CENTENNIAL FOUNDER LITTLE DIES AFTER SHOW JUMPING ACCIDENT

(Myopia Hunt)

Donald V. Little, founder and chairman of Centennial Farms, died Feb. 29 from injuries sustained three days earlier when his horse fell while jumping a fence during the Masters Classic in the International Arena at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla.

Centennial typically purchased yearlings and many of them received their early training for many years at the Middleburg Training Center under the tutelage of Paula Parsons before moving to Centennial’s private facility.

Centennial Farms won the 1993 Belmont Stakes Gr.1 with Colonial Affair and the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2007 with Corinthian.  Colonial Affair’s win gave Julie Krone the honor of being the first female jockey to win a Triple Crown race.  Cenntenial also campaigned the champion Rubiano among others. 

LITTLE AS A TEENAGER IN THE 1940’s.
(Boston Common Magazine)
Little was captain of Myopia Hunt Club Polo for 18 years, past president of the United States Polo Association, and current master of the foxhounds of the Myopia Hunt Club.

Judith A. Little, Don’s wife of 57 years, said, “I will miss him so much. Donald died doing what he loved. He was loved and respected by so many people, including his fellow competitors, partners, and team members in the horse worlds of polo, field hunting, show jumping, and Thoroughbred racing as well as in all other aspects of his life.”

A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Little spent most of his adult life as a resident of Ipswich, Mass. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and was an avid pilot and a U.S. Air Force veteran where he was the youngest aircraft commander in the Strategic Air Command. Professionally, he was a successful broker and investment manager at UBS and its predecessor companies, PaineWebber and Kidder Peabody.

(Glenn Kulbako/Hamilton-WenhamPatch.com)
In addition to his wife Judy, Don is survived by a son, Donald V. Little, Jr., and a daughter, Andrea Little Eaton, both of Ipswich, Mass., a sister Patricia Moseley of Hamilton, Mass., a brother, Crocker Snow, Jr. of Ipswich, Mass., a brother, Andrew J. Little of Chipping Norton, England, and grandchildren Tapley D. Eaton, Donald V. Little III, James D. Little and Isabella H. Eaton.

(Editor’s note: I’ve known Don since the 1980’s and he was truly one of the good guys. I recall sitting on his front porch at Saratoga 25 years ago discussing the industry’s future with Bob Manfuso when we all happened to meet up in front of Little’s August home. Manfuso was getting coffee, Little the morning paper and I was looking for my car that I had abandoned on the way to Ciros after the sale. 

(Myopia Hunt)
On another occasion at the Saratoga sale, Don invited Tyson Gilpin and I over to the barn to see his latest purchase, a son of Pleasant Colony, Centennial has acquired for $100,000 during the previous evening’s session.  After admiring the big, leggy colt, Gilpin asked me privately why I had not kept this particular one on my short list for our buyers.  “He was the first horse I saw when I arrived and I guess I was looking for Secretariat,” I told the veteran horseman and bloodstock agent who knew a good horse when he saw one.  The yearling turned out to be Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair.  I looked twice at the first few yearlings at each sale after that, and, to his credit, Little never brought up the subject again. — Glenn Petty)