Halifax, MA - August 13, 2014 - The Silver Oak Jumper Tournament's move to the Fieldstone Show Park facility in Halifax, Massachusetts, today proved to be an excellent move for a number of reasons. First, this year's turnout of top-notch competitors is excellent with nearly 400 horses on the grounds. Secondly, and probably more important today, the grounds themselves have held up beautifully despite record breaking rainfall and flash flooding that has brought traffic and commerce to a standstill throughout the Northeast.
While the grounds have been completely saturated, the well drained Unicorn Landing Farm Grand Prix Field worked well all day and the new CMJ Sporthorse all weather annex was in perfect condition. "Most impressive was how the grass field held up," said Show Chairman Jeff Papows. "At any other facility the competition would have been held up due to the wet conditions. Our field remained safe and we saw some good show jumping on our first day."
"Really good, the field was really good," added Mario Deslauriers who has returned to the Silver Oak Tournament after a number of years away.
The city of Boston was literally brought to a standstill earlier today with most major roadways flooded and in the New York area, Long Island was cut off from the mainland by flooded highways. All the of the area remains under a flash flood alert.
Because of the rough weather, all three events, originally scheduled as jump-off classes, were changed to Table 2.1 Speed classes. In the 1.20m Speed, it turned out to be a real horse race for the top prize with the top six finishers all within two seconds of each other.
Peter Leone was the eventual winner, putting down a beautifully ridden speed round to take the win with Arcadium owned by Susan Strecker. Leone ripped across the finish line in 58.330 seconds, just fast enough to edge out Jeffery Welles aboard Kenzie Snyder's Waterloo. Welles raced home just a tenth of a second off the pace in 58.424.
"Arcadium is a seven year old gelding. His sire is Alisco who jumped for the United States Equestrian Team with Michael Matz, who was a teammate of mine in the 90's," Leone said. "He is a brave and fast, sports car of a horse. He's owned by Susan Strecker. Sue will be showing him in the Amateur division this week and he is new to us at Lionshare Farm. We acquired him during the Florida circuit this year in February. The partnership is going really well," he said.
Third place went to Palancar with Kevin McCarthy, up for the owner Sara Africk. McCarthy posted a time of 59.828 seconds. Another tenth of a second behind McCarthy was today's fourth place finisher Vis a Vis 10, the second ride for Peter Leone. The Kival Iscol owned mount tripped the timers in 59.940 seconds. Fifth and sixth went to Cody Parker and Kevin McCarthy, respectively. Parker rode her mount to a time of 60.616 seconds and McCarthy broke the beams in 61.649 seconds on Urfee de Bornival, owned by LJB Equine.
"There were three things that gave Arcadium and I the edge over the other riders," Leone described. "One, he is a fast type; a sports car as opposed to a tractor-trailer. Two, I went very late in the order and I really knew what I had to do. And three, I used tight turns on landings and on jumps to get an edge."
"I think we are very lucky that Olaf Peterson Jr. is the course designer this week," Leone continued. "I think he is one of the best in the world and he is only getting better each year. He is a horseman's course designer and a rider's course designer," he noted. "I think the sequence of his courses have a very nice flow to them, they make sense and I think his jump design is inviting. I think when it comes to designing a challenging course for the top Grand Prix classes, he has it covered."
Leone's run of success continued in the 1.30m Jumpers as he finished first and second. He was the winner on Jewel's Exclusive Touch, owned by Elaine Cordia-Van Reese and finished second on Bibi Sijgje, owned by Halle Fogel. Leone had a winning time of 58.837 and a second place time of 59.366 seconds. Kevin Babington took home third place honors on the Cariatide LLC entry of Cariatide, coming home in 61.494 seconds.
"I finished first on a new mount that is owned by a stable I ride for in the United States, but based in Beligium called Crown Jewel Stud," Leone said. "The horse is the daughter of the individual gold medal champion at the Barcelona Olympic Games. That was a mare called Classic Touch and the mare that I won with is Jewels Exclusive Touch," he explained. "This is my second show with the horse and my third class. We had a nice win. We won by three seconds. She is very careful and very fast. I will show her on Friday in the 1.40m and then Sunday in the small Grand Prix," he said.
In the 1.40m Jumpers, Nick Dello Joio finally broke the Leone winning streak with the Coker Farms' mount, Contiki. Dello Joio raced home in 68.312 seconds to just get by second place finisher Kevin Babington riding his own Borindy. Babington tripped the timers in 68.724 seconds, just 4/10ths off the winning pace.
"Contiki is a very careful and quirky horse," Dello Joio noted. "We took him to Spruce Meadows and the first week we won the 1.35m and the next week the 1.40m and then we took him the International level at 1.45m and he was third, third and fourth. I've never seen a horse that has progressed that quickly. I just got him syndicated and he belongs to Ellie Dalnet and Judy Richter," he said. "He shows a lot of promise. He is fast and careful and has done everything I have asked him."
Regarding the rain and the grass field, Dello Joio said, "Management here does a great job maintaining the field. The last class I rode it was pouring and it didn't feel mucky or deep or anything. The footing was not an issue," he said. "It's a really nice facility."
Dello Joio dominated the placings though, finishing third, fifth and eighth. He was third on Ganjana, owned by Nathalie de Gunzberg, finishing in a time of 70.191.
Cody Auer slipped in for a fourth place finish with Catika Van De Helle, owned by Auer Sport Horses LLc. Her time across the finish line was 72.641 seconds. Dello Joio was fifth jockeying Corlida for the Colrida Group in 74.333 seconds.
Rounding out the top six was Scout de la Cense, with Mario Deslauriers riding for his wife Lisa. Deslauriers cruised home in 75.853 second.
The excitement wasn't only in the Grand Prix Field as the CMJ Sporthorse Jumper Annex held the Developing Jumper classes. Earning the blue in the 1.00m division was Michelle Fotev and her own Urioso. Also riding an impressive round was Meghan Frederick and horse Crack The Code who rode to second and Logan Book with Sham-Rox who rounded off the top three. The competition was tough in the 1.10m division with Ed Copeland and Jeff Papows' Hopeful Star earning top honors. Close behind was Alexandra Howard and Empire and Wendy Smith on Diplomat.
The good news weather forecast calls for sunny skies and mild temperatures thru the balance of the week, so make plans to join us. Free parking and free admission all week long.