Splitting Horse Hairs: Tenth of a Second Divides Cawley and Engle in 2018 American Gold Cup
with L.A. Sokolowski, equinista
It was a tenth of a second that felt like a lifetime to the Standing Room Only crowd that witnessed two great equestriennes — Molly Ashe Cawley and Margie Goldstein Engle — throw their hearts over the tall fences at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY, for the finale of the 2018 American Gold Cup: the $204,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup-New York CSI4*-W. For the third consecutive year the international honor went to an American rider (Cawley, of Wellington, FL) and for the second time in a row the winning effort (36.76 seconds) was delivered by a grey horse as Cawley’s 10 year-old KWPN mare, D’Arnita, followed in the steps of last year’s victory gallop by Eddie Blue, under Devin Ryan.
Sunday’s achievement marked Cawley’s first time claiming the Gold Cup title and was the biggest career win to date for D’Arnita. Earlier in the season they had posted wins at Spruce Meadows on the North American CSI5* tour and during the CSI3* Great Lakes Classic.
“We’ve been bringing D’Arnita along since she was seven. This was her biggest outing so far and I was thrilled with her,” Cawley said. “I thought she answered all the questions and really rose to the occasion. She’s a really super horse and every time she wins, it means a lot to us because she’s been a fighter and she’s just a class act. I’m super excited to have her.
“It means a lot to win a class of this magnitude,” she said. “Especially on a horse that Paul Butterworth (Louisburg Farm) and I found, and we brought along to this level. That always makes it even sweeter. She’s a mare that really wants it as bad as I do and that’s a great.”
Engle set a ferocious pace (36.85 seconds) on Irish course builder Alan Wade’s jump-off with Royce, owned by Gladewinds Partners LLC, but was doomed to three-peat her role as bridesmaid at Old Salem, having also finished second in Saturday’s $35,000 Hermès Sellier Classic and Thursday’s $35,000 Trelawny Farm Welcome Stake CSI4*. But her relentless grace under pressure, horsemanship and skill while competing in the American Gold Cup did earn Engle the M. Michael Meller Style of Riding Award: “I was thrilled with Royce. He’s been so consistent. He’s been second in the last four grand prix classes but I’m very happy with him.”
“He’ll probably bite me,” McLain Ward joked beforehand, but when it came time to retire with honor his beloved old partner, Sagamore Farms’ Rothchild in the center of the OSF grass arena, there was ‘nary a dry eye to be had, including by newly-crowned WEG Team Gold medalist. In their spectacular career together Ward and Rothchild added to Team USA medal counts, most notably through Individual Gold and Team Bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Elite Equestrian Magazine was proud to again be a media partner of the American Gold Cup, one of only seven events that compose the East Coast division of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League, and a qualifier for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, April 3-7, 2019.