Top-ranked American equestrian rider Kent Farrington achieved a personal first on Sunday after winning the prestigious $216,000 American Gold Cup competition at Old Salem Farm in North Salem on his horse Gazelle. He bested a field of 40 riders, including his 2016 U.S. Olympic Silver Medal teammates McLain Ward, Beezie Madden and Lauren Kraut as well as local athletes Georgina Bloomberg, Katherine Dinan and Peter Lutz. There were 17 countries represented in the international field.
Farrington, who is currently ranked second in the world by FEI (Federation of Equestrian International), was one of two riders who cleared the Alan Wade-designed course within the 84 seconds permitted. In a jumpoff he beat Charles Jacobs for the win. “I thought Alan Wade built a difficult course, which I think is well-suited for a class of this prestige and prize money,” said Farrington. “With it also being a World Cup qualifier, I think it brings the best riders we have using top horses. It worked out for me to win today, but regardless of that I thought it was a great competition and I am thrilled to finally win the American Gold Cup. I’ve never done that before and it was on my list of things to do.”
Ward, a former North Salem resident who lives in Brewster and is currently ranked fourth in the world, finished fifth after having four faults. North Salem residents Bloomberg and Dinan placed 13th and 20th respectively. Lutz, who owns Davenport Show Jumping in North Salem with Mary Manfredi, ended the day in 22nd place.
While Bloomberg finished outside of the top five on Sunday, she won two major events during the five-day American Gold Cup series. On Friday, Bloomberg finished first in the $86,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier on the back of Caleno 3. “I’ve been riding Caleno 3 in some of the bigger classes for a while now,” said Bloomberg. “I’ve had him for three years and he’s just a great, solid horse that I’ve been able to use in a lot of different classes. I don’t get too many opportunities to really try to go fast with him. I am usually doing bigger classes and sometimes trying to go for a double clear. Today, this is his last class of the week so I decided I had nothing to lose - he’s been jumping well so I decided I would go for it. I went fast with him yesterday and he jumped well in the first round. I figured worse comes to worst he’ll have a rail but I wanted to try to win.”
For Bloomberg,the win at the American Gold Cup was a meaningful and nostalgic one. “I live five minutes down the road and I grew up riding here,” said Bloomberg. “This is where I am comfortable and happy. I know this field very well, which definitely is a huge advantage. We always show here in the spring. I love riding out here and I am really happy when I am here. All of my friends and family get to come. It’s always really special to win so today was really great.”
Bloomberg continued her winning streak at the $35,000 Hermès Sellier Cup on Saturday with with Gotham Enterprizes, LLC’s Manodie II H. “I bought Manodie II H at the end of last year,” said Bloomberg. “I didn’t bring her to Europe this summer so I haven’t been able to ride her as much as I would have liked. Whenever I did come home, I would make some time to spend getting to know her and forming a partnership. She’s very careful and scopey, and I think she has a lot of potential for the future. I wasn’t sure that I was going to go in there and take a shot at it, but everything came up. She has a big stride and she’s quick across the jumps. I am definitely going to aim her for some of the bigger classes in Florida. I am going to spend the fall rebuilding our relationship since I’ve been away from her all summer.” Of the 53 who started in the field, 15 entries cleared Wade’s first round course to move on to the jump-off, but only four were able to jump double clear.
Bloomberg was able to clear the course in 34.800 seconds to grab first place honors. “It’s was a really nice, inviting course,” said Bloomberg. “I think it was perfect for some of the second-string horses here and some of the up-and-coming riders. I’ve been jumping so many big shows all summer it’s nice to come and just have a nice, inviting 1.45m course. It was really fun out there, I really enjoyed doing it. I rode two horses in this class that I haven’t been able to show much this summer and it was fun to get to know them again on the field out there.”
This was the fifth year that Old Salem Farm has hosted the Amercan Gold Cup and the second year it has part of the North American League of the Longines FEI World Cup series. It offers riders an opportunity to qualify for the jackpot of more than $1.4 million (€1.3 million) on offer annually at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.