While Massachusetts isn’t exactly known as a hotbed for thoroughbred breeders, the spirit of Boston Strong will be on nation display once again Saturday, at the Kentucky Derby. A Bay State colt is running in the legendary race. The horse, Wicked Strong, is owned by a 28-member partnership from Centennial Farms in Beverly. The 3-year-old qualified for the Derby by a stunning win in the Wood Memorial Stakes at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y., and as of Thursday evening was the second-favorite for the Run of the Roses.
The colt’s name — an unmistakable local reference if there ever was one — emerged after Centennial Farms president Don Little learned Boston Strong had been taken for a New Hampshire horse. Centennial Farms has pledged to donate 5 percent of the horse’s earnings for the three Triple Crown races (which also include the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes) to the One Fund. If Wicked Strong wins the Triple Crown — a feat no horse has accomplished since 1978 — that’s some serious cash. But even if the colt fails to place in one race, he’s keeping the spirit of charity and concern for the Marathon bombing victims alive.