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American Gold Cup returns to action in September

By Kenneth Kraus on behalf of AGC

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Rodney Jenkins and the legendary Idle Dice won the American Gold Cup three years in a row during the early 70's. Jenkins holds the record for five career Gold Cup wins (Contributed photo)
North Salem, NY - The legendary American Gold Cup, one of the America's oldest and most prestigious show jumping events, returns to action in September at its new home at Old Salem Farm, in North Salem, NY.

The list of previous winners of this equestrian classic reads like a veritable who's who of the best show jumping horse and rider combinations in American history.

Over the course of the forty-two year history of the American Gold Cup, eleven United States Olympians, six of them Gold Medalists, along with a Pan American Games Gold Medalist and six World Cup Champions have captured the top prize.

This year's show is scheduled for September 12th through the 16th, 2012, with the $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W, a FEI World Cup Qualifying Competition, as the highlight event on the final Sunday.

During its formative years, the class was dominated by two American Show Jumping legends, Rodney Jenkins and Michael Matz. In fact, Jenkins and Matz led the victory gallop seven times in the first ten years the American Gold Cup was held.

Olympian Michael Matz won the American Gold Cup four times during his career, twice on Jet Run, pictured here. Photo by Barrow
Jenkins won four years in a row in 1972 through 1975 and Matz put together back to back to back wins in 1977 through 1979. Jenkins came back to win for a record fifth time in 1985 and Matz returned twenty years after his 1979 victory to take the 1999 title with Judgement.

When Jenkins and Matz weren't winning during those early years, Melanie Smith-Taylor certainly was, taking the top prize three times, in 1976 and again in 1981 and 1982.

While Jenkins was guiding Balbuco, The Natural and the legendary Idle Dice to victory, Matz was winning with Jet Run and Grande. Smith-Taylor won initially with Radnor II and then went back to back with her Olympic partner Calypso.

Smith Taylor's Los Angeles Gold Medal Olympic teammates Leslie Howard, Conrad Homfeld and Joe Fargis have all posted American Gold Cup victories as well. Homfeld won the inaugural American Gold Cup in Cleveland in 1970 with Act I and returned 14 years later to win with Coastline. Fargis topped the charts in 1987 with Mill Pearl, while Leslie Howard galloped away with the win in 1983 with Albany.

The 1996 Silver Medal Atlanta Olympic team is well represented with American Gold Cup wins for Matz and Howard, along with Peter Leone and Anne Kursinski. Leone captured the 1988 event with Threes and Sevens and Kursinski dominated the early 90's with four wins in six years on four different horses. After winning with Starman in 1990, she posted back to back to back wins with Top Seed, Eros and Dynamite respectively.

US Olympic Bronze Medalist Norman Dello Joio piloted Malcolm to victory in the 2008 edition of the American Gold Cup. Photo by Kenneth Kraus
Norman Dello Joio, the Individual Bronze Medalist in Barcelona in 1992 won the American Gold Cup when it returned to Cleveland in 2008 aboard Malcolm. Also winning in Cleveland the second time around was reigning Pan American Games Gold Medalist Christine McCrea who piloted Vegas to the 2006 Gold Cup title. Mario Deslauriers, a Canadian Olympian and American World Equestrian Games team member was also victorious in Cleveland when he rode Paradigm to victory in 2007.

Chris Kappler, a team Gold medalist from the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, posted the first of his three wins in 1996 with Seven Wonder and then went back to back in 2002 and 2003 with his Olympic partner Royal Kaliber.

U.S. London 2012 Olympic team member Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo won the last edition of the American Gold Cup in Cleveland in 2010. Photo by Kenneth Kraus
Beezie Madden, Kappler's teammate in Athens and a member of our Gold Medal squad in Hong Kong, won her first American Gold Cup in 1989 with Northern Magic then returned twenty-one years later to capture the 2010 event with her current London Olympic partner, Coral Reef Via Volo.

Although Olympians have dominated the American Gold Cup over the years, there have been plenty of other top riders adding their name to the famed trophy.

Those include Kimberly Prince, a two-time winner with Bergerac in 2001 and again with Marlou in 2004. Patty Stovel led the round of honor in 2005 with Shandor 41, while Schuyler Riley was the winner with Carolus H in 2000. Other winners include Sara Watt, Amanda Fuscas, Eric Hasbrouck, Terry Rudd, Barney Ward, Buddy Brown and 2008 Olympic Course Designer Steve Stephens.

This year's American Gold Cup is a 2012/2013 World Cup qualifying event and as you review the list of past winners, the title of World Cup Champion is attached to a number of the previous title holders of the American Gold Cup. They include Conrad Homfeld, Melanie Smith-Taylor, Michael Matz, Norman Dello Joio, Mario Deslauriers and Leslie Howard.

The FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final is an annual international competition among the world's best show jumping horses and riders. The series, created in 1978, today comprises 14 leagues on all continents. The best riders from 132 preliminary competitions qualify for the final.

Old Salem Farm, one of the North American Riders Group (NARG) top rated shows for the 2011 season will play host to the 2012 American Gold Cup on September 12th through the 16th (Contributed photo)
Old Salem Farm, in New York's Westchester County, is a premier equestrian venue, offering state-of-the-art facilities, surrounded by 120 gorgeous acres. In 2010, the Old Salem Spring Show was voted one of the Top 25 Horse Shows in North America by NARG, the North American Rider's Group. The owners at Old Salem have spent over $30 million in renovations over the past few years to bring this venue on par with any show facility in the world.

This year's show will feature a full array of jumper classes, including sections for Children and Adult Jumpers, Low and High Junior/Amateur Jumpers, plus Young Jumpers. A $25,000 Show Jumping Hall of Classic will take center stage on Saturday and the day will also include $10,000 NAL Classics for Children, Adults and Low Junior/Amateurs.

Highlight events for Open Jumpers include the $10,000 1.45m Speed class on Thursday, the $50,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier on Friday, the $35,000 1.45m American Gold Cup Jumper Classic on Saturday and of course, Sunday's main event, the 42nd edition of the $200,000 American Gold Cup.

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