Wicked Strong Emotions for Centennial Farms at Belmont Stakes
Wicked Strong Emotions for Centennial Farms at Belmont Stakes: Wicked Strong is comfortable and settled at Belmont Park as he prepares for the 146th Running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 7, 2014. After the three-year-old colt’s fourth place finish in the Kentucky Derby, Wicked Strong once again brings the magic and strong emotions to the track for Bostonians and the Centennial Farms family.
Winning the third and final jewel of the Triple Crown is a tremendous feat in so many ways but a win with Wicked Strong would be even sweeter for Centennial Farms. Donald V. Little, Jr. is the president of Centennial Farms and is hoping to make winning the Belmont Stakes a family tradition.
In a phone interview Donald Little, Jr. explained, “It’s been an emotional ride with Wicked Strong. We won the Belmont before, when my father was here. So it’s emotional for the family. I’m hoping to follow in my father’s footsteps.”
Little’s father, Donald Little, Sr., won the 1993 Belmont Stakes for Centennial Farms with Colonial Affair. Jockey Julie Krone was on the mount for the Belmont Stakes victory for trainer Flint Schulhofer. Colonial Affair went on to win the Whitney Handicap and the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 1994.
Donald Little, Jr. said that Wicked Strong will continue on with his career after the Belmont Stakes saying, “We’ll keep going with him next year as long as he is fit and stays sound.” Little added, “He’s a quirky horse. He likes it his way. Wicked Strong is definitely the Alpha Male. He always sticks his tongue out, when he’s tired and when he isn’t.”
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens breezed Wicked Strong on Sunday with exercise rider Kelvin Pahal and has reported he’ll use the same training methods before the 2014 Belmont Stakes as he did with the Kentucky Derby and the victorious Wood Memorial.
Despite the plan of action implemented by trainer Jimmy Jerkins, Donald Little, Jr. said, “His exercise rider let’s him go where he wants to go and do what he wants to do in the morning. You’ll see him playing around on the track in the mornings, carrying on and bucking up.” Little added, “When Wicked Strong was young he spent more time on his hind legs than on all fours!”
Centennial Farms partnership consists of 28 owners, 20 of which are new to racing. The gang will be at Belmont Park in full force to support their colt Wicked Strong in the 146th Running of the Belmont Stakes. Wicked Strong’s list of supporters not only includes 99.9% of Boston, but also Kimberly Jacobs who is part owner of the Boston Bruins. Boston Bruins #22 forward Shawn Thornton will also be at Belmont Park to cheer on Wicked Strong.
To have such a patriot city such as Boston back your horse is exciting and honorable to say the least. Donald Little, Jr. commented, “It’s great to have a local horse from Boston in the Triple Crown races. It’s so much fun.” Little added, “If I could tell racing fans one thing it would be that I’d like Wicked Strong to carry the message for Boston and continue to help the The One Fund.”
The Belmont Stakes has an approximate post time of 6:52 PM ET at Belmont Park and is the 11th race of the day on June 7, 2014. Post positions will be drawn on Wednesday, June 4th at 11:30 AM ET. A live stream of the post position draw will be available at BelmontStakes.com/livestream.
As fellow Bostonians, Lady and The Track would like to wish jockey Rajiv Maragh, trainer Jimmy Jerkins, Donald Little, Jr., Centennial Farms, and the resilient Wicked Strong the best of luck in the 2014 Belmont Stakes.
Wicked Strong Photo Gallery: Coglianese/NYRA, Susie Raisher