McLain Ward, Brewster, NY, and Grant Road Partners’ Zander captured the top prize in the $75,000 Empire State Grand Prix Sponsored by the Kincade Group to cap off two weeks of competition at the Old Salem Spring Horse Shows in North Salem, NY.
A total of 10 horse-and-rider combinations from the starting field of 33 qualified for the jump-off. Cara Raether, North Palm Beach, FL, and Trelawny Farm’s Lyonell were the first to go and took the lead with a clear round in 47.210 seconds.
Raether was displaced when Leslie Howard of Darien, CT, and Utah found their groove. Utah, owned by the Utah Group, jumped cleanly in 46.333 seconds, almost a second faster than Raether.
Howard did not hold the lead for long, as the next rider in the ring, Nicholas Dello Joio, Wellington, FL, aboard Thelma Romero-Cloud’s Norte Star De La Nutria knocked them from the lead. With his mother, Jeanne, coaching him, Dello Joio piloted the little bay around the course fault-free in 44.380 seconds.
The final rider on course was Ward, the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist who was making his return to competition at Old Salem following a three-month recovery from a broken kneecap that he sustained in January. Showing caution at key moments with his young horse, Ward looked like he was going to be slower than Dello Joio, especially when the checked back hard at the double. But Zander has a huge step and Ward’s experience gave him the upper hard. The pair crossed the finish with no penalty with the timers flashing 43.093 seconds.
Ward, who also won the first week’s Grand Prix on Antares F, had high praise for the 8 year-old KWPN gelding, “We bought him at the end of last summer with Mrs. Miller [Grant Road Partners] as a young prospect. We thought the world of him. I showed him the first week of Palm Beach in two classes and then got hurt. He’s just kind of been on ice since then.
“Last week we started in the 1.30 Meter and then this week we tried him on Friday because I think he is an incredible horse and I wanted to see where he was. He had eight faults because I kind of overrode, just not knowing what he would do. I decided to put him in the Grand Prix today because he felt great and I wanted to ride him again, and he was incredible.
“He’s on a fast learning curve because of my injury. This one is another that is a testament to the great group of people I have on my team. They had him ready to go.”
The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows are an annual competition that run for two weeks in May, featuring top-notch hunter-jumper competition at one of the country’s most beautiful equestrian training centers.
The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows benefit the Old Salem Farm Foundation. The goal of the Old Salem Farm Foundation is to use the Spring Horse Shows as a vehicle to help support charitable organizations and create an opportunity for corporate sponsors and equestrian athletes to benefit the community during the annual event. The Old Salem Farm Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. This year, the Old Salem Farm Foundation is providing support to four charities – ASPCA, JustWorldInternational, Pegasus Therapeutic Riding, and the Voss Foundation.
Old Salem Farm, located an hour north of New York City, has played host to major equestrian competitions including Selection Trials for U.S. teams for World Championships and Olympic Games. Old Salem Farm boasts a state-of-the-art stabling facility, its historic pristine grass Grand Prix field as well as outstanding show and schooling rings, all surrounded by one of the nation’s most quaint and picturesque settings.
Further information on the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows is available on line at www.oldsalemfarm.net or by calling 914-669-5610.
$75,000 Empire State Grand Prix Sponsored by the Kincade Group
1. Zander/McLain Ward/Grant Road Partners/0/0/43.093
2. Notre Star De La Nutria/Nicholas Dello Joio/Thelma Romero-Cloud/0/0/44.380
3. Utah/Leslie Howard/The Utah Group/0/0/46.333
4. Lyonell/Cara Raether/Trelawny Farm/0/0/47.210
5. Coral Reef Via Volo/Beezie Madden/Coral Reef Ranch/0/0/47.232
6. Nougat Du Vallet/Katie Dinan/Grant Road Partners/0/0/47.494
7. King Kolibri/Lauren Tisbo/Tequestrian Farms0/0/51.844
8. Whistler/Candice King/Louisburg Farm/0/8/47.569
9. Walk About/Jimmy Torano/Jimmy & Danielle Torano/0/8/49.079
10. Vicomte D/Mario Deslauriers/Jane Forbes Clark/0/10/57.039