The Longines Masters made its highly-anticipated debut in New York on Thursday, April 26. Horses from across the globe traveled to NYCB LIVE, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, for the prestigious show jumping event running through Sunday, April 29. Read on to see who rose to the occasion on opening day and who you want to keep your eye on for the rest of the weekend.
CSI5* Masters One Vestrum-Italy Trophy Speed Class
With three Olympic medals to his name, 2017 World Cup champion McLain Ward (USA) proved why he is at the top of the sport at the Longines Masters of New York. Forty-four starters attempted to be the fastest over the speed course set for the Masters One Vestrum-Italy 1.45m, but it wasn’t until the penultimate entry of Ward and HH Callas that the winner was revealed.
With a time of 58.62 seconds, Ward shot to the top of the leaderboard with the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Double H Farm, claiming victory over Olivier Philippaerts (BEL). It was serious business for the 24-year-old Belgian, who guided Goofy van T Laerhof, owned by his father, four-time Olympian Ludo Philippaerts, to the runner-up position in 60.12 seconds. Making it a true international podium, Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Cornwall BH took third in 61.82 seconds.
“It is an exciting new event and a great arena; I really hope it grows into something very special,” said Ward, who is able to commute to the inaugural Longines Masters of New York from his home in nearby Brewster, NY. “Callas is here to compete and she’s aiming for the Longines Speed Challenge class on Friday night. She’s a seasoned, quick horse. She can do it all!”
Speed was the name of the game, and nobody played it better than Alejandro Karolyi (VEN). The Venezuelan turned up the heat at NYCB Live, blistering over the speed track set by Dutch course designer Louis Konickx in 58.92 seconds aboard Elliot to claim victory in the Masters Two Grand Prix Magazine 1.45m division. Seventeen-year-old Coco Fath (USA) and Huckleberry took second with a time of 60.11 while Samantha Wight (USA) rode a clever track with Edison to take third in a time of 61.51 seconds.
Masters Two L.A. Saddlery Power and Speed
In the Masters Two L.A. Saddlery 1.35m competition, Long Island’s own Laura Bowery (USA) topped the power and speed competition riding Zerly, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. The pair was able to stay ahead of Jennifer Kocher (USA) and 1984 World Cup champion Mario Deslauriers (CAN), who filled out the second and third positions on the podium respectively.
Masters Three Free X Rein Amateur and Junior/ Masters Three Kastel Denmark Classes
The Masters Three division opened the competition featuring the Free X Rein Amateur and Junior 1.10m followed immediately by the Masters Three Kastel Denmark 1.20m. Connecticut native Alexa Pessoa (USA) claimed the first win of the Longines Masters of New York, piloting Little Rock, a seven-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding sired by Goldfever and owned by Amethyst Equestrian Consulting, to victory over the speed track in a time of 34.98 seconds. Fellow American Summer Paulos slotted into second with a time of 35.24 riding Quilotta 2, her nine-year-old Holsteiner mare sired by Quidam de Revel.
Paulos, also a Connecticut native hailing from Newtown, soon found herself in the winner’s circle, however, after taking top spot in the Masters Three Kastel Denmark 1.20m. The mom of four and full-time property manager rode to Balans RV to victory for owner R.C.G. Farm, posting a time of 31.81 seconds to win over Jennifer Kocher (USA). Kocher stopped the clock in 31.89 seconds riding Elion V, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by her husband, Andrew Kocher, who is contesting the five-star division at the Longines Masters of New York.
“This was a great start and I could not have hoped for more,” said Paulos of her Longines Masters debut. “The event is amazing and I loved the jump design and the courses in the ring. I look forward to more of what we had today – great competition!”