Wednesday, Jun. 12, 2024

Bluman’s Best In $212,000 Rolex U.S. Open Grand Prix At The Central Park Horse Show

New York City—Sept. 25 

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New York City—Sept. 25 

Yes, Daniel Bluman wanted to win the $210,000 U.S. Open Rolex Grand Prix, but he also really wanted to win the Rolex watch that came as a prize for that victory.
“It’s kind of a funny story,” he said. “Rolex has been sponsoring equestrian sports for a long time, and they play the music at the shows, and it’s something I’ve been looking at since I was very young, and I’ve been wanting to win one. I came close in Florida a few times this winter, and tonight I said, ‘I want that watch.’ To win it today in Central Park, after having the pressure from Sharn [Wordley, in the jump-off]–it’s the crown for a champion, and I’m very pleased.”
Bluman piloted Conconcreto Believe to first in the Wollman Rink in Central Park, and he also picked up the $25,000 bonus for scoring U.S. Open Show Jumping victory. Bluman and “Believe” also finished second in Thursday night’s speed class. 
Bluman and Wordley, who rode Sky Group’s Barnetta for Ireland, went head-to-head in the jump-off. Wordley was first in for the short course, and he had a clear round on a time of ?? seconds. 
“In the warm-up, once we figured out it was just us two, Daniel started negotiating with me,” joked Wordley. “First he offered to split the money, and I said no. Then he said, ‘OK, second gets the Rolex.’ So really I think that watch belongs to me.
“My strategy was to go medium fast and do the inside turns, and then make Daniel do the inside turns and hopefully he’d slip up and have a rail. I knew I couldn’t outrun him.” 
Bluman said he brought Believe, owned by Blue Star Investments, to this competition because she’s such a naturally quick horse. 
“Indoor and classes like here is where she can excell the most,” he said. “She’s a very comoetive horse who wants to win. She’s not super scopey for the huge tracks but for tracks that require rideabilty and quality, she’s up for that.”
The tracks were set by Guilherme Jorge, and he admitted he’d have liked a few more clears, though he was overall pleased how the course rode, and the riders praised it as well. 
“I was hoping for a nice jump-off for this amazing crowd here,” he said. “It’s not only the full stands but also the people looking through fences. The level of competition is very high, and one second I could have added to the time allowed was the difference between two and four [in the jump-off]. We had 10 or 11 with one rail that could have easily been in the jump-off too. I was explaineing before, but this is a venue that takes a horse experienced to rise to the occasion.”

 Yes, Daniel Bluman wanted to win the $212,000 U.S. Open Rolex Grand Prix CSI***, but he also really wanted to win the Rolex watch that came along as a prize for that victory.

“It’s kind of a funny story,” he said. “Rolex has been sponsoring equestrian sports for a long time, and they play the music at the shows, and it’s something I’ve been looking at since I was very young, and I’ve been wanting to win one. I came close in Florida a few times this winter, and tonight I said, ‘I want that watch.’ To win it today in Central Park, after having the pressure from Sharn [Wordley, in the jump-off]it’s the crown for a champion, and I’m very pleased.”

Bluman piloted Conconcreto Believe to first in the Wollman Rink tonight in Central Park after two clear rounds and a jump-off time of 41.39 seconds, and he also picked up the $25,000 bonus for scoring U.S. Open Show Jumping victory, a leading rider prize for the weekend. Bluman and “Believe” finished third in Thursday night’s speed class. 

Only two riders out of the 26 starters qualifed for the short course, and an additional two (Candice King on Bellissimo LLC’s Kismet 50, and Shane Sweetnam on Chaqui Z, who finished third) picking up just one time penalty each. There were some dramatic happenings as well, with McLain Ward being eliminated after two stops on Rothchild, and Richie Moloney coming off Slieveanorra at fence 11, a wide oxer. Todd Minikus, second in the speed class on Thursday with Quality Girl, retired after a stop. 

Bluman and Wordley, who rode Sky Group’s Barnetta for New Zealand, went head-to-head in the jump-off. Wordley was first in for the short course, and he had a clear round on a time of 43.35 seconds. 

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“In the warm-up, once we figured out it was just us two, Daniel started negotiating with me,” joked Wordley. “First he offered to split the money, and I said no. Then he said, ‘OK, second gets the Rolex.’ So really I think that watch belongs to me.

“My strategy was to go medium fast and do the inside turns, and then make Daniel do the inside turns and hopefully he’d slip up and have a rail,” he continued. “I knew I couldn’t outrun him.” 

Bluman said he brought Believe, owned by Blue Star Investments, to this competition because she’s such a naturally quick horse. 

“Indoor and classes like here is where she can excel the most,” he said. “She’s a very competitive horse who wants to win. She’s not super scopey for the huge tracks but for tracks that require rideabilty and quality, she’s up for that.”

The tracks were set by Guilherme Jorge, and he admitted he’d have liked a few more clears, though he was overall pleased how the course rode, and the riders praised it as well. 

“I was hoping for a nice jump-off for this amazing crowd here,” he said. “It’s not only the full stands but also the people looking through fences. The level of competition is very high, and one second I could have added to the time allowed was the difference between two and four [in the jump-off]. We had 11 with one rail that could have easily been in the jump-off too. This is a venue that takes a horse experienced to rise to the occasion.” 

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Gates Goes For It In Junior/Amateur-Owner Speed Class

Jennifer Gates and Everest de Muze weren’t on track to win the $5,000 U.S. Open Price Waterhouse Junior/Amateur-Owner class—until after fence 3. 

“I was a little nervous coming in,” said Gates. “I went slowly in the beginning. I made a mistake in the [$40,000 speed class] last night with Pumped Up Kicks. I’d just landed on a flight, and I was a little mentally not there. But I started to trust my horse and pick up the pace after 3ab. Heading back to the last line, I took a little chance there around the turn. He’s naturally fast also, which helps me.”

Gates

Her time of 58.81 seconds easily gave Gates the win. Joyce Green was second on Cassidy (61.09 seconds), and Francesca Dildabanian was third with Catika van de Helle (61.50 seconds). 

“Competing here was a dream come true,” said Gates, 19. “I’d heard about the show last year, but I wasn’t able to make it. This year I jumped at the opportunity to compete here.” 

Want to see more photos from tonight’s class? You can also see full results from tonight’s classes on the Rolex Central Park Horse Show website, coverage from this afternoon’s dressage Grand Prix and last night’s speed class

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