North Salem, NY - Georgina Bloomberg aboard Gotham Enterprizes' Metropolitan galloped to victory in the $75,000 Empire State Grand Prix on the final day of competition at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows.
A starting field of 33 attempted to navigate Michel Vaillancourt's course of 16 jumping efforts to advance into the jump-off. Unfortunately, Vaillancourt's track got the better of most of the competitors. Only three horse and rider combinations managed to navigate the large and technical course without penalty, and all three came from the top of the order of go.
Up-and-coming Grand Prix rider David Tromp, 23, from North Salem, NY, was the first rider on course and posted a clear round on Casey, a horse from his family's Beyaert Farm, a sales, boarding and training facility that is a true family farm with sister Emmy and brother Mattias also showing and training.
Kate Levy was fifth in the order with Lirving Di Volsin, owned by Kate Levy LLC and Christian Woschenka, and she also had a fault free performance to advance to the next round.
Two horses later, Georgina Bloomberg cantered into the ring on Metropolitan and 82 seconds later was the last pair that we would see complete the course fault free.
Most of the faults came at fence number 5, a vertical with a black plank on top, set toward the VIP tent up the hill. The fence was set in flat cups and the turn back to the obstacle had to be judged perfectly or you ran out of room and the fence came down. The other problem on course for many was fence #8, a natural vertical that was placed downhill after the water and the double combination. Many horses seemed to roll down the hill and through the distance, taking down the top rail.
"The black plank," commented Bloomberg. "Any jump in that ring, the horses are looking, there is a lot going on, there is a bit of a hill, the black fence doesn't stand out as much, so it is a hard jump anywhere, and it definitely caught a lot of people."
Bloomberg continued, "It was a very, very good course, he (the course designer) had a lot clear the other day, and I know he didn't want to have that happen again, but at the same time there were only 33 people in it so you don't want to build something that is going to get anyone hurt or be too big."
Returning for the jump-off, David Tromp and Casey had the second fence and the black plank fence down for 8 faults in a time of 45.332 to finish in third place. Levy and Lirving Di Volsin were next to try their luck and were on track until they brought down a rail at fence 12B, originally part of the triple combination, to finish second with 4 faults in a time of 45.787.
Bloomberg knew that careful and clean was the way to go to win. "It was tough, said Bloomberg. " it wasn't a big course, but it was really technical, and the ground was a little hard so the horses didn't jump as well as they would have on softer ground, but I'm surprised, I thought there would be a few more clear. It's funny that the clear rounds all went in the beginning.
"I was happy because he is not an actually quick horse, and sometimes if I try to go quick with him he will pull a rail. So this was actually a position I would have liked most to be in - just to have to go clear. So that was really my goal was just to go clear, I wasn't even thinking if I had a rail, to be the quickest four faulter because to be the quickest four faulter I probably would have had other rails, so I was really just trying to go clear and if I had a rail then I would have been second or third, and I would have still been happy.
"I've had good luck, but I've never won a Grand Prix here, it's the horse show I grew up at, and for me my first memories of ever watching a grand prix are here, all of my heros used to ride here, and it's really the Grand Prix, out of anything else in America, that I have always wanted to win. So it might not be the biggest one we do all year, but it was always going to be the toughest for me because it was always the one I've tried the hardest for, all my friends and family are here watching and I have more people come to this horse show than I do at any other horse show throughout the year combined. It was really special to be able to do it in front of everybody, I rode at this barn for 13 years, every memory I have as a kid is here, and there couldn't be a grand prix that would mean more to me. And my Dad is here, my Mom too. I never ride well when he is here and he is probably totally baffled as to why we spend money on horses. So it was really, really nice to be able to go out there and win. It was nice to show him that I am not terrible, or at least that my horses aren't terrible.
"This is a horse I just stepped up to the Grand Prix's with and I am really excited about him. We're going to Spruce Meadows now, so that will be a big test for some younger horses, like him, who have kind of stepped up in the last year or so. This is a good prep, on the grass. We've been really lucky both weeks to have good weather and be able to jump out here, because it is such a gorgeous field, it's a shame not to use it.
"He's a 10-year-old Selle Francais. We bought him as a young horse three years ago, and I have just been bringing him along myself. He is kind of a different ride for me, I'm used to a horse with a little more blood who takes me, and he's a little slower, and goes his own way with his head down, but we've just been growing together the last couple years, and this year we really clicked and he has all the scope and he's careful and it's just a matter of kind of getting it all together. It's really exciting that he's been able to step up so easily. "
The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows are concluded for this year, but will return next May with Olympic level hunter and jumper competition.
Old Salem Farm is located one hour north of New York City. In addition to its year-long horse show series that includes more than 20 horse shows in addition to its flagship spring horse shows, it maintains state-of-the-art stabling facilities for year-round boarding. Old Salem Farm's training staff offers training for every level of riding from Short Stirrup to Grand Prix hopefuls! Exceptional horses are also available for sale or lease.
For more information on Old Salem Farm, including its year-long horse show schedule, clinics, boarding, lessons and training, please visit www.oldsalemfarm.net or call 914-669-5610.
$75,000 Empire State Grand Prix
Place/Horse/Rider/Owner/R1 Faults/R1 Time/JO Faults/JO Time
- 1 METROPOLITAN GEORGINA BLOOMBERG GOTHAM ENTERPRIZES 0 78.503 0 50.468
- 2 LIRVING DE VOLSIN KATE LEVY KATE LEVY LLC/ CHRISTIAN WOSCHENKA 0 82.037 4 45.787
- 3 CASEY DAVID TROMP . BEYAERT FARM INC 0 82.87 8 45.332
- 4 RALVESTHER BRIANNE GOUTAL . CLOVERLEAF FARM 4 75.553
- 5 GOLDIKA 559 MCLAIN WARD . BLUE CHIP BLOODSTOCK/MCLAIN WARD 4 76.512
- 6 FAROUKH SARAH WAYDA SARAH WAYDA 4 78.348
- 7 VENT DU NORD KATE LEVY . KATE LEVY 4 81.112
- 8 QUIPIT L.F. RAGAN ROBERTS QUIPIT GROUP 4 81.932
- 9 CARLOS-BOY KENNETH BERKLEY KRISTA & ALEXA WEISMAN 4 82.357
- 10 OH' D EOLE MCLAIN WARD MCLAIN WARD 8 78.719
- 11 CASAR BRIANNE GOUTAL . CLOVERLEAF FARM 8 79.945
- 12 BOO VAN HET KASTANJEHOF ANDREW WELLES PETER WELLES 8 80.063