New York native, Georgina Bloomberg, and Gotham Enterprizes, LLC's Caleno 3 raced to victory and clinched the top spot on the leaderboard in Friday's feature class during the 2016 American Gold Cup at Old Salem Farm. Seventy-three exhibitors battled it out for the top 40 spots in the standings in the $86,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier, presented by Windsor Show Stables, in order to return for Sunday's main event.
With the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the rearview mirror, the world's top international horses and athletes are now looking toward the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals in Omaha, Nebraska. The 2016 American Gold Cup hosts one of the 14 qualifying events of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League, the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York CSI4*-W to be held on Sunday, where athletes will gain valuable ranking points to be in contention to compete at the finals in March 2017. In order to advance to Sunday's grand prix, athletes had to first prove themselves over Alan Wade's challenging show jumping track on Friday.
"I've been riding Caleno 3 in some of the bigger classes for a while now," said Bloomberg. "I've had him for three years and he's just a great, solid horse that I've been able to use in a lot of different classes. I don't get too many opportunities to really try to go fast with him. I am usually doing bigger classes and sometimes trying to go for a double clear. Today, this is his last class of the week so I decided I had nothing to lose - he's been jumping well so I decided I would go for it. I went fast with him yesterday and he jumped well in the first round. I figured worse comes to worst he'll have a rail but I wanted to try to win."
Throughout the first round, many horses and athletes collected faults over Wade's final bending line from a triple combination to a liverpool vertical. However, 11 were able to navigate their mounts to a faultless performance in order to advance to the jump-off.
As fourth in the jump-off order-of-go, Peter Lutz (USA) and Robin de Ponthual, owned by M. Michael Meller and Katherine Gallagher, were the early clear pathfinders, finishing in 43.920 seconds with all of the rails intact, which would be good enough for sixth place. Next was Laura Kraut (USA) and St. Bride's Farm's Confu who also finished double clear in 40.930 seconds, shaving three full seconds off of Lutz's time for fifth place. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Deslauriers (USA) and Hester, owned by Lisa Deslauriers, kept the trend up, posting a double clear finish in 37.250 seconds to outpace Kraut by three more seconds and eventually earn the second place prize. Deslauriers' success comes just two weeks after her second place finish in the $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier at the Hampton Classic Horse Show.
"It's really incredible just walking the course or being in the schooling area next to McLain or Beezie or any of these riders," said Deslauriers. "It's inspiring and it makes you want to ride better. To be second these past two weeks is incredible. My horse has been jumping really well. So far we have been able to step up and nothing seems to faze him. I am very lucky. He is naturally a very quick horse and he has a huge stride so I just try to be smooth and shave off some turns here and there and let him roll a little bit. He was really great and Georgina was awesome.
"The experience of this class is as good as anything," continued Deslauriers. "It's so nice to come here. All summer we have been on grass from Spruce Meadows and then the Hampton Classic. Continuing the streak of shows with grass is so nice for the horses. They love jumping on it and it's really fun to ride on."
Bloomberg entered the Grand Prix Field next, following Deslauriers' round, aboard the 12-year-old Hessian Warmblood gelding and successfully pulled off another speedy and clear round in 36.530 seconds to take over the lead.
"I've watched Lucy go in so many jump-offs and I have so much respect for her as a rider - I've watched her grow up," explained Bloomberg. "I knew she was fast and that I would have to lay it out and leave strides out if I was going to beat her. I took a big risk going back to the double. I sort of had to leave a stride out. If I hadn't seen her go or if there wasn't someone as quick as she was I probably would have added a stride there."
Conor Swail (IRL) and Cita, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, followed Bloomberg and left all of the rails in their cups, tripping the timers in 39.110 seconds, which would be good enough for fourth place. It was Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Starlight Farms, LLC's Toulago who claimed the final double clear round of the short course as last to go, breaking the beam in 37.730 seconds to round out the top three.
For Bloomberg, Friday's win at the American Gold Cup was a meaningful and nostalgic one. "I live five minutes down the road and I grew up riding here," said Bloomberg. "This is where I am comfortable and happy. I know this field very well, which definitely is a huge advantage. We always show here in the spring. I love riding out here and I am really happy when I am here. All of my friends and family get to come. It's always really special to win so today was really great."
Immediately following competition on Friday, the American Gold Cup hosted an exhibitor party at the Grand Prix Overlook with live music for athletes and owners to enjoy after a full day of competing.
The American Gold Cup's Grand Prix Field picks back up with competition on Saturday starting at 8 a.m. and features an array of jumper classics, including the $35,000 Hermès Sellier Cup and the $86,000 Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4*, as well as the Region 1 and 2 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Championships. The week culminates in the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York CSI4*-W as athletes vie for the highly sought-after American Gold Cup on Sunday.
1. Caleno 3 Georgina Bloomberg 0 69.60 0 36.53
2. Hester Lucy Deslauriers 0 68.31 0 37.25
3. Toulago Adrienne Sternlicht 0 70.30 0 37.73
4. Cita Conor Swail 0 69.64 0 39.11
5. Confu Laura Kraut 0 68.75 0 40.93
6. Robin de Ponthual Peter Lutz 0 68.93 0 43.92
7. Antares Pablo Barrios 0 70.29 4 38.92
8. For Freedom Z Keean White 0 70.49 4 41.29
9. Aristoteles V Jonathan McCrea 0 70.24 4 42.13
10. Quister Beezie Madden 0 69.64 4 47.94
11. Balou du Reventon Ljubov Kochetova 0 70.84 DNS
12. Dougie Douglas Katherine A. Dinan 1 71.61
Source: Press release from Phelps Media Group, Inc. // Picture © The Book LLC
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