Three teenagers and a veteran rounded out the jump-off in the $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix presented by The Kincade Group, and the first to go in was the one to return to the winner's circle. Nineteen-year-old Katie Dinan of New York, NY, and her energetic partner Nougat du Vallet were double clear to win the biggest class of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, which ran May 7-12 and 14-19. The competition concluded two great weeks of equestrian sport in North Salem with incredible entries and top horses and riders.
The $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix had 37 competitors, and they rode over a course designed by Anthony D'Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY. Riding second in the order, Dinan and “Nougat,” a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Scherif D'elle, made it look easy as they bounded through the course for the first clear round. They returned first for the jump-off and set a quick pace and the only clear round in 39.898 seconds.
Dinan felt that going early in the class was an advantage in the rainy conditions. “Going early in situations like this helps a little bit because the footing is only going to get worse, not better. I tried to get a really good idea of what I was doing when I walked the course,” she explained. “We had a lot of time to do that, so I had a really good plan coming in. I think the main thing is that when the footing gets a little bit deep in the field, the jumps ride a little bit bigger than you expect. I tried to take that into account and think of a few oxers early on and get my horse feeling confident. But he couldn't have jumped any better.” Nineteen-year-old Meg O'Mara of Rumson, NJ, was next in on Aragon Rouet, a 2000 BWP gelding by Baloubet du Rouet x Remondo, owned by Walstib Stables LLC. They pulled a rail at the first jump and had another jump down for eight faults in 45.182 seconds for fourth place.
O'Mara partnered with Aragon Rouet at the beginning of 2012, but this year the big chestnut was coming back from an injury. “Last week was our first big class back together,” she related. “It's just really getting experience and going around the big classes. I did not think I'd go clear at all! But he was so good today and it was a good course for him. It was hard, but with the hard courses he always does better, and he's really good on grass.”Regarding her jump-off ride, she commented, “I've done very few jump-offs with him, so I'm not used to doing these big jump-offs. I didn't have enough impulsion to the first jump and then I tried to be a little too neat. But he was so good and I'm really happy.”
Eighteen-year-old Mattias Tromp of North Salem, NY, contested the jump-off next on Casey, a KWPN gelding by Ircolando x Ferro, owned by Beyaert Farm Inc. They had one fence down and stopped the timers in 46.092 seconds for third place. “I saw Katie go very fast,” Tromp recalled. “My plan was to have a nice, efficient clear round, but not to catch Katie's time. After I had my rail at 13b, I immediately hit the brakes and just tried to have the rest of the jumps up.”
Tromp started riding Casey two years ago and started at Level 2 and 3 Jumpers. “We've stepped up consistently since then and now we're doing this less than a year and a half later,” he said. “I just finished high school and just turned professional this week. This was a good start!”
Last to go in the jump-off were last week's grand prix winners, Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, and Legacy Stables' Uraguay. Minikus looked to be on pace for another win, but after a rail, they continued through the course to finish in 41.930 seconds and second place.
Minikus recounted his plan for the jump-off, “I was in the driver's seat getting to go last, and watching Katie go on Nougat, she was quick enough. She was a little slow on the turn back, I thought, from the combination to the oxer, and then going across the ring to the ditch. I thought she had a nice round, but it was definitely catchable. My horse jumped a great jump at number one and then I thought I was going to be cute and just turn back on the vertical and he rolled it off. And that was it, she wins.” Minikus and Uraguay, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Nairobi x Colino, were one of the most competitive pairs at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, having won the Sunday grand prix during week one, placing third in Friday's grand prix in week two, and their second place finish today. “The only thing that could have been better was if we won all three of them,” he smiled, For Dinan (right), this was a turning point for her year. Having just finished her freshman year at Harvard University on Saturday, she returned to Old Salem Farm ready to prepare for a big summer of competition. “He had last week off. I showed him in a 1.40m class on Thursday and he jumped really well, (and then) I had to go finish up at school. I officially finished my freshman year yesterday, so I told everyone I was going to be in a really good mood on Sunday, no matter what! Now I'm extra happy,” she beamed.
Dinan puts her win here among the top on her list of accolades. “For prize money-wise, this is the biggest grand prix I've ever won, and it's really exciting. My other horse Glory Days was really good. We were one of the faster four-faulters and finished seventh. I thought it was one of our better grand prix rounds we've done. It was really nice to end on that note with both of them because we go to Spruce Meadows in two weeks,” she said.
Like many other top riders at Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, Dinan was happy to have the grass field here to compete on before heading out for the summer circuit in Calgary. “This is a great way to prepare for that,” she acknowledged. “There are not many fields like this that we get to compete on. I always love this horse show for that reason because it's just so much fun.”
Final Results: $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix presented by The Kincade Group
1 NOUGAT DU VALLET: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Scherif D'elle
KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners: 0/0/39.898
2 URAGUAY: 2001 KWPN gelding by Nairobi x Colino
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Legacy Stables, LLC: 0/4/41.930
3 CASEY: 2001 KWPN gelding by Ircolando x Ferro
MATTIAS TROMP (USA), Beyaert Farm LLC: 0/4/46.092
4 ARAGON ROUET: 2000 BWP gelding by Baloubet du Rouet x Remondo
MEG O'MARA (USA), Walstib Stables LLC: 0/8/45.182
5 ANY GIVEN SUNDAY: 2003 Oldenburg stallion Indoctro x Condor
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Hays Investment Corp: 1/85.097
6 ZERLY: 2004 KPWN mare by Querlybet Hero x Carthago
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 4/80.268
7 GLORY DAYS: 2001 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Diamond Serpent
KATIE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners, LLC: 4/81.282
8 WANNAHAVE: 2003 KWPN gelding by Manhattan x G. Ramiro Z
MCLAIN WARD (USA), The Wannahave Group: 4/82.325
9 UTAH: 2001 KWPN gelding by Andiamo x Jus De Pomme
LESLIE HOWARD (USA), The Utah Group:
10 PUMPED UP KICKS: 2003 Brandenburg gelding by Levisto x San Juan
LILLIE KEENAN (USA), Chansonette Farm LLC: 4/83.496
11 PRIMO DE REVEL: 2001 BWP gelding by Quinault x Lys de Darmen
PAUL O'SHEA (IRL), Michael Hayden: 4/84.645
12 KISMET 50: 2001 BWP mare by Kannan x Furioso II
CANDICE KING (USA), Bellissimo, LLC: 4/84.861
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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