New York, NY - From Olympians to up and coming talent, the Inaugural U.S. Open Show Jumping competition will highlight the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, running Sept. 23-27 in the heart of New York City's Central Park. Founded in 2014, the second-annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show is dedicated to attracting the best in equestrian sport to compete at a once in a lifetime location.
U.S. Open Jumper events at the 2015 Rolex Central Park Horse Show will welcome the world's best to contest two rounds of competition over courses set by international designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. The $40,000 FEI Speed Class, presented by Canadian Pacific Railway, kicks off the schedule with an opening speed round on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 8 PM.
Faults from Thursday will be converted to points and carry over to the U.S. Open $212,000 FEI 3* Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, Friday, Sept. 25 at 8:00 PM. Riders will pilot the same horse in both rounds, and the highest ranked rider will not only be crowned the inaugural U.S. Open winner, but receive an exciting bonus. While cashing in on their share of the $212,000 purse, the winning rider will be presented with an additional $25,000 for the U.S. Open honor.
Hometown girl and accomplished international rider Georgina Bloomberg took top call in the 2014 Central Park Grand Prix and will return to her native city to defend her title this year in hopes of being crowned the first U.S. Open Jumper Champion. The world will be able to watch her efforts as the U.S. Open CSI 3* Grand Prix is scheduled to air on NBC Sports Network during prime time from 9-10:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 27.
"Winning last year's Rolex Central Park Grand Prix in front of a New York City crowd was one of the highlights of my career," said Bloomberg. "New York is my home and to be able to compete in this city is an experience like no other. I am proud to see show jumping return to New York and I can't wait to showcase the sport that I have dedicated my life to in the heart of Central Park again this year."
In addition to Bloomberg, the prestige of show jumping in Central Park has attracted a star-studded cast of high-performance riders all vying for the U.S. Open title, including the likes of Kent Farrington, Todd Minikus, Conor Swail and Mclain Ward, to name a few.
"New York City's Central Park is a unique host and presents a change from the typical venue for both us as riders, but also our horses. However, it's worth the effort to have a show in the center of the city and highlight the sport with many top riders," said Ward, who most recently took home an individual gold medal for the USA at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.
Show jumping was last seen in New York City's Central Park in 1981 and at Madison Square Garden in 2001, but the Rolex Central Park Horse Show found a home at Wollman Rink last year. "We all miss what showing at the Garden was, and this is bringing that back in a similar way," added Ward.
Seven countries will be represented in the U.S. Open field. A complete rider list is below:
Ali Wolf: USA
Andre Thieme: DEU
Candice King: USA
Charlie Jayne: USA
Chris McCrea: USA
Conor Swail: IRL
Daniel Bluman: COL
David Blake: IRL
Georgina Bloomberg: USA
Hardin Towell: USA
Heather Caristo-Williams : USA
James North: USA
Kent Farrington: USA
Kirsten Coe: USA
Lauren Tisbo: USA
Liubov Kochetova: RUS
Maggie McAlary: USA
Molly Ashe: USA
Mclain Ward: USA
Peter Leone: USA
Peter Lutz: USA
Richie Moloney: IRL
Roberto Teran: COL
Sarah Segal: USA
Schuyler Riley: USA
Shane Sweetnam: IRL
Sharn Wordley: NZL
Todd Minikus: USA
"I was both overwhelmed and encouraged by the positive response from participants, spectators and media outlets to last year's event in Central Park," said Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group, LLC (IEG). "There is no better place to showcase horse sport through the U.S. Open than in the iconic New York City. I have confidence that the Rolex Central Park Horse Show's U.S. Open will become one of the premiere events on the show jumping calendar."
Rolex Central Park Horse Show U.S Open Jumper Schedule:
Thursday, September 24
Gates open at 5:30 PM & VIP access opens at 6:00 PM
8:00 PM - U.S. Open (Round 1) $40,000 FEI Speed Class, presented by Canadian Pacific Railway
Friday, September 25
Daytime gates open 12:30 PM & VIP access opens at 1:00 PM
Evening gates open at 5:30 PM & VIP access opens at 6:00 PM
8:00 PM - U.S. Open $212,000 (Final) FEI 3* Grand Prix, presented by Rolex
Additional information can be found at www.centralparkhorseshow.com.