Returning to New Vocations at Mereworth Farm for the second year, the Real Rider Cup welcomed 26 riders and hundreds of spectators for a lively and entertaining evening of show jumping competition for charity. Created by Anita Motion, the Real Rider Cup 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.
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 Godolphin, Bonne Chance, a 1/ST Racing team lead by Aaron Gryder, Steve Asmussen, Adena Springs, Richard Mandella, Calumet Farm, and Margaux Farm. Noteworthy horses included the first son of Zenyatta, Cozmic One, with Hidden Brook Farm’s Sergio de Sousa in the tack, and international graded stakes winner, The Lir Jet (IRE) piloted by Aisling Carroll. Owners LNJ Foxwoods were on hand to see MGSW United, adorned in his 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf saddle towel, take on the course with Madison Scott. Retired champion jockey turned aftercare and retraining advocate, Rosie Napravnik, led a course walk for riders and “the voice of Fasig-Tipton,” Terence Collier, served as emcee, providing color commentary.
Awards were given for individuals and teams who hit the board, placing Win, Place, or Show, as well as a Highest Earner Award for the individual with the highest fundraising total at the end of the evening. The defending 2022 RRC Lexington Champion Jesslyn Woodall clinched the win aboard her own Storm Threat, who had won his Young Event Horse class earlier that day. Jesslyn is pointing “Ted” to the Thoroughbred Makeover in October.
Individual results: Win: Jesslyn Woodall on Storm Threat; Place: Keira Nygaard on Judge Johnny; Show: Jocelyn Brooks on Perpetual Optimism
Team Results: Win: Backside Beauties (Keira Nygaard, Brooke Baker, Lucy Hoeppner, Kara Lee, Sophie Doyle); Place: Margaux Farm (Louise Gillam, Natasia Lind, Jesslyn Woodall, Jennifer Reisenbichler); Show: 1/ST Racing (Jennifer O’Neill, Jhett Jenkins, Aaron Gryder, Anne Czerwonka, Marina Cable
Having raised over $17,000, junior rider Aurea Dove took home the honor of Highest Earner, eclipsing the record previously held by her mother, Larkspur Carroll.
As the evening wound to a close, total fundraising activity surpassed $78,000, setting the event within striking distance of achieving $500,000 raised for aftercare since its inception. “When the event began in 2017, none of us could have imagined it would have the impact or touch as many lives as it has,” said founder Anita Motion. “We’re honored and humbled to be the stewards of this phenomenal cause and it brings us so much joy to hear members of our community say that the Real Rider Cup is on their bucket list. We look forward to seeing more of you at the Fair Hill leg in September!”
With the second leg of the Real Rider Cup set to be held at Fair Hill September 15th, there is still plenty of time to get involved. Rider registration is open through September 8th with a variety of sponsorship packages available.
View full results and learn more at www.therealridercup.com.