Lexington, KY - November 1, 2014 - In front of a pumped up Saturday night crowd at the 131st National Horse Show in Lexington, Kentucky, Olympic teammates Beezie Madden and McLain Ward did battle once again. In this skirmish it was Madden and Cortes 'C' edging out Ward and Rothchild by a single second to claim the title in the $250,000 Canadian Pacific Grand Prix CSI4*-W, presented by the Harrison Family. Madden had the advantage of going last and ripped across the finish line in a sensational time of 34.71 seconds to nail down the win. Just minutes earlier, Ward and Rothchild had posted the top time of 35.73 seconds, but ended up settling for second place. Georgina Bloomberg and Juvina finished in third in 39.46 seconds.
Thirty-eight starters went to the post and were faced with a solid World Cup test with 13 numbered obstacles and 16 jumping efforts, designed by popular Brazilian course designer Guilherme Jorge. He used a triple combination early on at 5abc and a double later at 9ab. The triple caused plenty of problems at the top of the order and then once the riders began to solve that dilemma, fence 6, the tall CP vertical and 12, the very wide CP oxer coming home, began to take their toll. All in all though, faults were spread throughout the course and a snug time allowed added time faults to a number of score sheets, but none more heartbreaking than the single time infraction that prevented Laura Kraut and Andretti S from advancing to the dash for cash.
Tonight's top finishers all had praise for Jorge's tough, but fair test. "Today he really ratcheted up the test," Ward noted. "I think it was an appropriate test for a World Cup. Three of the best horses in the class, in my opinion, near the top. So I think that was a really good result for this level of competition."
Madden agreed. "I think he made it a bit more difficult today. I think he was a little restricted in the height in the prize list for the other classes. In this one he had a little bit more freedom, and I think it made for a good jump-off and a good result. It was a good class."
"Thursday was very much on the soft side, but he learned the footing is good here, there are good horses here," added Bloomberg. "Today he did a really good test which is the most important thing."
Overall, eight horse and rider combinations mastered the first round course, totaling seven women and Ward, and all of the riders were from the United States. In fact, the highest placed foreign rider tonight was Beat Mandli of Switzerland with Antares F in 10th place.
Although the jump-off would prove to be one of the best we've seen in a long, long time, it didn't start out that way. Over the shortened jump-off track, the first three to return all rolled the rail in the same fashion, at that same problematic fence #6. Brianne Goutal, the first to go clean in the first round with Nice de Prissey, had that rail and then one more to finish with eight faults in 38.856 seconds.
Kirsten Coe and Baronez had only the troublesome rail at fence 6 down to move ahead of Goutal with only four faults on her scorecard, in 40.54 seconds. Local favorite, Reed Kessler, finished with eight faults, but was faster than Goutal to move ahead of her in the order with Cylana in 37.53 seconds.
And then the fun began.
Candice King guided Kismet 50 to the first double clear of the night, much to the delight of the boisterous crowd on hand. King was clean and concise in a time 41.66 seconds, but in the end she would be nearly seven seconds off the winning pace. But, she certainly got the crowd buzzing.
And Georgina Bloomberg got them going even more. Making some neat turns with Juvina, Bloomberg galloped home almost two seconds faster than King in 39.46 seconds. "For me, my aim with her is to go for a nice slow clear and hopefully have that be good enough for a good ribbon," Bloomberg said. "Today, I felt I could be a little quicker and take a shot at it. I also knew that realistically, she at her fastest is always going to be a little slower than Beezie and McLain at their fastest. So I knew if they didn't pull any rails, I probably wouldn't finish behind them," she said.
McLain Ward and Rothchild were the next to enter the ring and from the start, Ward never let off the gas. He was at high speed the entire way around the eight fence track. Meeting every fence almost perfectly, Ward raced home almost four seconds faster than Bloomberg in 35.73 seconds. "I didn't think I left a lot out there, but I wasn't confident I was going to win either with Beezie coming behind me," Ward admitted. "I have to say though, if I was in that position 100 times I would have ridden the same exact ground. With her coming behind me, I think I would have ridden the same round. Maybe if I had gone after her, I would have tried to do the impossible, but I did about all that I could. My horse doesn't have quite as big a stride, but he jumped super."
"Rothchild just keeps giving and giving," he said. "I would have liked to have won, but I really can't second guess anything that I did."
Lillie Keenan and Pumped Up Kicks, in their race for tonight's top prize, dislodged the rail at 8 on their way to a finish time of 38.82 seconds. She would end up fifth on the night.
That set the stage for Beezie Madden and her always ready to go partner, Cortes 'C.' Madden matched Ward's track step for step, but Cortes, naturally, has the bigger stride. However, it was Madden's approach to the final fence that really sealed the deal on tonight's win. The pair raced home in 34.71 seconds, a second ahead of Ward and Rothchild. "I knew McLain was very fast. My husband John told me that. I knew that I would have to pull out all the stops. He also told me to take a risk and use his scope at the last fence. I think maybe I stretched it a little too far," she laughed.
"He's been amazing all year. I'm really happy that he came back and did well," said the WEG Team and Individual Bronze medalist. "This is his first competition back in the states. I'm really happy he's still on form and doing well."
"He's like a big puppy dog. He loves attention from people. He'll put his head right in your lap. I think he'd love to be a lapdog in his next life," she smiled. "He'll let you know if he doesn't like something though. He'll make that very clear."
Hunter Harrison, the CEO of Canadian Pacific and Chairman of the Board of the National Horse Show and sponsor of tonight's event said, "Let me congratulate Georgina and McLain and Beezie for an outstanding performance. It's a pleasure for us to be able to sponsor a show of this prestige and for it to come off as well as it did. You can congratulate the course designer. He did a wonderful job because you see the cream came to the top here tonight. Three of the top riders in country and three of the top riders in the world," he said. "We just feel very privileged at Canadian Pacific to be able to sponsor a wonderful event like this."
Harrison then announced some very exciting news. "We made a commitment today to go through the 2016 National Horse Show as sponsors. We would probably go even further, except we have a policy that you cannot go beyond a CEO's tenure. I'm out in 2017 and we'll have to sell the new CEO that it's a tradition that he should carry on," he smiled.
Madden captured the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider award and the Audi Leading Rider award for her efforts tonight, but more importantly, she bankrolled some valuable World Cup points as everybody is fighting for a spot at the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas next April. "My first goal is to qualify. Even though I had a good score today, I really only have planned to do seven qualifiers unless I get desperate and start scrambling around," she said. "Seven scores count, so I need all those to be good really."
Tonight was certainly a step in the right direction.
Madden and Ward will head to Toronto next. For Bloomberg, it's wait and see. "I'm right on the cusp for Toronto. So I'll have my bags packed and ready to go if I get the call the night before," she said. "I'd love to go. Juvina has had a little rest now, and she felt fresh so I felt like I could make a little shot at it. Hopefully, I get into Toronto. If not, Paris is the next stop."
Not a bad alternative.
Shawn Casady Moves Up the Ranks to Claim Inaugural $65,000 Sleepy P Ranch & Deeridge Farm Under 25 Championship
The final day of the $65,000 Sleepy P Ranch & Deeridge Farm Under 25 Championship at the 131st National Horse Show ultimately came down to two demanding rounds and an upset in the ranks as Shawn Casady and Twister made a comeback to seal the victory. Casady jumped from the fourth position to the first with a double clear today, finishing on a total of 6 penalties to lead the victory gallop for the inaugural championship.
Casady's consistent efforts in the first two days of competition put him just behind the 18-year-old Michael Hughes and MacArthur. Hughes and MacArthur, owned by Christina Fried, led the standings going into the final day of competition, with day one and two class winners Wilton Porter and Kalvin Dobbs sitting in third and second respectively. With zero penalties to his name, Hughes entered the competition with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
MacArthur, a horse known for his foot speed, unfortunately had one rail during the opening round and continued into the second round with four penalties. A rub at the front rail of the tenth obstacle dropped him from the lead, leaving Casady to take the championship with six penalties overall.
"MacArthur is usually a horse that thrives off going a lot more, so I was a little bit surprised the first night when he went so well," Hughes recounted. "Usually he can be a little bit spooky the first night, but he was great every round. He tried so hard. We made a few mistakes the last couple of rounds, being a little bit nervous. But other than that he was amazing all week."
Hughes continued, "Going into the second round, I knew I couldn't have a rail. I could have time faults, but MacArthur's naturally a fast horse so I didn't think I would. I thought it was going to be a great course for him. I was a bit surprised by the rail we had. I couldn't have asked any more from him all week."
Casady, a rider recently turned professional, was thrilled with his win aboard Twister, owned by Cavallo Farms, LLC. He trained with Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Farm during his junior years, and his transition to professional rider has been smooth as he continues his relationship with their operation.
"As a junior I was always busy, kind of like a professional, catch riding and working for different people," Casady said. "I have been trying to do more, ride more and get more classes like this. It's been a really smooth transition. I've worked with Twister for a couple years now. The Spoglis own him-huge thanks to them for the opportunity to ride a real grand prix horse like that."
Casady continued, "He likes to be ridden together with seat and contact. He's not a small catty horse. You have to worry a little about the time allowed, but he thrives off the pace of it and it works."
Beezie Madden and Cortes 'C' captured the $250,000 Canadian Pacific Grand Prix CSI4*-W at the National Horse Show.
Third place finisher Nicole Bellissimo made a huge comeback after initially placing 17th on the opening day of competition. Although she consistently rode VDL Bellefleur to four clear rounds, her opening day put her into a low rank when she incurred time faults for her tidy round.
Bellissimo described, "I've had her since the end of her 6-year-old year, so even though she's 8 years old right now, I know her extremely well. We've been stepping her up and down. She's done some grand prix, won a 1.50m class at Bromont and jumped clear at New Albany. We let her tell us how she's feeling and try not to push her too much."
Casady admitted that the quality of horses was unbelievable, with the top ranked riders in the nation, 25 and younger, vying for the first annual championship. "This championship is great!" Casady said. "It's neat that they started it this year, and I'm excited to see where it goes. It is a really great program. I don't think there was a bad horse in the class. Every round, every horse, every rider-it was intense!"
The Under 25 Championship was brought about with the support of Suzanne Porter of Sleepy P Ranch as a way of closing the gap between the High Amateur-Owner and Junior Jumpers and the Grand Prix. Most of the riders have competed through the pipeline, whether it was pony jumpers or equitation medals.
Hughes is one of those riders, entering into his last equitation competition of his junior years tomorrow during the ASPCA Maclay Final. Although he felt the nerves during the championship division today, now that he has achieved a great result at this year's National Horse Show, he feels a bit less pressure going into the Maclay.
"I'd say that today was a lot similar height-wise to an under 25 grand prix , but the level of pressure going in made it all bigger going around. You just had to make sure everything was perfect, so hopefully you could jump a clear round. Pressure made everything harder than usual today, but the jumpers are my first priority. I'm pretty relaxed going into tomorrow. I have a great horse, and hopefully it all goes well."
The ASPCA Maclay Finals will conclude the 131st National Horse Show tomorrow, commencing at 7 a.m.
For more information on the National Horse Show, 131st edition, please visit www.nhs.org.
$250,000 CANADIAN PACIFIC GRAND PRIX CSI4*-W 1.60M
Order Entry # Horse Name Rider Name JF1 TF1 AF1 Time 1 JF2 TF2 AF2 Time 2
1 346 CORTES 'C' BEEZIE MADDEN 0 0 0 74.270 0 0 0 34.710
2 370 ROTHCHILD MCLAIN WARD 0 0 0 74.230 0 0 0 35.730
3 356 JUVINA GEORGINA BLOOMBERG 0 0 0 75.640 0 0 0 39.460
4 226 KISMET 50 CANDICE KING 0 0 0 75.560 0 0 0 41.660
5 355 PUMPED UP KICKS.. LILLIE KEENAN 0 0 0 75.940 4 0 4 38.820
6 336 BARONEZ KIRSTEN COE 0 0 0 75.220 4 0 4 40.540
7 262 CYLANA REED KESSLER 0 0 0 75.640 8 0 8 37.530
8 339 NICE DE PRISSEY BRIANNE GOUTAL 0 0 0 74.490 8 0 8 38.850
9 342 ANDRETTI S LAURA KRAUT 0 1 1 76.200
10 353 ANTARES F BEAT MANDLI 4 0 4 72.800
$25,000 U25 CHAMP-FINAL ROUND 1.50M
Order Entry # Horse Name Rider Name JF1 TF1 AF1 Time 1 JF2 TF2 AF2 Time 2
1 777 TWISTER SHAWN CASADY 6 0 6 64.920
2 821 MACARTHUR MICHAEL HUGHES 8 0 8 65.580
3 430 VDL BELLEFLEUR NICOLE BELLISSIMO 8 0 8 65.880
4 641 GATSBY MAGGIE MCALARY 12 0 12 63.300
5 429 KAID DU RY ALISE OKEN 12 0 12 65.820
6 418 ROCKY W KAITLIN CAMPBELL 13 0 13 64.380
7 755 ALL IN KATHERINE STRAUSS 13 0 13 65.290
8 713 CHANEL B 2 VICTORIA COLVIN 15 0 15 66.270
9 449 PUNCHY DORCEL BRITTNI RAFLOWITZ 21 0 21 66.250
10 591 SANDOR DE LA POMME CATHERINE TYREE 22 0 22 64.850
About the National Horse Show
Founded in 1883 at the original Madison Square Garden, the National Horse Show is America's oldest indoor horse show, firmly established as a major fixture on the national and international sports and social event calendars. The National Horse Show Association's primary activity is the annual production of the National Horse Show and all ancillary events. Over the years, the National Horse Show has provided financial aid to many worthwhile charities.
With $755,000 in prize money offered, this year's National Horse Show offers an International Open Jumpers with $460,000 in prize money, while the top rated hunter sections have a total purse of $195,000. Meanwhile, $100,000 in total is offered to the Amateur-Owner and U 25 Jumper sections.
For the fourth consecutive year, The National Horse Show received a top ranking from NARG, the North American Riders Group and was named the Show Hunter Hall of Fame Horse Show of the Year in four back-to-back years.
For more information go to: www.nhs.org