During their first outing since their bronze-medal finish at April’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals, the USA’s Hunter Holloway and her 12-year-old Pepita Con Spita proved uncatchable in Sunday’s $200,000 Empire State Grand Prix presented by Old Salem Farm.
Alan Wade (IRL) designed a snaking 1.55m course over 16 jumping efforts to challenge the field of 31 competitors representing 11 countries in the $200,000 Empire State Grand Prix presented by Old Salem Farm. Nine moved on to jump off for the top prize, with second-round pathfinder Holloway setting an early time to beat in 39.40 seconds. That double-clear score held through the riders to follow, and only Mark Bluman (COL) came close to catching it with his time of 39.97 seconds.
“I had plenty of fast riders coming after me, so my plan was to just lay down the fastest, cleanest round I could,” Holloway said. “I know my horse very well, and we have a great partnership. She’s naturally quick over the ground; I have a lot of trust in her and just put pedal to the metal today. I did get a little lucky in the first round with only a light rub on the final line, but she was fantastic. I couldn’t be happier.”
Bluman ultimately earned second with his 39.97-second effort aboard Ubiluc, Over The Top Stables LLC’s 11-year-old Mecklenburg gelding. Although faster than her competitors over the initial phase, American Mimi Gochman secured third place after stopping the clock in 41.50 seconds during the jump-off with Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s 13-year-old Holsteiner mare Celina BH.