Anyone remember the Int'l Jumping Derby in Newport?
My mom and I were reminiscing about how much we enjoyed the International Jumping Derby at Newport, RI during the mid 80s. As a kid, it was so exciting to watch the superstars up close! Remember the Irish bank they had?
Went for a couple of years in the late 70's and early 80's when I was in grad school in Rhode Island. Would grab a couple of (non-horse) people, pack a lunch, and make a day of it. Loved the fact that you could walk the course beforehand so you knew how big the jumps were before you saw the horses jumping them.
I saw it when it was the American Jumping Derby, must have been 1981 or so. Was in Philadelphia on a business trip, friend lived in R.I. and we went to Newport on the weekend to tour the area and saw the banners. Came back the next day to watch, walked the course and then got to see Jet Run and Michael Matz, Rodney Jenkins and I can't remember all who rode (wish I could but at the time I was not following the Grand Prix horses and riders). That course was amazing (and huge and scary).
The parties were the greatest and are legendary. I still have the programs from the first two Derbies.
We used to ride the horses down to the beach and swim them. SUCH fun!!
This show was unique in that it was ONLY (originally) for the big jumpers, and featured one speed class and one jump-off class a day, using different elements of the permanent course each day, so the horses saw the whole course before the big class on Sunday. Show started at 1 p.m., so we had a leisurely morning to get ready. Hardest part was getting the horse vans in/out between the narrow stone walls and under the low hanging branches. At least one van lost its "peak" to an overhanging limb!
In 1985, Donald Cheska won on Eadenvale, Mark Leone was 2nd on Tim, Peter was 3rd on Costello and 4th was Leida Biegel on Pluco. Michael rode Brussels, Chef and Bon Retour. Kim Prince/ Ghostbuster, Katie/Tom Simmons, Armand/Jonker, Norman/Agha Khan, Jay/ Leapy Lad, Debbie Dolan/Albany,Will Simpson/Horst's Horse, Polly Howard/Summer Lite, Barney/Weinzglaff & Sedac, Buddy on Eclair De Lile fell at "Heartbreak Alley".
1988's Derby winners in this order were: Katie/Special Envoy, Michael/Bon Retour, Linda Kossick/Non Pariel, Lynne Little/Pamino, Alice Debaney/Tarco and 6th, Armand/Lassandro. Other entries Charlie Jacobs/Abadon, Mason Phelps/Airwolff, Andre Dignelli/Wandering Wind, Margie/Daydream, Norman/Aga Khan, Louis Jacobs/Janus De Ver, Lynne/Ommen, Barney/Sedac & So Long and 16 year old Megan Furth/Nimmedor.
Ah yes. I remember the calcuttas. Get the rich folks drunk enough and they'd spend a fortune.
One of the best shows ever. Big jumps, huge field, nice town. Great crowds. Didn't need 12 rings to have a wonderful event. Just one. Farms with natural jumps would make a killing the week before - with all the Derby candidates practicing. I think it was $250 per horse to school at one farm in NY You just HAD to practice over the bank(s), the grob, and double dry ditches. The particular farm had a REAL stone wall to jump. It sure reminded the leg hangers to pick up their knees.
Inevitably someone would be jumping the Derby clean, and would ONLY have the tiny vertical down at the top of the bank.
Oh yes! Still have programs from a few, and posters too. I rode there for a while, then moved down the street to SAndy Point stables with Jay Sargent when she left there. We kids loved to walk the course and then take flowers from the course home afterward for our own jumps (it was still the American Jumping derby then). What I would give to go back there and ride on those fields! They have polo there now, and Mason is long gone of course.