Real Rider Cup welcomed 30 horse and rider combinations along with hundreds of spectators to New Vocations at Mereworth Farm Saturday, July 9th for an evening of lively competition and entertainment. Created by Anita Motion, the charity show jumping competition brings together personalities from across the breeding and racing industry to increase awareness and raise funds for Thoroughbred aftercare, with each rider pledging to raise at least $1,000.
Offered for the first time in Lexington, the racing community embraced the Real Rider Cup concept in phenomenal fashion, nearly doubling the event’s previous fundraising record, bringing in over $90,000 and counting. Riders, mounted on off-track Thoroughbreds and wearing the silks of their employers, colleagues, and clients contended a winding course of fences with the fastest clear rounds taking home top honors. Connections and institutions represented included WinStar, Godolphin, Stonestreet, Pin Oak, Lane’s End, Bonne Chance, Airdrie, Stone Farm, BloodHorse, a 1/ST Racing team lead by Aaron Gryder, Churchill Downs, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, R. Brisset Racing, an entire team headed up by Rosie Napravnik, and more. Noteworthy horses included the first son of Zenyatta, Cozmic One, with Hidden Brook Farm’s Sergio DeSousa in the tack, 5* event horse Sound Prospect, piloted by John Ennis, and Discovery Stakes (G3) winner Sticksstatelydude expertly ridden by Kristin VanMeter. “The voice of Fasig-Tipton,” Terence Collier served as emcee, providing color commentary.
Awards were given for individual results, as well as teams (riders were given the option of forming their own team or to be assigned to one based on their industry background).
Individual results: Win: Jesslyn Woodall on Lead Player, Place: Keira Nygaard on Judge Johnny, Show: Tara Coombs on Baptizo
Team Results: Win: Team Blood-Horse (Woodall, Ennis, and Gash), Place: Team Breeding & Bloodstock (Nygaard, de Sousa, and Brooks), Show: Team Off-Track Sporthorses (Napravnik, Crow, Swirsky, Buckberry, and Czerwonka)
“We are totally overwhelmed by the response to the Lexington event,” said Real Rider Cup founder Anita Motion. “It is so apparent that retraining and aftercare are at the forefront of people’s minds and we are incredibly grateful to all the riders and sponsors that worked so hard to make the show possible and to all that came to cheer them on. Lexington really threw down the gauntlet, and we’re excited to return to our home in Fair Hill to see how the mid-Atlantic region will respond.”
With the second leg of the Real Rider Cup to be held at Fair Hill September 16th, the games have just begun as there is still plenty of time to get involved. Rider registration is open through September 9th with a variety of sponsorship packages are available.