It was a Day Dream Victory for Torano in the U.S. Open FEI Grand Prix at the Central Park Horse Show
Victory for Jimmy Torano and Day Dream
Central Park Horse Show Showcases Olympians
A strong field of 34 riders and horses set out to win the $216,000 U.S. Open FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, the biggest money class at this year’s Rolex Central Park Horse Show. While rider after rider downed rails, Jimmy Torano aboard Day Dream was one of the first competitors to negotiate a clear round.
Soon others would join him. A total of ten riders would make it to the jump-off and in that group were two riders from the silver medal show jumping team at this year’s Rio Olympic Games. And you can bet that both McLain Ward and Kent Farrington were hopeful that the victory would be theirs.
Ward’s clean first go was already a victory. By going winning the $40,000 U.S. Open Canadian Pacific Speed Class earlier in the week and then going clear again in the first round of this class, Ward won the second annual U.S. Open Championship and a check for $25,000. So, no matter the outcome, Ward was already walking home a happy man.
Also in that group of ten was Georgina Bloomberg, who was the winner in the inaugural class when the Rolex Central Park Horse Show debuted in 2014, setting the stage for a whole new type of horse show.
As the riders entered the arena working against the clock for the jump-off, the crowd started to wonder if anyone would do a clean jump-off. However, when it was Torano’s turn, he and Day Dream did it again, setting a fast time to beat of 37.05 seconds. Yet, with Ward, Farrington and Bloomberg still to go, the thought that he might actually win the class wasn’t quite in the cards.
The order of the final three riders was Ward, followed by Bloomberg and then Farrington and the crowd watched expecting one of them to pull a rabbit out of their hat. But tonight, the talent that brought them past victories wasn’t in the cards as each rider ended knocking down at least one rail.
When the scores were tallied just behind Torano would be Sharn Wordley (NZL) riding Barnetta to a slower but the only other clean time of 41.39 seconds. Third place honors went to Conor Swail and Cita. Despite their four faults for dropping a rail, there time was the fastest of the four faulters.
A Dream Come True for Torano
It was clear that Torano was over the moon with his victory, despite a rather rainy champagne match pitting the top three riders against each other on the podium.
The victory for Torano was even sweeter because he entered the class very late, not knowing if in the end he’d be able to compete. Torano had shown the eight-year-old gelding at the American Gold Cup and was pleased with how well he did, “which is why I called Mark (Bellissimo),” explained Torano asking if it was too late to enter. Bellissimo, who is the founder of the RCPHS, was supportive.
“He’s careful, he knows where the poles are, and he’s brave. So, I have a lot of trust in him,” said Torano about the horse that brought him to the podium. Torano bought the horse as a six-year-old and has been grooming him along. “From day one I believed in him. He has a lot of quality.”
Yet, as much as he gave his horse high marks, he also spoke highly about the Rolex Central Park Horse Show noting, “I really can’t say enough about this event. What gets better then riding in New York City at an event like this. The crowd was great. This show is as good as it gets. It all worked out. It was one of those events that was just meant to be.”
Sharn Wordley Repeats His 2015 Red Ribbon and Conor Swail Places third.
“I’m not happy. I am ecstatic,” commented Sharn Wordley about is second place finish, a feat he had also accomplished the year before. “Barnetta is not the fastest horse but he’s very consistent. My strategy is to go slow and hope everyone else has a rail down. I’m really happy with that horse.”
Like Torano, Wordley was thrilled with the RCPHS noting, “This is an amazing event. It’s one of those events where every time you do something, it turns to gold. I rubbed a bunch of fences tonight and they stayed up. Guillerme always builds fantastic courses. He really knows how to use the arena. It’s a very small space we’ve got to work with here. He’s got a knack of how to make it a hard test without any of the horses getting scared.”
Conor Swail was also over the moon about the Holsteiner mare. “I thought Cita was outstanding tonight. She rarely has a jump down ever. I made a little mistake and cut in a little tight. I took a risk and it didn’t pay off today,” explained Swail about the fact that since Cita rarely, if ever, knocks a rail, he rode one fence a little too tight.
“Third was good for me. I am so proud of my mare. I thought she jumped amazing,” he concluded.
Mark Bellissimo Made a Dream Come True
When Mark Bellissimo created the Central Park Horse Show, his goal was to develop something that was not your norm. Now three years later and with the support of a long list of sponsors, Bellissimo has succeeded in bringing to New York City this one of a kind event. For just short of a week, spectators get a chance to watch the world’s best compete with the backdrop of the New York City skyline. You really can’t match that.
“This sport has been fairly misunderstood in this country. I think the sport is much bigger than people understand. We are going to continue to push this event as a significant event.”
In addition to acknowledging the support of the many sponsors, it was Bellissimo’s staff that also earned his thanks. “To set up this show we have to come in Friday night and be ready by Monday. It’s an amazingly difficult event. It’s a team effort. There are not many things you can do easily in a place like New York. It’s like amazing grace,”
And there you have it. The Central Park Horse Show continues through Sunday, September 25, with more competition on Saturday and a family fun day on Sunday.