McLain Ward and Esplanade 7
North Salem, NY - - The revival of the legendary American Gold Cup officially got underway in North Salem, NY, on Wednesday, under gorgeous sunny skies and mild temperatures, on an absolutely perfect fall day in beautiful Westchester County, just a little over fifty miles north of midtown Manhattan.
The Gold Cup has drawn a large and high quality gathering of the best horsemen in the United States and internationally for the debut at Old Salem Farm, confirmed by the nearly ninety horses that lined up for today’s featured event, the $7,500 Hallway Feeds opening day 1.40m Speed class.
Riders will be competing over Steve Stephens courses this week, and to start, he offered up a welcoming course that produced twenty-two clear rounds of the eighty-six that competed. Many came on opening day for a slow and careful schooling round, but certainly a good majority gave the intriguing course a run for the money.
Stephens utilized an interesting option on his speed track today with two choices of fences #6 and #7 - one a left hand track with an eventual right hand turn to a double combination at #8ab - the other a right hand track that turned left to the same double combination. Both options were oxer to vertical, the left hand one over a natural dry ditch and the right hand side over a Liverpool.
“The course was nice,” said McLain Ward who really let it all out with today’s speed winner, Esplanade 7. “It was pretty welcoming. Steve’s jumps, as always, looked spectacular. You know, I’ve always really, even though I think they bring a lot of great jumps from Europe, I hate outsourcing when we have the best jump builder in the world in our country. Obviously the venue is great. The course was fair, and l thought the field looked beautiful and you really can’t ask for better than this,” he said.
As far as what we can expect from Stephens as we work our way forward to the famed American Gold Cup on Sunday, Ward described Stephens’ style. “He builds to the standard. He builds to the size. You know, Steve doesn’t dummy down the size ever and I think you know that coming in. Today was friendly for sure but you know, he always builds if it’s 1.40, he builds 1.40 and I think you know that when you come and that’s what we’ll see all week long,” he detailed.
Ward, in posting a speedy win in 60.071 seconds went early in the class and put down a round that was challenged, but never beaten. “Esplanade is a nice, seasoned horse, has a lot of experience on grass fields like this. I went pretty early in the order, but I knew what my plan was and I was lucky enough she performed great and then it held up for the whole afternoon.”
McLain Ward and Esplanade 7
“I’ve been riding her on and off for about two years. I ride several horses for Louisburg Farm, the owner,” Ward went on to say. “I don’t show her too often because she’s a little bit in her sunset years, but when she comes out she’s normally in the prizes.”
No one else finished under the 61 second mark. Shane Sweetnam lined out for second place with Esquina Van Klapscheut, ripping across the finish line in 61.872 seconds, just over a second off Ward’s winning pace.
Todd Miinikus guided Zilox T to fourth place honors, cruising home in 63.133 seconds.
Rounding out the top four was Ward’s Olympic teammate, Reed Kessler with Onisha, clocking in at 64.758 seconds.
Shane Sweetnam and Esquina Van Klapscheut were second
Todd Minikus and Zilox T finished third
Reed Kessler and Onisha took home fourth
Just behind Kessler in fifth place was London teammate Beezie Madden, who tripped the timers in 65.570 seconds on Zhivago.
Veteran riders Jimmy Torano, Christine McCrea and Anne Kursinski rounded out the top eight places. Torano broke the beams in 67.002 seconds on Wayne, McCrea was across the finish line in 68.481 seconds on Wannick WH while Kursinski and her partner Udonnay Z finished with a time of 68.574 seconds.
Matt Williams and Zoon were ninth, Michael Morrissey with Crelido tenth and Karen Polle and Quentin Judge finished eleventh and twelfth.
Michael Morrissey, the President of Stadium Jumping, Inc, the organizers of the American Gold Cup, was delighted with the turnout and the air of excitement for the return of this legendary event to prominence. “We have a great turn out. I am very, very happy,” he smiled. “Old Salem is a great place to set up a horseshow, that’s for sure. It’s beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Makes it fun to set something up here. With around 500 horses,” he said, “it’s a new fresh start for a great event.”
McLain Ward - Hallway Feeds Speed presentation
“I think Stadium Jumping has always been synonymous with a quality event and a real show and it’s something that we as the riders really want—you know—great sport,” added Ward. “Not just horses going around the ring. I think, mixed with this venue here at Old Salem, this is a great combination and I hope this event is going to take off and really bring The Gold Cup back to the prestige that it once enjoyed.”
Ward, who resides just down the road at his gorgeous Castle Hill Farm, was delighted to be able to take advantage of the nearby home field. “Well, for me, this is hometown so it’s great. We’re very excited,” he said. “A lot of people have been really behind getting The Gold Cup to this venue because we believed what’s been done here at Old Salem has been pretty phenomenal to a great facility, so we’re really excited about it being here. This area is horse country and I think it’s going to be an incredible event. It was a great start and you really can’t ask for it to be any better.”
We’ll be back with the Danbury Porsche $10,000 Time First Round class tomorrow.
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS AND MORE OF THE TOP FINISHERS FROM WEDNESDAY AT THE AMERICAN GOLD CUP
Jimmy Torano and Wayne - 6th
Christine McCrea and Wannick WH - 7th
Anne Kursinski and Udonnay Z - 8th
Matt Williams and Zoon - 9th
Michael Morrissey and Crelido - 10th
Karen Polle and With Wings - 11th
Quentin Judge and HH Rosine de Beaufour - 12th
Hillary Simpson and Cantus D - 13th
Hillary Simpson and Cambiasso - 14th
Candice King and Campbell VDL - 15th
Paige Johnson and Chiron S - 16th
Paul Halpern and Hermine 44 - 17th
Darragh Kerins and S & L Elite - 18th
OTHER TOP FINISHERS
Amanda Derbyshire and Ajee B
Derek Braun and Lacarolus
Elizabeth Pandich and Cadide
Georgina Bloomberg and Perfect de Coquerie
Todd Minikus and Sally 17 - 1.35M WINNER
Peter Leone and Tiffany - 1.30M WINNER
Jim Ryals and Kevin Giblin
What are you looking at?
PHOTOS BY: Parker/Russell - The Book LLC and Kenneth Kraus
Results - Class 105, $7,500 1.40m Table II Sec 1 - 85 starters
1 141 ESPLANADE 7 - MCLAIN WARD - 0/60.071
2 146 ESQUINA VAN KLAPSCHEUT - SHANE SWEETNAM - 0/61.872
3 451 ZILOX T - TODD MINIKUS - 0/63.133
4 163 ONISHA - REED KESSLER - 0/64.758
5 119 ZHIVAGO - BEEZIE MADDEN - 0/65.570
6 301 WAYNE - JIMMY TORANO - 0/67.002
7 234 WANNICK WH - CHRISTINE MCCREA - 0/68.481
8 175 UDONNAY Z - ANNE KURSINSKI - 0/68.574
9 199 ZOON - MATT WILLIAMS - 0/68.998
10 25 CRELIDO - MICHAEL MORRISSEY - 0/69.251
11 176 WITH WINGS - KAREN POLLE - 0 69.382
12 15 HH ROSINE DE BEAUFOUR - QUENTIN JUDGE - 0/70.538
13 412 CANTUS D - HILLARY SIMPSON - 0/70.777
14 413 CAMBIASSO - HILLARY SIMPSON - 0/70.862
15 138 CAMPBELL VDL - CANDICE KING - 0/71.035
16 115 CHIRON S - PAIGE JOHNSON - 0/73.381
17 417 HERMINE 44 - PAUL HALPERN - 0/73.631
18 184 S & L ELITE - DARRAGH KERINS - 0/73.652
19 121 WRIGLEY - BEEZIE MADDEN - 0/74.480
20 58 UNEX OMELLI - TIMOTHY GREDLEY - 0/74.537
Results - Class 107, $2500 1.35m Table II, 2(b) - 24 starters
1 480 SALLY 17 - TODD MINIKUS - 0-0/34.137
2 145 EREGAST VAN'T KIEZELHOF - SHANE SWEETNAM - 0-0/34.778
3 200 CHELLANDO Z - JENNIFER GRIFFITHS - 0-0/36.752
4 33 WINDOCTRO - BLAIR WILLMER - 0-0/36.814
5 73 RAMSES - SARAH SEGAL - 0-0/36.941
6 266 JAGGER NI - 0/37.565
7 383 ZICO T - SAMANTHA RAMSAY - 0-0/37.570
8 399 CANTANDO LYNGRIIS - KIRSTEN COE - 0-0/37.647
9 211 VIVE LA VIE - ZACHARY LIBES - 0-0/37.708
10 339 COPILOT`- JACKIE MC QUADE - 0-0/40.843
11 34 HANDYMAN - BLAIR WILLMER - 0-0/40.873
12 35 ALL IN ONE BLAIR - 2 - 43.380
Results - Class 109, $1500 1.30m Table II, 2(b) - 57 starters
1 272 TIFFANY - MONICA CARRERA - 0-0/30.517
2 372 MAESTRO DE SHALIMAR - STEPHANIE MCCOMISKEY- 0-0/31.300
3 108 VALDEZ - MOLLY ASHE-CAWLEY - 0-0/31.380
4 133 ZAMIRA - CANDICE KING - 0-0 31.520
5 154 ANTIGONE QUALITY - CANDICE KING - 0-0/31.640
6 328 WHISTLEJACKET - KATE LEVY - 0-0/32.420
7 293 ARAMIS - JIMMY TORANO - 0-0/32.444
8 406 MILAN IV - KIRSTEN COE - 0-0/32.880
9 263 TRIUMPH - EMMA POSTAL - 0-0/33.000
10 321 QUIDAM MANCIAIS - MARY MANFREDI - 0-0/34.123
11 484 LA FLEUR - JIMMY TORANO - 0-0/34.449
12 201 CAPACITY - JENNIFER GRIFFITHS - 0-0/35.874