Jimmy Torano and Day Dream. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K Win U.S. Open FEI Dressage Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson; Alexandra Crown and Basic Take $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Speed Class
September 23, 2016 – New York, NY – USA’s Jimmy Torano jumped to an exciting victory in the $216,000 U.S. Open FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, on a beautiful Friday night in New York City at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS). The faster of only two double clear rounds in a ten-horse jump-off with some of the world’s best, Torano and Day Dream took the win in front of the one-of-a-kind backdrop of skyscrapers over Sharn Wordley (NZL), who finished in the number two position for the second year in a row riding Barnetta. Conor Swail (IRL) had the fastest four-fault round to place third riding Cita.
Friday’s competition in Central Park also featured a win for Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K in the U.S. Open FEI Dressage Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson. New York’s own Alexandra Crown and Basic got a win earlier in the evening’s $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Jumper Speed Class.
The Rolex Central Park Horse Show runs through Sunday, September 25, with five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport for Arabians, jumpers, dressage, and hunters. The $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, and Friday night ceremonies will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, September 25, from 9-10:30 p.m. EST.
Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the track for the $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, on Friday night for 34 starters in Central Park’s Wollman Rink. Ten horse and rider combinations advanced to the jump-off, and only two were able to complete the short course without fault. Torano set the time to beat in the jump-off, with the first clear round in 37.05 seconds, and held on for victory. Wordley then went for a safer round to finish second on his time of 41.39 seconds riding the Sky Group’s Barnetta.
Swail was blazing fast aboard Ariel and Susan Grange’s Cita in 33.12 seconds, but dropped a rail to finish third. McLain Ward (USA) and Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z were also extremely fast in 34.89 seconds, but had an unusual rail at the first fence to place fourth. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run Jumper Five LLC’s Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili rounded out the top five with four faults in 35.19 seconds.
Torano’s winning mount Day Dream is just eight years old, but shows exceptional talent that was on display Friday night. Torano and his wife Danielle own the Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Heartbreaker) along with Daryl Portela’s Isalou, Inc., and imported the gelding from Europe two years ago.
“I bought him at the end of his six-year-old year and have been bringing him along,” Torano stated. “From day one I believed in him. I always said he was going to do big things. He jumped some grand prixs at the end of his seven-year-old year, and he won a couple times this summer. I got him from the same guy I get all my horses – Willem Greve in Holland. The horse has a lot of quality, and he is very careful. When I go to the jumps I never think he is going to knock one down. His rideability needs to get better, but he really knows where the poles are, so I have a lot of trust in him.”
The pair competed at the American Gold Cup last week, and Torano took a chance on trying to get a spot to compete in Central Park this week.
“He came out of the Gold Cup pretty well, which is why I called Mark (Bellissimo) and Michael (Stone) to see if there was an extra spot. I really waited until the last second,” Torano detailed. “I brought my horse to the jog even though he wasn’t in, because Michael said to go ahead and do it, and then somebody dropped out at the last second and I was able to come in. It all worked out, and I guess it was one of those things that was just meant to be.”
Torano continued, “He is a very brave horse. I was not worried about the lights. I was not worried about the venue or the atmosphere here. He is careful, but he is brave. Obviously I did not think I was going to come in and win the class. You have a top group of combinations here.”
In 2015, Torano did the commentary for the NBC Sports broadcast of the RCPHS grand prix, and after experiencing the event so closely through that perspective, the rider wanted to compete even more.
“I really can’t say enough about the event,” Torano stated. “What gets better than riding in New York City with the skyline like this? The crowd was unbelievable. I can’t thank Mark, Michael, and the management group in its entirety enough. The footing was spectacular. It is a great event. It is as good as it gets anywhere.”
Wordley was very happy with his second place finish again this year riding Barnetta, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding (Baloubet du Rouet x Polydor), and complimented his horse’s consistency.
“I am ecstatic. Barnetta is a great horse,” Wordley stated. “He is not the fastest horse, but he is very consistent. He does clear rounds. Last year, there were only two in the jump-off, and my strategy was just to go slow and hope that everybody else had a rail down. I thought my luck had run out with ten in the jump-off this year, but luck went our way.
“This is an amazing event, especially for me, because it is one of those events where every time you do something it turns to gold,” Wordley continued. “I rubbed a bunch of jumps tonight and they stayed up, so it is one of those special places for me.”
Wordley also remarked on the course building for Friday night and praised Guilherme Jorge on a job well done.
“Guilherme always builds fantastic courses, as you saw at the Olympics in Rio a few weeks ago,” Wordley noted. “He really knows how to use the arena. It is a very small space that he has to work with here, but it was very smooth, and he has a knack of being able to make it a hard test without any horses getting injured or scared. I always like his courses; I think they are fantastic. Tonight was a great example of his building.”
Conor Swail and Cita had a fantastic week, also placing second in Thursday’s $40,000 U.S. Open Canadian Pacific FEI Speed Class and carried on to a third place finish Friday night. Swail has had great results with the ten-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x Pik Ramiro) all year. While he thought that he took a little too much risk in the jump-off, he remains extremely happy with his mount.
“I thought she was outstanding tonight,” Swail stated. “The first round was a beautiful round. Then in the jump-off – the problem I have with her is that I never think she is going to knock anything down. She is so careful, and she rarely has a jump down in front. I just felt that I needed to be very fast because of a couple of the top guys were after me there with very fast horses. Basically, I made a little bit of a mistake. I cut in very tight, and I probably needed to square up my turn slightly better, but because I am riding so much quality and I felt that it did not matter where I was or what angle I was going at, I took a risk and unfortunately it did not pay off today.
“Congratulations to Jimmy,” Swail added. “He went around on a young horse and did a super job. Third place was good for me. I am so proud of my mare; I thought she jumped amazing.”
In the event’s third year, International Equestrian Group and RCPHS founder Mark Bellissimo has seen his vision to showcase equestrian sport in an iconic venue grow to great heights.
“I want to thank everyone for attending. This really was a special evening,” Bellissimo said of the competition. “When we started this event, the goal was to put together an event that was exciting, with top sport, in a setting that was not matched anywhere in the world. We had ten in the jump-off and some very competitive rounds. I want to thank Jimmy for putting on a show tonight. That was a very impressive performance.”
Bellissimo continued, “I want to thank our sponsors. Rolex has been amazing. They took a bet on doing this event. It is very unusual for them to put their brand on something that is not proven, and we really appreciate their support from the start. We are very thankful to them, Land Rover, Adequan®, Canadian Pacific, and all of the other wonderful sponsors of this event.”
As the RCPHS continues to grow, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has also been a great supporter of the event, and Vicki Lowell spoke to the quality on Friday night as a USEF representative.
“I am a huge fan of this show. This is the first time that I have been to the RCPHS and this is fantastic. I just cannot say enough,” Lowell stated. “The value of being able to put on an event like this, to be where the people are, and to bring the horses to the audience, is great. I think you could feel the enthusiasm from the crowd tonight. They stuck around for the prize giving ceremony, and the seats were filled in the VIP and the general admission. This is the kind of excitement, entertainment, and good sport that we need to bring to the audiences who love horses. I think everybody loves horses and they just don’t have the access to them, so it is fantastic when we can bring the horses to the city like this and expose them to people.”
With a clear round to win Thursday’s $40,000 U.S. Open Canadian Pacific Speed Class and another clear round in Friday night’s $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, McLain Ward (USA) earned the second annual U.S. Open Championship and was presented with a $25,000 rider bonus to conclude jumper competition at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show.
Friday’s festivities also included a special performance by Frederik the Great: The World’s Most Handsome Horse, and a ceremony honoring the U.S. Dressage Team Olympic Bronze medalists; U.S. Show Jumping Team Olympic Silver medalists; and Phillip Dutton, Olympic Individual Bronze medalist. Competition continues on Saturday with the Pony Hunters, Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunters, and Professional Hunters in the U.S. Open Hunter Duchossois Cup, presented by The Gochman Family.
Judy Reynolds Wins U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson
The Rolex Central Park Horse Show hosted its first-ever international dressage grand prix CDI4* in Wollman Rink on Friday afternoon with a win for Olympians Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K of Ireland with a high score of 73.80%. Reynolds guided the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (by Jazz out of Phantastia) through a beautiful test for the first time in Central Park and had a great experience.
On making the decision to travel to New York after their Olympic appearance, Reynolds stated, “After the Olympics in Rio, I had intended on taking a little bit of a longer break, but I was back home and I got a text message from Thomas Baur asking what I was doing on these dates. I said, ‘Nothing at the moment, what have you got in mind?’ And he asked if I wanted to come to Central Park. I thought it sounded like really great fun. I had seen the pictures from the last couple of years, and it was just one of these competitions that I thought, ‘That’s one I really want to do at some point.’ It is an amazing location, and I think it is definitely one you can’t miss.”
Owned by Joe and Kathleen Reynolds, Vancouver K has come long way with Reynolds and proved his development with a solid performance in the exciting atmosphere of Central Park.
“A little less than two years ago we made the decision to really expose him to atmosphere because he had not been dealing with it that well,” Reynolds detailed. “He is quite a hot horse. We went to the World Equestrian Games in 2014, and it just did not work at all. He just did not deal with the atmosphere and all the attention, so we made the decision to go to big competitions. We did World Cup and things like that last year, which really exposed him to different venues and environments, and that was really important for us.
“We had a busy winter and spring qualifying for Rio because I had to go to (as an) individual. That was quite a tough qualifying process,” Reynolds continued. “Then we took a little bit of a break after qualifying, and we did four competitions leading up to Rio. He is better when he competes often, so we take long breaks and then do more intense periods of competition. That is just what works for him. I am glad we have taken the route of exposing him to different things because otherwise this would not have worked. You are walking through the park and there is just so much going on, so they have to be able to focus on you still through all that. I would not have missed this for the world.”
Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Lovsta Stuteri’s Paridon Magi finished second with a score of 73.14%. Canada’s Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and her own All In placed third with a 71.06%.
Vilhelmson-Silfven was also at the Olympic Games in Rio with her top mount Don Auriello and took the opportunity to rest the stallion while bringing Paridon Magi back to Central Park for his second year at the competition.
The seven-time Olympian was also very happy to have this year’s CDI4* rating and enjoyed her Grand Prix test on Friday.
“I think that is really important of course, and I hope that is going to make more riders come,” Vilhelmson-Silfven stated. “The feeling to ride into this atmosphere with the backdrop is really amazing. It was a bit different this year than last year. Last year, the Pope was here on Friday, so it was very empty in the park. Now there was a lot going on in the park when we walked up to the arena. That was very exciting, but also very good I think that the horses can handle that, and they can. You don’t feel that at all once you get into the arena. It’s almost like they say, ‘Phew, now I’m here, now I can work.’ I had a great feeling in there, and I am happy to be able to have a second horse like him to pull out of my sleeve and show sometimes. I think he is a great horse to do this with.”
Third place finisher Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu of Canada also had a great time competing in Central Park. This was her first time in the busy atmosphere of the Park and her horse All In took it in stride.
“There is really nothing that compares to a show like this and the atmosphere,” Fraser-Beaulieu stated. “I was not sure how he would handle the atmosphere. There were people playing ball and kids were screaming, but he came down to the ring and was totally settled in. I took the summer off from competing and just took time to train, and I think it really made a difference.”
Judge Gary Rockwell commented on the day’s results and acknowledged the top three horses and riders on their efforts.
“I think it is a top-notch competition. The setting is obviously something no one else has in the world,” Rockwell noted. “There is a lot going on here, but I was quite impressed with how obedient the horses were in the arena. No one had any problems with distractions or anything, so it is definitely a setting that can handle a CDI 4* like this. I am very happy with the rides today. Especially these three horses; every time I see them they are better, so I am always happy to see that.”
Dressage competition continues on Saturday evening with the U.S. Open $75,000 FEI Dressage Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson. The evening will also feature a special freestyle demonstration from three-time Olympic gold medalists Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro.
Alexandra Crown and Basic Take $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Speed Class
Kicking off Friday evening at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show, Alexandra Crown (USA) and her ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Basic (Silverstone x Indoctro) were the winners of the $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Speed Class.
Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the track for Friday’s speed competition, with 12 entries and four clear rounds. Last to go, Crown and Basic clocked the winning time of 66.14 seconds. Claudia Villamil (PUR) and her own Infinity placed second in 68.42 seconds. Lisbeth Hazoury (DOM) rode Los Establos Sporthorses Corp.’s Grey van de Castanoschans to third place in 70.09 seconds. Fourth place honors were awarded to Lilli Hymowitz (USA) aboard Rose Hill Farm’s Elatrice in a time of 71.09 seconds.
A New York City resident, 21-year-old Crown rode at the inaugural RCPHS in 2014 and returned this year with two top horses, also finishing second in Thursday night’s $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 FEI Grand Prix aboard her own Von Cim. This was her first time to take a win in the world-famous Central Park event and a memorable moment for the young rider.
“It is really exciting. This is my hometown. It is my backyard,” Crown stated. “I grew up ice skating in Wollman Rink, so it is really cool to get to win here in front of my parents and our friends. I am very happy.”
Crown, who trains with U.S. Olympian Kent Farrington, has had many international wins around the world aboard Basic and knew that the mare would try her hardest in the night’s competition.
“She is amazing. She is insanely quick across the ground. She is so naturally fast, and she just wants to win,” Crown described. “She always tries for you. She wants to win as much as I do, so it is a good combination when you have a horse that goes into the ring that is fighting for you.”
Speaking of the challenging track for her winning round, Crown noted, “There were some inside turns in that course, and you had to make some blind turns to the jumps, which kind of suits her. She does not have the biggest stride in the world, so courses with long distances in between jumps aren’t the best for her. We were able to just use her natural speed, and turn tight to the jumps, and keep it neat, so it worked out really well.”
Wrapping up a special night in her young career, Crown acknowledged the incredible atmosphere while competing in Central Park.
“It is so special. You can’t really describe the feeling,” she admitted. “It is very sentimental to be riding here, and where else can you ride in a horse show like Central Park with this New York skyline? It is unbelievable.”
Competition in Central Park’s Wollman Rink continues through Sunday, September 25, with more multi-discipline equestrian sport. For more information and full results, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com.
About Rolex Central Park Horse Show
Launched in September 2014, Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the first-ever outdoor, multi-day equestrian sporting event in New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumpers and dressage riders in the world as they vie for top prizes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world’s most iconic venues. As the event founder, Mark Bellissimo is the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and International Equestrian Group LLC; Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEF), Tryon Equestrian Partners and Colorado Equestrian Partners; and Publisher of The Chronicle of The Horse magazine. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, ranging from Arabians and Dressage to Hunters and Show Jumping. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will also host the second annual U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers; Dressage; Hunters; U25 Jumpers; and Arabians. For more information, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.