Kent Farrington and Dynamo have taken out the inaugural $100,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix CSI 2* at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Farrington beat some of the world’s top show jumpers on the lawn of Donald Trump’s scenic estate overlooking South Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway.
The Trump Invitational benefits the 2013 FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge (FTI GCC), present by Fidelity Investments, one of the hallmarks of Equestrian Sport Productions’ FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. The event has raised and distributed over $2.7 million to local Palm Beach charities over the last three years. In addition to the grand prix competition on Sunday, a wild card charity was drawn for the 2013 FTI GCC, The Voice winner Cassadee Pope performed some of her top songs as well as the national anthem, and Olympic Dressage duo Tina Konyot and Calecto V performed their winning freestyle exhibition.
“We were thrilled with this successful event,” said Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo. “The setting couldn’t have been more stunning and the equestrian sport was fantastic. This event was such an amazing combination of sport, entertainment, and philanthropy.”
International course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio, of Red Hook, NY, set the track for Sunday’s class with 36 entries competing. Four of the horse and rider combinations were able to clear the course without fault to advance to the jump-off, and the over 600 spectators that enjoyed VIP dining in the ringside tents watched an exciting tiebreaker.
Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Let’s Fly were the first pair to clear the course and first to return for the jump-off. The accomplished duo put in another clear performance in the second round and set the pace at 44.31 seconds to eventually place second. Charlie Jayne (USA) and Pony Lane Farm’s Waldman Z were next to compete, but had one rail down in a time of 44.62 seconds to finish third. Schuyler Riley (USA) and M. Michael Meller’s Waterloo also had a rail in the jump-off and stopped the clock in 46.97 seconds to place fourth. Last to jump-off, Kent Farrington and Dynamo thrilled the crowd with a fast, clear round almost two seconds faster than Pessoa to take the win in 42.62 seconds.
When the top four riders returned for the jump-off, they were careful to plans their tracks accordingly on the grass footing. Following the class, Farrington spoke about the benefit of going last.
“I think whenever there are a small number of horses in a jump-off it is a big advantage to go at the end. You want to use that time to watch everybody go and make a strategy,” Farrington said.
“I watched Rodrigo go first and I think with the footing not being great there wasn’t top speed today and it was more about just going fast enough to win. His horse is very fast, so the one thing that I had to be aware of was that I didn’t get lulled into thinking it was going to be an easy jump-off because the horse is going much faster than it looks.”
Dynamo is a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Skippy II x Lys de Darmen who belongs to one of Farrington’s students, Meagan Nusz. Nusz usually rides Dynamo and lent him to Farrington for the special class.
“He is a great horse,” Farrington said. “He has been a great horse for Meagan. He has won lots of classes before, so I think that is a sign of his quality and how nice he is, that he is able to come out for a class like this and go in and win.”
Farrington’s top horses are resting before the winter show season picks up. “I was giving my horses a little bit of a break after I showed them in Europe. They worked pretty hard this fall, so I was just giving them some down time. I knew the setting would be pretty impressive here with the crowd and on the water, so I wanted to make sure that I brought a horse that was brave and I knew I could count on to march right in there,” Farrington said.
“I think the event has a great feel.”You could not ask for a better setting. They talked about next year already and improving the footing, which is the only thing that you would want as a rider to be better. That is obviously not what that field is normally used for, so I thought they made the best of what they had today and still put on a great event.”
The small confines of the ring also made a difference for some of the horses and riders. Pessoa pointed out that it was much like riding in a smaller indoor arena and required an accurate ride.
“It is a big difference from showing at the International Ring in Wellington where you have time to think about stuff in the corners and set up your lines the way you really want,” he said. “Here it was kind of like an indoor set up, like what we are used to in Europe.”
Equestrian Sport Productions’ CEO Mark Bellissimo was thrilled with the event and looks forward to making improvements in order to ensure that the class will be even better next year.
Donald Trump had a great time and also looks forward to hosting the event again. He already has ideas on how to make improvements.
“I think what we may do is flatten the course totally and actually make it bigger because we have tremendous amounts of land here,” Trump said.
“We were actually thinking about turning it so that we are looking at this great federal landmark. My wife, Melania, came up with the idea to turn the tents, that way the sun would be at our backs and we would have the food served on the water and have an even more magnificent view.”
Commenting on the grass, Trump said it had a very good root system, “but it is not made for horses. Today we made it for horses and I think overall it worked out well. That was always a par-3 golf course. Now that we have the number one ranked course in the state of Florida four minutes away, which is Trump International, people don’t want to play out here, they want to go to the golf course. I think we can do something with the footing. We can flatten it and use a very strong grass.”
Final Results: $100,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix CSI 2*
1. Dynamo: 2003 BWP gelding by Skippy II
Kent Farrington (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/0/42.62
2. HH Let’s Fly: 2000 Hanoverian gelding by Lordanos
Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Double H Farm: 0/0/44.31
3. Waldman Z: 2004 Zangersheide gelding by Canabis Z
Charlie Jayne (USA), Pony Lane Farm: 0/4/44.62
4. Waterloo: 2004 KWPN gelding by Heartbreaker
Schuyler Riley (USA), M. Michael Meller: 0/4/46.97
5. Cedric: 1998 Holsteiner gelding by Chambertin
Laura Kraut (USA), Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc: 1/82.04
6. Nougat Du Vallet: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Herif d’Elle
Katherine Dinan (USA), Grant Road Partners LLC: 4/78.52
7. Diktator Van De Boslandhoeve: 2004 BWP stallion by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve
Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 4/78.71
8. Show Show: 2002 BWP gelding by Darco
Alvaro De Miranda (BRA), RD Jumping Higher Ltda: 4/78.77
9. Caballito: 2002 Oldenburg gelding by Contendro
Andres Rodriguez (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 4/78.85
10. Rothchild: 2002 SBS gelding by Artos
McLain Ward (USA), Sagamore Farms: 4/79.41
11. Unex Omelli: 1996 KWPN gelding by Burggraaf
Tim Gredley (GBR), Unex Competition Yard: 4/79.90
12. Kismet 50: 2001 BWP mare by Kannan
Candice King (USA), Bellissimo LLC: 4/80.34