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McLain Ward takes top two spots in $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix

Monday, 19 May 2014

McLain Ward and his winning ride HH Cannavaro. Photos by The Book LLC.The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows came to a successful conclusion with their highlight event, the $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix, presented by The Kincade Group, Merrill Lynch. McLain Ward rode to first and second place with HH Cannavaro and HH Carlos Z, both owned by Double H Farm, over a prestigious field of horses and riders. After two weeks of top finishes, Darragh Kenny won the $20,000 Leading Jumper Rider Award, presented by Houlihan Lawrence. Today's competition concluded two great weeks of equestrian sport in North Salem, and Old Salem Farm would like to thank the exhibitors, sponsors, and staff for their support.

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows were held May 6-11 and May 13–18 at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. The shows featured over 130 hunter and jumper classes each week, bringing together top competitors, including Olympic show jumpers, from across the country to compete for almost $500,000 in prize money.

Michael Hughes and Macarthur.There were 42 entries in the grand prix, and nine of them were clear to advance to the jump-off over a course designed by Ireland's Alan Wade. The first clear round in the jump-off came from Leslie Howard on Jane Clark's Wintu, who recorded a time of 38.758 seconds. They would finish in fourth place. Next in, Candice King and Bellissimo LLC's Kismet 50 placed fifth with a time of 40.325 seconds and no faults.

Ward and HH Cannavaro set the winning time at 36.896 seconds. The rider who came the closest to catching Ward was Michael Hughes of Allendale, NJ, on Macarthur, who stopped the timers in 37.836 seconds for third place. Ward and his second horse, HH Carlos Z, had a time of 37.232 seconds, just off the pace.

Ward and HH Cannavaro set the winning time at 36.896 seconds. The rider who came the closest to catching Ward was Michael Hughes of Allendale, NJ, on Macarthur, who stopped the timers in 37.836 seconds for third place. Ward and his second horse, HH Carlos Z, had a time of 37.232 seconds, just off the pace.

Hughes has been riding Macarthur for three years, and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Concorde has helped him move into the grand prix arena. "He's been a great horse horse for me," Hughes affirmed. "He has a lot of experience, so he's good for me to go in and start jumping bigger classes like this. He's pretty much been my main horse to go jump bigger jumps on. He's a great horse. He's just such a smart horse and so clever."

Hughes said that Macarthur's scope and big stride came in handy on the grass Grand Prix Field. Watching the jump-off, he adjusted his plan. "I had a different plan when I initially walked it, and then I saw McLain go. I changed my plan a little bit doing a few less strides here and there," he said. "I still ended up doing the add down the last line, which I guess cost me a little bit."

McLain Ward and HH Cannavaro.Ward said of the jump-off course, "There was a seven (strides) from one to two, and then from three to four there was another seven strides, which was difficult to get. But [Cannavaro] has such a big, ground-covering stride that I really thought he could do it. He did it easy. I was trying to be a little faster with Carlos because I knew that Brianne and Kevin were coming after me. But the second to last (jump) didn't show up quite the way I wanted, and I had to add a stride. But it all worked out."

Both horses are new to Ward, who started with HH Cannavaro in January and HH Carlos Z in February of this year. "It's a restarted partnership with Hunter Harrison and Double H Farm, so it's very exciting for us," Ward noted. "They're both really talented and very willing horses. It's nice that things are really starting to come together."

HH Cannavaro, a 10-year-old Holsteiner stallion by Caplan, is "a bit like riding a big equitation horse," Ward said. "He's very easy, he's very straightforward. He has massive jump, and he has a lot of quality. He doesn't want to touch the fences. Probably sometimes you'd have to say he's not the fastest horse in the world, a little bit like another great horse I had, Sapphire. But he's so willing that you can do distances and turns that you can't do on another horse."

Describing HH Carlos Z, a 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z, as "very, very fast," Ward said that he is "like a minibike." He added, "He's a horse I've known for a number of years; he's a great winner. He's a wonderful addition to have in the string because he's a very competitive horse that can win every day."

Darragh Kenny is presented with his check for $20,000 as the Leading Jumper Rider from sponsors Callie and Nancy Seaman of Houlihan Lawrence and Scott and Kamran Hakim of Old Salem Farm.Hailing from Brewster, NY, just a few miles down the road, Ward has competed at Old Salem Farm for years and the shows here rank among his favorites. He remarked, "For many years it was a nice, national-level show, and it's really grown into pretty much an international event now. The Hakim family and the management have done such a phenomenal job with the facility. It's very exciting for us in this area to have this place, trying to run not only the great spring shows here, but the American Gold Cup and possibly some big, exciting events to come in the future. This area is behind it; it's a horse area."

Final Results: $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix, presented by The Kincade Group, Merrill Lynch

1 655 HH CANNAVARO MCLAIN WARD DOUBLE H FARM: 0/0/36.896

2 653 HH CARLOS Z MCLAIN WARD DOUBLE H FARM: 0/0/37.232

3 416 MACARTHUR MICHAEL HUGHES CHRISTINA FRIED: 0/0/37.836

4 179 WINTU LESLIE HOWARD JANE CLARK: 0/0/38.758

5 504 KISMET 50 CANDICE KING BELLISSIMO LLC: 0/0/40.325

6 153 SHORAPUR KEVIN BABINGTON SHORAPUR LLC: 0/4/37.384

7 290 ROMANTOVICH TAKE ONE CHRISTINE MC CREA CANDY TRIBBLE & WINDSOR SHOW STABLES: 0/8/38.159

8 383 WIRMA BRIANNE GOUTAL REMARKABLE FARMS LP: 0/8/39.162

9 1113 AIR FORCE ONE KAMA GODEK KAMA GODEK: 0/13/50.465

10 152 CORD 11 KEVIN BABINGTON MECO EQUESTRIAN LLC: 4/72.357

11 782 VASCO ADAM PRUDENT PLAIN BAY SALES/PATRICK FLIN: 4/73.439

12 498 WISTFUL DARRAGH KENNY ALEXANDER LLC: 4/76.885

Source: Press release by Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

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