Centennial Farms: Tradition and Innovation

“Campaigning elite athletes in partnerships for more than 30 years.” Find your way to the Centennial Farms website, and this is the tagline that you will greet you. It’s also the philosophy with which Don Little Jr., president and co-owner of Centennial, opens a conversation in the track kitchen at Belmont Park.

“In any successful business, you want to compete at the top end,” he said over a late breakfast of coffee and a bagel with cream cheese. “We knew we wanted to race at the top level, in races like the Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby.”

Originally based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, an upscale coastal town known for its beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast, Centennial was founded by Little’s father, Don Sr. With a background in the investment business, Little was well aware of the tax benefits of owning racehorses — which were considered a financial asset like, to borrow his son’s examples, an oil well or a building — and he used them as a selling point when he decided to establish his own racing partnerships in the early 1980s.

Wicked Strong winning the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Photo: NYRA/Chelsea Durand

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