Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward celebrated his return to Lake Placid with a win in the $30,000 FarmVet Jumper Classic Thursday at the I Love New York Horse Show, the second week of the 49th annual Lake Placid Horse Shows, presented by Sea Shore Stables, LLC and sponsored by Bainbridge Farms, LLC.

McLain Ward and HH Gigi’s Girl. Photo by The Book LLC

Nine of 35 entries reached the tiebreaking jump-off by riding clean over the 13-jump, 16-effort first-round course designed by Michel Vaillancort. Ward, the 2017 FEI World Cup champion and currently the world’s number two ranked rider, was the first to tackle the eight-jump jump-off course and he rode HH Gigi’s Girl to a clean ride in 37.634 seconds to set the mark to beat.

None of the remaining entries could catch Ward’s score. Coming closest was Irish Olympic veteran Kevin Babington, winner of last Sunday’s $75,000 Prevost Richard M. Feldman Grand Prix. Babington placed second on Super Chilled with a fault-free jump-off ride in 38.303 seconds. Third place went to Catherine Tyree with a clean jump-off ride in 39.672 seconds on Enjoy Louis.

Earlier Thursday morning, Sloane Coles and Copias were one of five horse and rider combinations to turn in a clean round in the $5,000 Hollow Brook Wealth Management 1.40m Jumper Class, taking home first place with a time of 56.051 seconds. Laura Chapot, winner of the horse show’s featured classes on Tuesday and Wednesday, took second and third place aboard Zealous and Out of Ireland, respectively.

The I Love New York Horse Show continues daily through Sunday. Highlights include the $100,000 Great American Insurance Group Grand Prix on Saturday and the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented by Eastern Hay & Purina Animal Nutrition on Sunday.