North Salem, NY − September 13, 2012 — The spectacular Old Salem Farm was the backdrop for sensational show jumping action on the second day of The American Gold Cup in North Salem, NY.
Forty-six riders took to the field in the warm afternoon sun for the Danbury Porsche Audi $10,000 1.45m Speed Stake held in the Grand Prix ring. Jonathan McCrea edged out the competition on Twisther with a time of 66.156.
“You know, I think I’m lucky with Twisther,” McCrea said. “He’s a specialist in these classes and he’s going to win every time. I’m lucky. We work well together. He won in New Hampshire and he won in Spruce Meadows and I was second in in the $30,000 Saturday Grand Prix in The Hamptons − the fastest time by three and a half seconds. He’s just a winner.”
McCrea explained more about what he meant when he called the horse a specialist. “He’s a specialist at this height and speed,” he continued. “He looks big and slow and he’s got a big step. He’s always following my eye where I go. He’s deceivingly fast is, I guess, the best way to put it.”
McCrea said Twisther likes the grass field at Old Salem and that the course, designed by Steve Stephens, was fair and offered a couple of great options to shave off valuable time.
“In the end, I think most people ended up doing the leave-out from [jump] two to [jump] three, if they were going to win,” he explained. “And also they did the double verticals to the oxer. The in-and-out at the gate I thought was a little tricky with the ground and the way he positioned it. But I thought it was fair − a fair course. It was nice.”
He continued with his rundown of his ride. “You know, I think the Irish in me helped me a little bit in jumping on the bank,” he said. “At the turn down there, I got lucky. He slipped a little bit and it worked out well.”
Happy to be at Old Salem for the first time, McCrea lives just two hours away. He was impressed with the new American Gold Cup venue. “Just look at everything,” McCrea urged. “It’s great. The way they presented the ring, the fences, the vendor tents. The whole setup is awesome.”
McCrea said The American Gold Cup holds a special place in his heart now that he is an American citizen. He talk about his plans for the rest of the week, including his plan to ride Colorado in Friday’s $50,00 American Gold Cup Qualifier and Sunday’s $200,00 American Gold Cup CSI 4*.
“He’s my best horse,” he explained. “I’ll do him tomorrow and see about Sunday. Then he’s got five weeks off. Every time he steps up, he gets it done.”
Also scoring under 67 seconds in the 1.45m Speed Stake was McLain Ward with a 66.356 to place second on Rothchild and Tracey Fenney with a 66.867 to take home the third aboard MTM Centano. Ward won the Hallway Feed & KER Sport Horse Nutrition Open Jumpers on Wednesday and by two-tenths of a second missed out on two wins in a row.
Another hotly contested class on Thursday was the $1,000 Mitchell-Innes & Nash Fine Art Adult Amateur Jumper class. Amanda Gunthel and her own Laracon came out on top in a class of 31 entries with a clean round and a time of 32.836 in the jump-off.
“I gotta tell you, it was tough,” Gunthel said. “There were a couple of questions in the lines. It’s a big field so it’s easy to get lost in, so I just tried to get a nice pace going and be smooth around. There’s some spooky stuff out there but he’s such a good citizen. He listens well and he loves his job, which helps me a lot.”
She and Laracon, an 8-year-old Oldenburg she calls “Larry,” were the first to go double clear more than halfway through the class. “He’s fast and brave and loves the field here.”
Gunthel said her parents live in the North Salem area and it was like showing at home for her. “This feels like my backyard and I think this venue is fantastic,” she said. “And everybody is so excited that The Gold Cup is here and I’m just happy to be a part of it. We just got back from the Hamptons and everybody I saw at The Hamptons was like, ‘I’ll see you at The Gold Cup.’ It was wonderful.”
Olivia Weeks riding Woica came in second in the class, and Moira Burnham riding Crusing King earned a third place ribbon.
The show jumping action will continue through Sept. 16 with the $50,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier on Friday, the $35,000 Double H Farm Jumper Classic on Saturday, and the $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI 4* on Sunday.
Media Contact: Mason Phelps
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386