By a quirk of scheduling last weekend, we took in the American Gold Cup at Old Salem Farm in North Salem on the Saturday and not the Sunday, as we usually do. If Saturday saw lighter crowds than the Sunday finale, it was all the more relaxing for it, a truly glorious day under early-autumn skies with a hint of color in the landscape that enabled us to wander around Boutique Row and enjoy such stops as the Hèrmes Pavilion before settling into the Taylor Harris Club in the double-deck VIP Tent for some good eats and some good action.
So we missed Molly Ashe Cawley of Wellington, Florida, take the top prize – the actual Gold Cup – Sunday in the $204,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup New York CSI4-W aboard her 10-year-old KWPN mare D’Amita. (It was an American sweep as Margie Engle finished second aboard Royce and Mattias Tromp third aboard Quinta.)
But we were there Saturday to see two-time Olympic gold medalist and longtime Brewster resident McLain Ward win the $70,000 Fidelity Investments Classic CSI5* with his mount Tradition De La Roque. On Friday, he had won the $80,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier aboard his new mount, Contagious. Gold seemed “contagious” indeed for Ward, who was fresh off a victory in the NetJets U.S. Show Jumping Team at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina. (Alas, he and Contagious finished just off the podium in the actual Cup competition on Sunday, in fifth place.)
Certainly, it was a bittersweet Cup for Ward, who also saw his faithful teammate Rothchild retire in a ceremony that included a video of career highlights of the Warmblood gelding (and Pan American Games gold medalist). We fans got to sign a retirement card for Rothchild and posed for pictures with a cutout of him.
All we can say is we’re already dreaming of next year’s competition, which will return to the middle of September, and to Rothchild, we add, godspeed, great steed.
– Georgette Gouveia