GLADSTONE, N.J. — May 4, 2019 — The pinnacle event of the 2019 Garden State Horse Show, the $25,000 EquiJet Grand Prix took place Saturday afternoon. The event follows the Thursday night $10,000 Ted Grant Welcome Stake, sponsored by the Spina family, won by top trainer Michael Desiderio. At the end of the evening, it was 17-year-old Carley McInerney who stole the victory aboard Cortina 200, while Sima Morgello took the reserve, and Colin Savaria rode to third.
The show has played host to world-class, USEF Premier AA-rated hunter, jumper and equitation competition since April 27 and will run through Sunday, May 5. For the first time in Garden State Horse Show history, the event was held at the iconic Hamilton Farm, which is home to the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation.
Autumn Siliato, owner of Autumn Elizabeth apparel and a junior competitor herself, started the evening off with a stunning rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and the first rider took to the USET Main Ring at precisely 5:30 p.m. In the first-round course, designed by Joseph Carnicom, 19 horse-and-rider combinations contest the track with 16 pairs clearing the timers. Of the original 19, five entries advanced to the shortened jump-off course. Ocala, Florida resident Colin Savaria was the second to enter the field aboard Felex, and the first to advance to the jump-off phase. Savaria had two entries in the prix, but opted for an early retirement with second mount, Zarco. Almost half of the class had only one downed rail come between them and a chance at a podium position.
Junior competitor Carly McInerney put in her all for what was only the second grand prix of her life. Her first was only a week ago at Princeton the previous weekend. She and her 13-year-old Holsteiner mare (Contender x K-Quannett Z) partnered together four years ago but until the past week had only competed at the High Junior height.
“It’s incredibly exciting to have just come in at this level and do so well,” McInerney said. “This mare is incredible and I couldn’t have asked her to perform any better tonight or any other time.”
McInerney was third to return to the ring but made it clear she came to win as she flew through the finish on an untouchable time of 42.066 seconds. “I knew I had to be incredibly savvy to beat the type of riders I was against tonight,” she said. “Where I was really able to get ahead of the competition was the inside turn rollback from jumps seven to nine because no one had attempted that, but I know my horse is incredible with tight turns.”
Amateur rider Sima Morgello directly followed McInerney in the return order and gave it her best effort with Double S Farm, LLC’s 8-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Andiamo x Daphne Z), Azur Van Overis Z. The duo were mere milliseconds behind McInerney and clocked in at 42.480 seconds. The result was an impressive feat for Morgello and the gelding who had never previously contested a grand prix course.
“I typically keep him in the medium amateurs to keep him confident and tonight was the first time I have ever asked for him to compete a course that size,” said Morgello. “It just felt right; he has produced fantastic results the last two weeks because he was also second, third, and fourth at the Longines Masters last week.”
“I thought the course was fantastic and riding at this facility is always such a pleasure,” she added. “I’ve started grooming for myself so it was a busy day, but luckily for me it is close to home and it’s always a show I enjoy.”
Heading first into the jump-off, Savaria put forth another clear effort with The Helios Group’s 8-year-old Warmblood gelding (Ustinov x Milexa), Felex, and cleared the timers on a total of 43.219 seconds.
“This is only the second grand prix I’ve done with him, but this has definitely been the most successful and consistent week he’s had to date,” Savaria said. “He’s still a bit green so I’ve never really ‘let the cat out of the bag’ so to speak, and I lost a little bit of ride-ability to the final fence but he has so much scope that he easily solved it.”
As for his early retirement with Zarco, Savaria says that is just part of the game, “I had a bit of a mixed day but that’s the sport. It’s not very often you get to jump a grand prix at the USET headquarters, so I made this a show I really wanted to get to and it paid off.”
Carolina Villanueva Suarez landed in the fourth-place position after faulting two rails in the jump-off, and Pablo Mejia rounded out the top five.
Course designer Joseph Carnicom said while he would have preferred to have seen several more clear rounds, he was overall pleased with the results of the track. “I knew after having 11 out of 20 horses clean in Thursday’s welcome stake, I had under-built a bit for the quality of riders we have here,” Carnicom explained. “I opted to make this course a bit more technical but I don’t feel there was any one element where riders had too much difficulty.”
Angela Jager and Cassini’s Home Run Kick Off Junior Hunters in Classic Style
Prior to the jumper takeover in the USET Main Ring, Junior Hunter riders stepped to the plate to complete their first over-fences courses including the Junior Hunter Classic round. Kinnelon, N.J. native Angela Jager once again produced fantastic trips aboard Cassini’s Home Run to secure blue ribbons in the first round as well as the classic.
Jager teamed up with the 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding shortly after he was imported from Europe. The horse was originally scouted by Garden State Horse Show sponsors, Stal de Eyckenhoeve. The pair were also the recipients of the third-place award in Tuesday’s $5,000 USHJA National Derby, presented by Eastern Hay. Morgan Munz and her own 7-year-old Westphalian gelding, Louis, picked up the second-place ribbon in the classic, while Tori Leitman and Pizzazz rounded out the top three.
The Junior Hunter competitors will make their way back to the arena on Sunday for their final classes and championship presentations. Pony hunters will also return one last time as the 2019 Garden State Horse Show comes to a close.
Final Results: $25,000 EquiJet Grand Prix at the Garden State Horse Show
Horse / Rider / R1 Time | Faults / R2 Time | Faults
1.Cortina 200 / Carley McInerney / 74.136 | 0 / 42.066 | 0
2.Azur Van Overis Z / Sima Morgello / 69.313 | 0 / 42.480 | 0
3.Felex / Colin Savaria / 73.620 | 0 / 43.219 | 0
4.Una Du Keske Z / Carolina Villanueva Suarez / 71.517 | 0 / 48.267 | 0
5.Isaura / Pablo Mejia / 77.800 | 0 / WD
6.Cristano Z / Caroline Martin / 73.335 | 0
7.Questionnaire / Pablo Mejia / 73.355 | 4
8.Vertigo Delorme / Penny Brennan / 76.350 | 4
9.Patent Pending 3E / Mira Korber / 76.382 | 4
10.Aminka / Michael Desiderio / 76.454 |
11.Ultimo / Eleanor Kunsman / 77.374 | 4
12.Dermie / Zhonghe Zhao / 78.350 | 4
EquiJet is proud to support the many horses and riders for whom it provides transportation. As one of the country’s premier equine transportation companies, EquiJet places importance on making each horse’s travel – whether to a local show, across the country or across the world – as stress-free and comfortable as possible. Services offered by EquiJet include both domestic and international air and ground travel, in addition to orchestrating airport handling, quarantine, documentation and accompanying equipment. EquiJet offers unparalleled customer service by horse people, for horse people.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the horse show community all over the world, but it is special for us when we can support a local show,” Schroeder said. “Part of EquiJet’s success can surely be attributed to the support of our friends, family and colleagues in New Jersey, and we want to do our best to repay that kindness. The Garden State Horse Show has been a historic event and we look forward to it in New Jersey for many years to come.”
For more information, please visit EquiJet.com.