By Carrie Wirth for Phelps Media Group
North Salem, NY – Sept. 10, 2015 –The 2015 American Gold Cup is honored to feature the $35,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake, sponsored by the family and friends of Donald V. Little, at Old Salem Farm. Held in memory of the legendary horseman from Boston, the class takes place Thursday, Sept.10 at 2 p.m. in the grand prix field.
An accomplished show jumper, fox hunter and polo player, Little died in 2012 after a fall in the Masters Classic at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. As those who knew him said, he died doing what he loved, successfully competing in show jumping well into his 70s. The Donald V. Little Memorial continues to support and promote his dedication to and passion for the sport.
Darragh Kenny and Gatsby won the 2014 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake.
Little founded and managed the Boston Grand Prix Jumper Classic Horse Show from 1991 to 2011. He competed in the 2006 Global Champions Tour, winning events in St. Tropez, Cannes and Monte Carlo aboard his veteran mounts Mr. Nighttime and Soprano. He finished in the ribbons at Spruce Meadows, Canada, and in many top competitions in the eastern United States.
“Don Little was my first client,” said international show jumping athlete, Schuyler Riley. “Don achieved a lot. He had fought for our country, was (featured) in a top grossing film as a polo player along side Steve McQueen and was an exceptionally successful businessman. While Don celebrated all that had accomplished, he never stopped looking for what he could do next. He had such a charismatic attitude. It was infectious. Together we accomplished much in the sport. As much as I taught Don how to ride and win at his level, Don taught me about winning in life.”
In addition to show jumping, he was widely respected in the worlds of polo, foxhunting and horse racing. At his death, he was master of foxhounds of the venerable Myopia Hunt Club, having served in that post 11 years. Past president of the United States Polo Association, he was captain of Myopia Polo for nearly two decades.
Charlie Jacobs and Schuyler Riley, pictured, along with international competitor Kamal Bahamdan are members of the group that came together to honor the memory of Don Little. Photo by Rebecca Walton.
“Don was a great friend and he did a lot for the horse community, particularly around Massachusetts,” said Charlie Jacobs, an international show jumping competitor. “This is meant to remember and honor Don’s legacy and recognize the importance Don and his family had and continue to have on the community. Schuyler suggested we do this. We are part of a group of people that want to recognize Don’s legacy.”
Little pioneered the syndicated racehorse business in the early 1980s. He was founder and chairman of Centennial Farms, which ran winners of many Thoroughbred stakes races. Centennial horse Colonial Affair won the Belmont Stakes in 1993 with Julie Krone aboard, the first female jockey ever to win the race. In 2014 the Centennial horse Wicked Strong finished fourth in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Little resided most of his adult life in Ipswich, Massachusetts. An avid pilot, he served in the U.S. Air Force and was the youngest aircraft commander in the Strategic Air Command. Professionally he was a highly successful broker and investment manager at UBS and its predecessor companies, Paine Webber and Kidder Peabody.
“I believe Don would want to be remembered here at the American Gold Cup not only because he knew Gene Mische and many people who are a part of Stadium Jumping but also because I think the American Gold Cup represents top sport in America,” Riley said. “Don loved his country and as always the eager competitor loved top sport. For that reason, the American Gold Cup is the best place to honor Don Little and his life.”
For tickets to this year’s American Gold Cup please visit www.theamericangoldcup.com.
New to the spectator experience, the American Gold Cup ticket platform enables fans to share ticket information through their social media accounts during the check out process to receive 15 percent off the ticket price. This offer only applies to pre-event ticket sales done online.
Ticket prices are $20 for adults, $15 for children 12 years of age and under (children under 3 get in free) and $15 for seniors (over 65) and $15 for members of the United States military.
Wednesday through Friday the American Gold Cup competition is free to the public.