Jimmy Torano reigns supreme in the Rolex U.S. Open Grand Prix
Jimmy Torano riding Day Dream won the Rolex U.S. Open Grand Prix, under the bright lights of New York’s iconic skyline at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show.
Capacity crowds filled the stands to watch 34 riders from 11 nations tackle the challenging course set out by Rio 2016 Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge. Rightly considered by spectators and riders alike as one of the most iconic venue settings in the world, the stage was set for an exciting night. The heat of the day had passed and a crisp, clear night awaited the start of the class.
Testament to the difficulty of the course, it was only after 11 rounds that the crowd were rewarded with a clear round. Jimmy Torano was eighteenth to go and produced a round of elegance and precision to ensure he was through to the jump-off. Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington aboard Creedance and fellow silver medal winning Team member at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, McLain Ward, were amongst those to join him.
The spectacular floodlit arena, simultaneously brightened by New York’s dramatic skyscrapers looming overhead, saw just 10 riders jump clear and proceed to the next round.
The gripping jump-off saw a tense crowd cheer on the 10 challengers vying for the title, the Rolex Grand Prix. From the starters, only three riders produced a double clear. Fourth to go, Torano, produced the first clear round setting a challenging time of 37.05 to beat. Although Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington produced a faster time, he incurred four faults, after the slightest of touches on one rail dropping him out of contention for the title.
After his victory, a delighted Torano commented, “He’s a very brave horse so I wasn’t worried about the bright lights or the electric atmosphere. Obviously I didn’t think he was going to win the class as he’s young and there are some top combinations here.
“I really can’t say enough about this event. What gets better then riding in New York City with the incredible skyline like this? The crowd was unbelievable, it’s as good as it gets anywhere.”
Despite being a late entry to the class, Torano recognized that “It was one of those things that was just meant to be.”
Renowned Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge, in his first year at the Rolex Central Park Horse show, set a difficult and demanding course to be completed within the allocated time of 83 seconds. Speaking after the Rolex Grand Prix, Jorge spoke about the course and how it rode. “The two main concerns here at Central Park for a designer are to find a good track on a small ring and one that’s an unusual shape. I was happy today, they had a lot of room to gallop and to get to the fences, that was my main priority.
“I think this event is very special, with the atmosphere and lights, it takes an exceptional horse to win here.”
WORLD’S TOP ATHLETES
Now in its third year, the show has quickly established itself on the international circuit as one of the world’s leading iconic equestrian events. The show attracts many of equestrian’s top athletes, as they attempt to contend for the Rolex Grand Prix, in one of the most unique event settings in the world.
Founder of the Rolex Central Park Horse show, Mark Bellissimo, remarked “This really was a special night. When we started this event, the goal was to put together something that had top equestrian sport in a unique setting. I think tonight’s competition was the best of the three years, with 10 in the jump-off in a very competitive round.”
FINAL RESULTS OF ROLEX U.S. OPEN GRAND PRIX SHOW JUMPING
1. Jimmy Torano (USA) riding Day Dream
2. Sharn Wordley (NZL) riding Barnetta
3. Conor Swail (IRL) riding Cita
4. McLain Ward (USA) riding HH Carlos Z
5. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) riding Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili