The Y2 Award for the Pan American tournament awarded by Bretton and Kara Chad
Farrington ends Spruce Meadows summer series in style with the $400,000 Pan American Cup
The course announcer, as Kent Farrington and Uceko crossed the finish line at Meadows on the Green, took one look at the time and barked out: “Beat that!”
And though the four competitors that followed came close, none could.
Farrington capped off a couple of terrific weeks of show jumping at Spruce Meadows by winning the $400,000 Pan American Cup grand prix on a sultry Sunday afternoon — the final day of the summer series.
Show jumping fans will now have to wait for the resumption of competition in September when the Masters tournament will be staged, one week later than usual due to the World Equestrian Games in France.
One man who should get plenty of attention at those Games is Farrington, one of the top 10 riders in the world who — after a quieter than usual summer at the Meadows — returned to prominence last week at the North American and on the final day of the Pan American, pocketing $132,000 for his jump-off victory aboard the excellent Uceko.
Though the announcer obviously thought that their 35.33 time was going to be enough to win, Farrington wasn’t so sure.
“Not with these guys coming behind me,” he said, alluding to the two other riders sitting beside him — second-place finisher McLain Ward and Sameh El Dahan of Egypt, in third. “He (Ward) has been beating me all week. I think he’s won every class. I hate sitting there and waiting for him and all the other riders to come after me; that’s not my favourite thing. I prefer to go last and know that it’s over.”
Uceko, the grey 13-year-old Dutch warmblood, has been a terrific partner for Farrington for a while now and that special bond was quite evident on Sunday with the double clears over the two rounds.
“I’m thrilled with him,” the 33-year-old out of Wellington, Fla., praised. “He took a long break. He’s always gone great here at Spruce Meadows and my plan all along was to build him up and jump him in the last grand prix. Last week he had a good win in a big class, he was actually ready to go sooner than what I thought. He feels better than he even did last year and I look forward to him for the rest of the summer as well.”
If anyone was going to catch those two, it would have been Ward, who added Pan American wins on Friday and Saturday to the six he had already accumulated over the summer series. He and Rothchild came oh so close, posting a clean time of 36.66.
“Catching Kent is always difficult,” the Brewster, N.Y., rider commented. “We have an ongoing battle that I think we both love and hate. I knew his horse had a bigger stride than mine today. He got me on the stride last week in a big class so I was a little bit concerned. The horse performed great. I’m certainly a little disappointed not to win, but this is a worthy victor and if I have to lose to anybody, I don’t mind losing to him.”
A first time competitor at Spruce Meadows this year, El Dahan was also clear in the jump-off on his mare Sumas Zorro, with a 37.29 clocking.
“I had a good summer season here and my horses jumped fantastic,” said El Dahan, who will compete for Egypt at the upcoming WEG. “She (Sumas Zorro) has a heart of gold and all you can ask from a horse.”
The Y2 Award for the Pan American tournament — a new honour handed out to young riders who exemplify sportsmanship along with top results, initiated by local competitors and sisters Kara and Bretton Chad — was given to Calgary’s Shaine Sotski.
Calgary Herald - July 13, 2014