The second day of the 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS) featured international and national show jumping competition, showcasing top equestrians from around the world on Thursday, September 21, in the heart of New York City’s Wollman Rink. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show runs through Sunday, September 24, with four days of multi-discipline equestrian sport for Arabians, jumpers, arena eventing, and hunters. The U.S. Open $216,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* presented by Rolex will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Tuesday, September 26, from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The evening was presented by CSX, highlighting the $40,000 U.S. Open CSX FEI Speed Class, which saw a win for Hardin Towell (USA) and Lucifer V, as they opened elite show jumping competition for the week. The evening’s competition also featured the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance, which saw Emanuel Andrade (VEN), Kama Godek (USA), and Todd Minikus (USA) split the victory three ways after each cleared the traditional brick wall at a height of 6’9″ inches. The $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Class was topped by Mimi Gochman of New York, NY, aboard Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s entry, Avoloma BH.
Guilherme Jorge (BRA), course designer of the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, returns to Wollman Rink as the show jumping course designer for this week’s national and international competition. The U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed Class saw 30 horse and rider combinations take to Wollman Rink for their first night of competition, including some of the world’s very best, highlighting rounds by Kent Farrington (USA), and McLain Ward (USA), alongside rising talent Lucy Deslauriers (USA), who finished in a competitive fifth place.
The winner of the U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed Class, Hardin Towell (USA), guided Evergate Stables’ Lucifer V, a 2006 Westphalian gelding (Lord Pezi x Grandina), improving upon the pair’s third place finish last year and crossing through the timers in 53.53 seconds. Towell was the last entry on course and ultimately overtook Daniel Bluman (ISR) aboard Bacara D’Archonfosse, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare (Asca Z x Queen D’Archonfosse) owned by Kim Douglas and Alexa Schwitzer, who stopped the clocks in 55.75 seconds. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Berlin x Bijous Van De Vijfheide) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, rounded out the competition in third place, finishing in 55.98, adding four faults to their converted time.
“I felt the course was nice. It had a twisty turning start, but it wasn’t so big and my horse has been jumping big classes all year,” he said. “Tonight was a very competitive class, but I had a lot of confidence in my horse, so I took some shots and it was fantastic. I felt he was pretty quick to the second to last jump, and I thought my turns were nice. Last week at Gold Cup I only got third, but I didn’t trust my horse or myself through the first line and in the second line I had the third jump down. I would’ve ended up third even if I’d gone clean, so today I decided to believe in my horse. I felt fast today and I knew it was quite good.”
Towell and Lucifer V have been partnered together for several year and amassed top finishes around the globe in international competition. The pair has excelled during the summer season and Towell felt that the size and structure of the ring helped the duo secure the win and spoke to the versatility of Lucifer V.
“He’s a very diverse horse. In big fields like Spruce Meadows, he’s also great. He doesn’t have the biggest stride, so in an arena like this it’s even better because he’s quicker in the turns, but this is quite a good ring. I’d also like to add that Daniel is one of my very close friends and we’re very competitive, so it’s always fun to win, but to beat one of your friends is even better,” laughed Towell. “I’m not going to lie, the reason I really tried was because Daniel was winning, and he’s won enough the past couple of weeks.”
Bluman is also coming off of a very successful European tour, like his friend Hardin Towell, and was pleased with Bacara D’Archonfosse and her performance tonight, as they look towards the $216,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* presented by Rolex tomorrow evening.
“The mare jumped really well again tonight. We’ve been jumping great the past few shows and winning some classes. I walked the course and like Hardin said it wasn’t too big,” he explained. “I got to see Kristen [Vanderveen] go after me and she had a beautiful round and was super fast. At that point I figured Hardin would get me at the end. He’s a competitive guy. We work together and grew up together, and I knew he was going to try and he got me, so I’m happy for the second place, happy for him, and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Bluman explained that though the mare is a serious competitor in the competition arena, she’s extremely relaxed outside of the ring. He commented, “Hardin and I were joking in the warm-up that if she were a horse used for transportation two hundred years ago, it wouldn’t do. She doesn’t want to work because she’s so relaxed. It took her twice the amount of time to get from stabling to the ring than any other horse, but she goes in the ring and she knows what she has to do. She’s a competitor and she likes to win. She allows me to do my job. She’s really fantastic horse who always wants to jump clear.”
Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili were incredibly close to stealing the win in Wollman Rink and used the tight course to their advantage, posting the third fastest time despite knocking the first rail at the one-stride combination.
“He is super fast and the small ring here actually plays to his advantage because he’s really quick on the turns. I felt that we were very tight everywhere and he ended up catching me off guard by the end of the course. He was so ready for the turns that I cut him a little too aggressively at the combination and it caught up with me,” she explained. “But I was very pleased with him tonight. He’s so rideable for me. He’s listening all the time and asks where I want to go, and that really helps in a ring of this size, and with his size as well. He’s right where I want him.”
International competition continues tomorrow at the 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show featuring the week’s highlight class, the $216,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* presented by Rolex, prefaced by the $25,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix. Gates will open at 6:00 p.m., while competition will begin at 6:30 p.m.