New Yorkers won both feature classes on the opening night of the inaugural Central Park Horse Show at the Trump Rink on Thursday night, with Georgina Bloomberg riding Juvina to success in the $210,000 Central Park Grand Prix CSI 3*.
Bloomberg topped 22 of the world’s best horses and riders in the Rolex sponsored event, televised live on NBC Sports Network as the first live primetime broadcast of equestrian sport on a major sports network. Later in the evening, New York native Lucy Deslauriers rode Hester to victory in the $20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by PwC.
The Central Park Grand Prix CSI 3* grand prix was held in a format where the top six entries returned for a jump-off over the course designed by Steve Stephens of Palmetto, Florida. The winner was then determined by combined faults from both rounds with ties broken by the second round time.
Charlie Jayne, of Elgin, Illinois, was the only rider to clear the first round course without fault aboard Pony Lane Farm’s Valeska while Bloomberg and Gotham Enterprizes’ Juvina returned for round two carrying four faults. When Bloomberg jumped the second round course clear in 38.28 seconds, the pressure was on Jayne to stay on zero as the last entry to go, but an unlucky rail at the final fence tied up the faults. Jayne’s time of 38.81 seconds left him in second place as the victory, along with the winner’s share of prize money and a beautiful new Rolex watch, landed in the hands of Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Also completing two great rounds over the course of the evening were Paige Johnson of The Plains, Virginia, and Salamander Farm’s Dakota. The pair had one rail and a time fault in round one, but returned to jump clear in round two and finished third overall on a five-fault total.
Winning this unprecedented event on home turf was a dream come true for Bloomberg, riding a very special horse in Juvina. She bought the 13-year-old Austrian Warmblood mare (Cassini I x Grannus) a couple months before she stopped riding for back surgery and her pregnancy, but never skipped a beat as she quickly returned to the show ring.
“I have had a long road back,” Bloomberg said. “For the last three years I haven’t really been competing at the top level, so for me this is my first win back. It is proof that I have really worked hard and accomplished a lot to be able to get back to the top level. I got her at a time when I knew I was going to be taking a little time off and the timing wasn’t ideal, but I knew she was a horse that I could come back very quickly on,” she said.
“She is absolutely the most talented horse I have ever sat on. She is a dream come true, and I was so lucky to find her.
“This is obviously my hometown and the most special place on the planet to me,” Bloomberg said. “I competed at the National Horse Show when it was here in Madison Square Garden its final year, and I remember walking into the arena for the last time there and knowing that it was the most amazing feeling in the world to be able to compete in this city. To have it come back here – I really did take a minute to enjoy the moment and look around. To win is absolutely amazing to me.”
With a fantastic first night in the books, Mark Bellissimo of International Equestrian Group (IEG) thanked Bloomberg and supporters such as Donald Trump and Rolex for their help in making his dream of a Central Park Horse Show a reality.
Sponsors of the event, including Trump and Salamander Hotels & Resorts’ Sheila Johnson (mother of third placegetter Paige) were on hand for the show’s first night.
Lucy Deslauriers wins $20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix
A $20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by PwC, followed the main event, featuring some of the nation’s top riders under the age of 25. The win went to 15-year-old Lucy Deslauriers of New York, NY, riding Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester. Twelve entries started with three riders advancing to the jump-off, where Deslauriers completed the only double clear round in 32.47 seconds for victory. Katherine Strauss and All In had four faults in the jump-off in 32.71 seconds to finish second. Sydney Shulman and Back Country Farm’s Quidam 13 placed third with four faults in 33.36 seconds.
“It was very exciting. I didn’t really know what to expect,” Deslauriers said of her first Central Park Horse Show. “I have never ridden this close to home, for sure, but I’m very excited to be here, and it was a great class.”
Deslauriers went to school as usual on Thursday before jumping to victory later in the evening just minutes from home. “I went to a full day of school, got home, and walked over here,” she said. “I did some homework in between. Before I went, when we walked the grand prix, I kept saying to my friends, ‘This is so weird. We’re in the middle of the city!’ None of us have ever done anything like this before, so it was really amazing.”
$210,000 Central Park Grand Prix CSI 3*
1 Juvina Georgina Bloomberg USA
2 Valeska Charlie Jayne USA
3 Dakota Paige Johnson USA
4 Quality Girl Todd Minikus USA
5 Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve Molly Ashe-Cawley USA
6 Baronez Kirsten Coe USA
7 D’Elia Van Het Molenhof Darragh Kerins IRL
8 Bonanza Van Paemel Catherine Pasmore USA
9 Andretti S Laura Kraut USA
10 Prof De La Roque Darragh Kenny IRL
11 Kismet 50 Candice King USA
12 Onira Brianne Goutal USA 9 71.56
$20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix
1 Hester Lucy Deslauriers
2 All In Katherine Strauss
3 Quidam 13 Sydney Shulman
4 G & C Flash Taylor Alexander
5 Cayenne 140 Victoria Press
6 VDL Bellefleur Nicole Bellissimo
7 Bottom Line Karen Polle
8 Oreade Des Dames Adrienne Sternlicht
9 Wardetta S Samantha Kasowitz
10 Lincourt Gino Monica Carrera
11 Zafira Alexandra Crown
12 Caprilli HSF Gabriela Mershad