North Salem, NY - September 12, 2013 - Passing thunderstorms did not deter the exciting action during the second day of the 2013 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W. The international jumping competition featured the $33,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake, where McLain Ward of Brewster, NY bested 60 entries to capture the winning honors on the Grand Prix Field at Old Salem Farm. Earlier in the day, Michael Hughes and Dromma topped a 19-horse jump-off during the $3,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class, presented by Gotham North.
Alan Wade of Ireland set a challenging track for the opening round of the $33,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake, which utilized all of the Grand Prix Field and included three double combinations, as well as technical vertical-oxer-oxer line. Twenty-two of the original 60 staring entries qualified for the jump-off. For the short track, the competitors began with three fences set off of long distances, before galloping to an oxer off of a blind turn. They then made sharp rollback to a single vertical, before finishing over a vertical-oxer double combination to an airy vertical.
Yesterday's winner in the 1.40m Open Jumpers, Ireland's Shane Sweetnam, was the first to return for the tiebreaker, riding Cyklon 1083 for Spy Coast Farm of East Setauket, NY. They made it look easy, never touching a rail and breaking the beam at 34.90, setting the pace to beat.
Fellow Irishman Andrew Bourns had the next faultless round aboard New Boy De Logerie, but in an effort to leave the fences up their time of 39.68 would only be good enough for fourth. Although young rider Katie Dinan of New York, NY, had an untimely dismount from her first qualified jump-off mount, she returned with her second horse Couletto K James to complete the short course without error in 40.07 seconds for fifth place. Judy
Garofalo Torres of Wellington, FL, was next with Quattro Queen, and they all left all the rails intact, tripping the timers at 41.33 seconds to round out the top six.
Quentin Judge and HH Wilco, owned by Double H Farm of Wellington, FL, added their names to the list of double clears with one of the faster rounds by making sharp inside turns with his experienced mount. They crossed the finish line in 37.82 seconds to take home the third place award.
The only competitor that could top Sweetnam came from the final faultless jump-off round. McLain Ward was on his home turf and proved he could not be beat with his talented mount Cadence, owned by Procedures Inc of Agoura, CA. The duo picked up a quick pace to first fence and never held back; making sharp inside turns to both of the single oxers before galloping home over the final line. Ward and Cadence captured the victory, relegating Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 to second place.
"Cadence is a very fast horse to start out with," explained Ward. "He's very quick and he knows thejob well. There was a very difficult inside turn to the fourth fence. He's really honest and he tries really hard for you, so I knew I could take a little risk there. I was dealing cards a little coming down the last line, but the horse helped me out."
Ward began riding Cadence this summer, and the pair has already been very successful, winning in Dublin, Ireland, and at the Spruce Meadows Tournament. "He's been a great horse," said Ward. "He's really pretty easy and straightforward. He knows the game and he's always trying to win for you."
The American Gold Cup is an historical event that Ward is proud to be involved with, and thrilled that it has taken root at Old Salem Farm. "What the Hakim family has done with this venue is incredible," he expressed. "The Gold Cup was looking for a home and I spoke with Michael Morrissey personally about coming here. This is a great match. This is a real horse community with good people. I am proud of the job that Stadium Jumping has done, that Old Salem has done, and I am proud to be a part of it with my community. I personally feel this is the best horse show in America."
Earlier today, athletes had the opportunity to showcase their skills during the $3,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, presented by Gotham North. With 19 entries advancing to the jump-off, just fractions of a second separated the leaders. The first round course tested riders with two double combinations and many related distances as the fences wound their way through the spacious Grand Prix Field. For the short track, competitors began with an oxer-vertical line to a double combination and another oxer. Finally, they made a sharp rollback to a fourth oxer before finishing with a big gallop over a single vertical.
Only the third athlete to enter the ring, Brittni Raflowitz wore a target on her back when she piloted Elios, owned by Maarten Huygens of Chester Springs, PA, to a faultless jump-off effort in 30.054 seconds after using a hard slice to the final fences.
Three riders came within tenths of a second to catching Raflowitz at the end of the class, causing the third place position to switch hands three times. Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwich, CT, rounded out the top five aboard Quidam MB, posting a clear time of 30.988 seconds. She was eventually bested by Karen Polle of New York, NY, and What Ever who clocked in at 30.781 seconds with all the rails intact. Polle and What Ever had to settle for fourth, as Erin Haas entered the ring next riding As Di Chupito for the North Face Farm of Chesea, MI. After advancing to the jump-off, they also made their way across the shortened track without error, breaking the beam at 30.659 seconds for third place.
The only competitor to best Raflowitz was 17-year-old Michael Hughes of Allendale, NJ, riding the 11-year-old mare Dromma for owner Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, Alberta. Leaving strides out and using the inside turn after the second line, Hughes and Dromma galloped easily over the obstacles and were the only duo to break the 30 second mark, dashing across the finish line in 29.433 seconds. They took home the winning honors, while Raflowitz claimed the second place prize.
"I never pulled the reins to the in-and-out, and I left out a stride in the first line and after the combination so I could turn tighter back to the next oxer," explained Hughes. "I never pulled the whole way around, which is the main thing.
Hughes added, "Dromma is a great horse and she knows how to go fast. Conor Swail rode her last year, so she knows about speed classes and she just loves to go fast. She has a really big stride, which really helps. I know I am covering a lot of ground even when I am not going very fast."
Based out of New Jersey, Old Salem Farm is just around the corner for Hughes, who is excited to be participating in the 2013 American Gold Cup. "It's such a great venue," he noted. "It's a lot of fun to show here and it's such a prestigious event, so we are having a great time."
The 2013 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W will continue tomorrow with the $100,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier, presented by Double H Farm & Windsor Show Stables. Saturday's highlight events will be the $50,000 Hermès Classic and Region 2 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Regional Championships, while Sunday features the $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W World Cup Qualifier, presented by Suncast.
RESULTS: Class 100, $33,000 DON LITTLE MEMORIAL WELCOME STAKE
1/196/CADENCE /MCLAIN WARD /0/0/0/0.000/ /0/0/33.660//
2/151/CYKLON 1083 /SHANE SWEETNAM /0/0/0/67.680/ /0/0/34.900//
3/643/HH WILCO /QUENTIN JUDGE /0/0/0/0.000/ /0/0/37.820//
4/595/NEW BOY DE LOGERIE /ANDREW BOURNS /0/0/0/0.000/ /0/0/39.680//
5/51/COULETTO K JAMES /KATHERINE DINAN /0/0/0/0.000/ /0/0/40.070//
6/645/QUATTRO QUEEN /JUDY GAROFALO TORRES /0/0/0/0.000/ /0/0/41.330//
7/1/UBRIS /SARAH SEGAL /0/0/0/0.000/4/0/4/37.800//
8/323/WAOMI /MEAGAN NUSZ /0/0/0/0.000/4/0/4/39.510//
9/224/HATHAWAY /ADRIENNE STERNLICHT /0/0/0/0.000/4/0/4/41.300//
10/326/CAMBITO /PAIGE JOHNSON /0/0/0/0.000/4/0/4/42.720//
11/414/CAMPBELL VDL /CANDICE KING /0/0/0/0.000/4/0/4/43.370//
12/449/PICOLO /DARRAGH KENNY /0/0/0/0.000/4/0/4/47.360//
Class 112, $3000 JR-A-O JUMPER, TIME FIRST JUMP-OFF II,2(b) H
1/355/DROMMA /MICHAEL HUGHES /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/29.433//
2/238/ELIOS /BRITTNI RAFLOWITZ /0/0/0/69.110/0/0/0/30.054//
3/158/AS DI CHUPITO /ERIN HAAS /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/30.659//
4/176/WHAT EVER /KAREN POLLE /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/30.781//
5/225/QUIDAM MB /ADRIENNE STERNLICHT /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/30.988//
6/294/TARANTEL'LA /EMILY D'ALESSANDRO /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/31.250//
7/190/CHELLANDO Z /JENNIFER GRIFFITHS /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/31.451//
8/520/LORENA 90 /CHELSEA MOSS /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/31.755//
9/94/CACHACA 4 /DANIELLE TORANO /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/32.158//
10/90/MILAN IV /MARY CLAIRE MC DONALD /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/32.620//
11/394/CENTRE ICE /KELLY SOLEAU /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/33.048//
12/201/RASHMO Z /KIRA KERKORIAN /0/0/0/0.000/0/0/0/34.69//