The inaugural Real Rider Cup at the Plantation Field Horse Trials on Sunday, September 17 was such a rollicking good time that it has taken us three days to recover from it…and to review the 1,000+ (literally!) photos that were taken at the event. Twenty riders comprised four teams of five riders each – trainers, owners, jockeys and veterinarians. Clad in the racing silks of their sponsors, individuals or organizations that had pledged the $1,000 entry fee to support the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP), each rider maneuvered a show jumping course of 2’6″ obstacles in Plantation Field’s vast main arena. XBTV’s Zoe Cadman and RRP founder Steuart Pittman provided spirited color commentary during each round.
As the focus of this year’s horse trials was off-the-track-Thoroughbreds, every horse entered had to have made at least one start during their racing careers. There were those who had earned very little and/or never won a race, as well as mulitple graded stakes winning millionaire Twilight Eclipse, three-time Maryland Million Classic winner Eighttofasttocatch and fan favorite Icabad Crane, whom Pittman referred to as “the most famous OTTB in the world.”
Olympic Gold Medalist Phillip Dutton served as the informal chef d’equipe for the squads; a few of the riders, including trainer Joe Sharp and former jockey Mike McCarthy – had no experience at all over fences. While competitors confessed to a bit of nervous energy before the competition began, good sportsmanship won out and it was obvious to the large, enthusiastic crowd on hand that a good time was indeed being had by all.
In the end, the Trainers team of Leigh Delacour, Sanna Neilson, Joe Sharp, Chuck Lawrence and Tim Keefe got the win with a cumulative score just .22 seconds faster than the second-place Owners team of Lauren Baker Cannizzo, Anne Moran, Nuno Santos, Brianna Mott and Erin Birkenhauer. Jump jockey Mark Beecher captured the individual honors with a score of 49.26 seconds, followed by his Jockeys teammate Kaymarie Kreidel in second place with 51.45.
We’ve just put up a new Gallery full of plenty of fun images from the day….follow the link below and enjoy!