North Salem, NY - September 13, 2013 - Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino today kicked off the weekend events for the 43rd annual American Gold Cup, one of the most iconic equestrian competitions in the world of International Show Jumping, at Old Salem Farm in North Salem.
World renowned jumpers Beezie Madden, reigning FEI Rolex World Cup Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist; McLain Ward, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist; and Brianne Goutal, the only equestrian to win all four finals on Junior Circuit: USEF Talent Search, WIHS, USEF Medal, and Maclay; as well as Peter Malachi, SVP Communications for Hermes of Paris; Hunter Harrison, Owner of Double H Farm in Ridgefield, C.T. and CEO of Canadian Pacific; and Cara Raether, Owner of Trelawny Farm in Bedford, joined Astorino. More than 400 riders and 700 horses from Europe, South America, Canada and the United States are participating in the competition that has taken over the historic Old Salem Farm this weekend.
"The American Gold Cup is one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions in the U.S., and I can think of no better place for this event than the stunning Old Salem Farm. We are pleased that the American Gold Cup has chosen Westchester County as its home," Astorino said. "The county already has a long and proud history of equestrian sports, so it's a perfect fit. Plus, beyond the event, we have top hotels, restaurants, arts and other attractions to keep visitors engaged all weekend long. It's a perfect reason to say, 'Meet Me in Westchester.' We are pleased to welcome all the riders and fans."
The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and JustWorld International are this year's charitable partners.
The event, which officially started on Wednesday, September 11, is expected to attract 6,000 people throughout the weekend before it ends on Sunday, September 15, directly adding at least $6 million to the local economy. Tourism alone generates close to $1.7 billion to Westchester County. In addition, visitor spending produced over $100 million in local taxes and supported over 23,000 jobs last year.
NBC Sports Network will broadcast the event on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 4:30 p.m. EST. The broadcast will be available to more than 80 million homes, highlighting Westchester and Old Salem Farm as premier equestrian sports destinations.
The highlight of the event is the $200,000 American Gold Cup Grand Prix on Sunday, September 15. The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), which is the international governing body of equestrian sports, has designated the competition as a CSI 4*-W World Cup Qualifier, making the event of utmost importance for riders aspiring to compete at the 2014 World Cup Finals in Lyon, France.
Last year, the North American Riders Group voted the American Gold Cup as among the "Top 25" equestrian shows in North America.
Founded in 1970, the American Gold Cup was originally held in Cleveland, and has taken place in Tampa, Philadelphia and its former home for more than two decades, Devon, PA.