Going for the gold

In its 46 years, the American Gold Cup has called Tampa, Fla., Moreland Hills, Ohio, and Devon, Pa., home. But, organizers say, none of those sites can match the popularity of Old Salem Farm in North Salem — celebrating its fifth anniversary as the show jumping event’s venue Sept. 14-18.

The proof is in the statistics — participation by riders and horses, up 34 percent; sponsorships, up 65 percent; prize money, up 63 percent; VIP table sales, up 40 percent; general admission, up 33 percent; and number of vendors, up 31 percent.

These speak not only to the pastoral beauty of Old Salem Farm, but to the prestige of an event that is one of only seven that comprise the East Coast division of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping North American League. The competition will include five Longines FEI Rankings events, culminating in the  $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping New York, in which the top riders will compete for the American Gold Cup. The others are the $86,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier, the $86,000 Fidelity Investments Classic, the $35,000 Welcome Stake and the $35,000 Derby.

Past participants have included two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward, who is also on the U.S. Olympic equestrian team bound for Rio; Jessica Springsteen, who won the cup in 2014; and Georgina Bloomberg. The cup displays the names of 12 U.S. Olympians, six of them gold medalists, along with two Pan American Games gold medalists and six World Cup champions. This history makes the Gold Cup one of America’s toughest show jumping tests, organizers say, a proving ground for champions and a launch pad for many of the sport’s future show jumping stars.

But you don’t have to know a paddock from a pasture — as we like to say at WAG — to enjoy a variety of luxe retail and food venues, presenting everything from purses to Porsches, a casual family day in the bleachers or the hillside or a stylish turn in the bilevel VIP Hospitality pavilion.

The American Gold Cup offers all of this — and more. But if you should miss it, it will be shown on NBCSN.

For tickets and more, visit theamericangoldcup.com.

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