North Salem, NY - September 13, 2012 - The spectacular Old Salem Farm was the backdrop for sensational show jumping action on the second day of The American Gold Cup in North Salem, NY. Forty-six riders took to the field in the warm afternoon sun for the Danbury Porsche Audi $10,000 1.45m Speed Stake held in the Grand Prix ring. Jonathan McCrea edged out the competion on Twisther with a time of 66.156.
"You know, I think I'm lucky with Twisther," McCrea said. "He's a specialist in these classes and he's going to win every time. I'm lucky. We work well together. He won in New Hampshire and he won in Spruce Meadows and I was second in in the $30,000 Saturday Grand Prix in The Hamptons−the fastest time by three and a half seconds. He's just a winner." McCrea explained more about what he meant when he called the horse a specialist. "He's a specialist at this height and speed," he continued. "He looks big and slow and he's got a big step. He's always following my eye where I go. He's deceivingly fast is, I guess, the best way to put it."
McCrea said Twisther likes the grass field at Old Salem and that the course, designed by Steve Stephens, was fair and offered a couple of great options to shave off valuable time. "In the end, I think most people ended up doing the leave-out from [jump] two to [jump ]three, if they were going to win," he explained. "And also they did the double verticals to the oxer. The in-and-out at the gate I thought was a little tricky with the ground and the way he positioned it. But I thought it was fair−a fair course. It was nice."
He continued with his rundown of his ride. "You know, I think the Irish in me helped me a little bit in jumping on the bank," he said. "At the turn down there, I got lucky. He slipped a little bit and it worked out well."
Happy to be at Old Salem for the first time, McCrea lives just two hours away. He was impressed with the new American Gold Cup venue. "Just look at everything," McCrea urged. "It's great. The way they presented the ring, the fences, the vendor tents. The whole setup is awesome."
McCrea said The American Gold Cup holds a special place in his heart now that he is an American citizen. He talk about his plans for the rest of the week, including his plan to ride Colorado in Friday's $50,00 American Gold Cup Qualifier and Sunday's $200,00 American Gold Cup CSI 4*. "He's my best horse," he explained. "I'll do him tomorrow and see about Sunday. Then he's got five weeks off. Every time he steps up, he gets it done."
Also scoring under 67 seconds in the 1.45m Speed Stake was McLain Ward with a 66.356 to place second on Rothchild and Tracey Fenney with a 66.867 to take home the third aboard MTM Centano. Ward won the Hallway Feed & KER Sport Horse Nutrition Open Jumpers on Wednesday and by two-tenths of a second missed out on two wins in a row.
Another hotly contested class on Thursday was the $1,000 Mitchell-Innes & Nash Fine Art Adult Amateur Jumper class. Amanda Gunthel and her own Laracon came out on top in a class of 31 entries with a clean round and a time of 32.836 in the jump-off. "I gotta tell you, it was tough," Gunthel said. "There were a couple of questions in the lines. It's a big field so it's easy to get lost in, so I just tried to get a nice pace going and be smooth around. There's some spooky stuff out there but he's such a good citizen. He listens well and he loves his job, which helps me a lot."
She and Laracon, an 8-year-old Oldenburg she calls "Larry," were the first to go double clear more than halfway through the class. "He's fast and brave and loves the field here."
Gunthel said her parents live in the North Salem area and it was like showing at home for her. "This feels like my backyard and I think this venue is fantastic," she said. "And everybody is so excited that The Gold Cup is here and I'm just happy to be a part of it. We just got back from the Hamptons and everybody I saw at The Hamptons was like, 'I'll see you at The Gold Cup.' It was wonderful."
Olivia Weeks riding Woica came in second in the class, and Moira Burnham riding Crusing King earned a third place ribbon.
The show jumping action will continue through Sept. 16 with The $50,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier on Friday, the $35,000 Double H Farm Jumper Classic on Saturday, and the $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI 4* on Sunday.
Results - Class 106, $10,000 1.45m Speed Stake Table II, Sec 1 -46 starters
1 237 TWISTHER - JONATHAN MCCREA - 0 66.156
2 94 ROTHCHILD - MCLAIN WARD - 0 66.356
3 463 MTM CENTANO - TRACY FENNEY - 0 66.887
4 106 EXECUTIVE PRIVILEDGE 3E - MOLLY ASHE-CAWLEY - 0 71.389
5 428 ATTACK II - AMANDA DERBYSHIRE - 0 72.657
6 120 AMADORA - BEEZIE MADDEN - 0 72.831
7 121 WRIGLEY - CALLIE SCHOTT - 0 73.450
8 118 VANILLA - BEEZIE MADDEN - 0 75.168
9 411 NOPUS DU GUE JOUBERT - HILLARY SIMPSON - 0 75.969
10 451 ZILOX T - TODD MINIKUS - 4 64.881
11 153 SOLERINA - SHANE SWEETNAM - 4 64.968
12 163 ONISHA - REED KESSLER - 4 68.206
13 235 AVENIR - CHRISTINE MCCREA - 4 69.101
14 176 WITH WINGS - KAREN POLLE - 4 69.155
15 239 ZERLY - CHRISTINE MCCREA - 4 71.762
16 204 ZINNIA - ANDREW WELLES - 4 74.470
17 175 UDONNAY Z - ANNE KURSINSKI - 4 75.061
18 260 SCARFACE - NIC DELLOJOIO - 4 75.520
19 184 S & L ELITE - DARRAGH KERINS - 5 83.710
20 20 TALOUBET - PAULO SANTANA, FILHO - 7 85.533
Results - Class 114, $2500 High JR/A-O Table II, 2(b)
1 228 LUXINA-MICHAEL HUGHES - 0/34.663
2 194 KACHINA-CHARLOTTE JACOBS - 0/35.722
3 112 LA MARTINEE-PAIGE JOHNSON - 0/36.500
4 213 KM WHAT EVER -RVDANA SCOTT - 0/36.977
5 12 CILANTRO-MEAGAN NUSZ - 0/37.166
6 124 NEPAL-JAY LAND - 0/37.260
7 48 PRINCESS -EMILY ISABELLA SALLES - 0/37.446
8 193 WETTER-CATHERINE TYREE 0/37.759
9 82 LA CENTA-LAUREN TISBO - 0/38.644
10 331 CASEY-MATTIAS TROMP - 0/41.264
Results - Class 122, $1000 Adult Jumper II, 2(b)
1 210 LARACON-AMANDA GUNTHEL-0 - 0/32.836
2 157 WOICA-OLIVIA WEEKS-0 - 0/33.671
3 366 CRUSING KING-MOIRA BURNHAM-0 - 0/35.460
4 224 PIPA-MEGAN HAAG-0 - 4/29.384
5 22 CANCUN LA SILLA-SARA WILLIAMSON-0 - 4/33.856
6 361 VALENTINA-HANNAH MURRIN-0 - 4/34.999
7 50 PREGO-LUCY MITCHELL-INNES-0 - 4/35.097
8 483 CASH-NANCY BOUPANE-0 - 4/36.496
9 328 WHISTLEJACKET-EUGENIE WARNER-0 - 8/44.596
10 418 VITTA-MICHELLE KAMINE - 1-74.207
Photos: Jonathan McCrea and Twisther take the 1.45m Speed Stake; McLain Ward and Rothchild clinch second place Thursday; Amanda Gunthel and Laracon win Thursday's Adult Jumper class. Photos by Parker/Russell-The Book LLC.