklyn Invitational, one of the most beloved races on the NYRA calendar. The terrific performance wrapped an outstanding annual celebration with Centennial Farms’ team and partners centered around Belmont Stakes weekend.

Rocketry Blasts to Top of Terrific 2018!

By | Crescent, Latest News, Rocketry

Rocketry’s late season surge, capped by a victory in the G2 Marathon presented by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, led the way during a terrific 2018 season for Centennial Farms and our loyal partners. The hard work by Paula Parsons and Dr. Carr in diligently selecting world-class athletes to prepare and oversee resulted in a whopping fourteen victories once in the hands of Jimmy Jerkens. Nearly 30% of our starters were winners over the course of the year, with over 50% finishing in the top three. We were absolutely thrilled to bring our partners to the winner’s circle at some of the nation’s most prestigious meetings, including a trio of victories at unrivaled Saratoga and a victory during the first of two Breeders’ Cup cards. Here’s to more success in 2019!

Rocketry Rolls Again!

By | Latest News, Rocketry

New surface, new heights! After becoming a stakes winner in his last start, and setting a Belmont Park track record, Rocketry upped the ante at Churchill Downs. Not only did he break a second consecutive track record at one of the nation’s most prestigious venues, but he became a graded stakes winner! His victory in the G2 Marathon, the final race on the Friday Breeders’ Cup card, was made all the more special due to its presenting sponsor – the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. The TAA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retrain, retire, and rehome Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding. It is the only body of its kind responsible for the accreditation of monitoring of aftercare organizations.

Full chart
BloodHorse: “Rocketry Soars Home in Final Moments to Win Marathon
DRF: “Rocketry does it again in Marathon Stakes

Rocketry takes the G2 Marathon presented by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, setting a Churchill Downs track record.

Rocketry Blasts to New Heights

By | Latest News, Rocketry

WOW! Rocketry made the most of his dirt debut, becoming a stakes winner and a track record holder in one fell swoop. The four-year-old could not have been more impressive in the Temperence Hill at Belmont Park, beating a nice field by 1 1/2-lengths and lowering a track record held by none other than Man o’ War. His victory marked the sixth consecutive year that Centennial Farms’ partners have enjoyed a stakes victory and/or graded stakes placing.

Full chart
BloodHorse: “Rocketry Blasts to Track Record in Temperance Hill
DRF Recap: “Rocketry shows love of dirt in Temperence Hill Stakes

Successful Saratoga a Wrap

By | Latest News, Malibu, Pinewood, Rocketry

Every summer, the racing world converges on Saratoga for forty days of world-class racing and one of the nation’s most prestigious yearling sales. The competition at each is unparalleled. There is no tougher meet in the country to win a race at nor anywhere tougher to snag a top-quality racing prospect. Centennial Farms was thrilled to conclude our summer with victories at each.

The star of the racing season was Rocketry, whose impressive allowance victory and solid stakes debut anchored a strong meet. His flashy victory was paired with game efforts by Securitiz and Weather Wiz to generate an 80% on the board percentage for the meet. We are incredibly proud that that consistency has followed the Centennial horses throughout the year. No other partnership has a higher percentage in 2017.

The other major victories of the meet came at the Fasig-Tipton Select Sale, where we brought home sons of young Kentucky Derby-producing sire Bodemeister and perennial standout sire Malibu Moon. We’re thrilled to offer the opportunity to invest in these two colts of limitless potential.

Rocketry draws away to a powerful victory at Saratoga beneath Jose Ortiz.

Rocking the Spa

By | Latest News, Rocketry

After  couple narrow defeats to start the prestigious Saratoga meet, Centennial Farms got off the duck with an impressive victory by improving sophomore Rocketry.

Rocketry was named a “Rising Star” by the Thoroughbred Daily News after drawing away from a strong maiden field in June. Though he was defeated in his first start against winners, enduring some bad racing luck, he rebounded with an easy Saratoga score. There is no more prestigious meet in the nation than the Spa and thus no place more difficult to win. The big bay colt’s win stamped him as a true force to be reckoned with going long on the grass.

The celebration was particular sweet given what preceded it. Two races apart, just a few days prior, our Tiznow duo of Weather Wiz and Securitiz battled their way to runner-up efforts. The pair was beaten by less than 3/4-length combined.

With all three runners finishing in the top three, Centennial Farms is currently sitting just shy of a 70% on the board record for 2017. No other partnership with more than ten starters has a higher percentage, nor any based on North America’s toughest circuit, New York.

Centennial Farms in the winner's circle at Saratoga with Rocketry.

Members of Centennial Farms and the Jimmy Jerkens barn enjoy Rocketry’s Saratoga win with jockey Jose Ortiz.