The hunters made their Rolex Central Park Horse Show debut on Saturday September 26 with SBS Farms’ Jennifer Alfano and Helen Lenahan’s Miss Lucy making history by claiming the inaugural $50,000 Duchossois Cup, presented by the Gochman family and held in memory of Bruce Duchossois.
The horse show posed an unusual city setting for the hunters with fences painted in graffiti and decorated to represent elaborate New York City skylines and subway signs. Bobby Murphy was the course designer for the two-round jumping competition held in the Wollman Rink with Jimmy Torano alongside Ralph Caristo on the judge’s panel.
Alfano and Miss Lucy took a fearless early lead in the first round with a score of 88, and the pair maintained their lead after the second round with a score of 90 and an overall score of 178 to seal their victory and be the first to have their names carved on the Duchossois Cup.
“It is so exciting to be a part of this, just to be here in this atmosphere with the crowd,” Alfano said. “A really special thank you to Becky [Gochman] and Mark [Bellissimo] for putting this on. What a great day!”
Scott Stewart and Empire turned in a first-round score of 85 added to a second round effort of 87 for an overall 172 to finish in second behind Alfano, while Maggie Jayne and All Wrapped Up posted scores of 86 and 83 to close out the top three with 169.
“I think Bobby always makes a beautiful course,” Alfano said. “It’s beautiful for the spectators, and I thought it was a really nice course to ride.”
Torano added, “To bring the hunters to New York has been tremendous. I think the horses adapted really well. I think Bobby did an amazing job of using the space that he had here. What a boost for the hunters to come to New York City.”
Many riders were worried about how their horses would react to the big-city atmosphere but Alfano was always confident in Lucy.
“I knew that Lucy is fearless,” Alfano said. “She thrives in places like this, and she walked down, looked around, and went, ‘Cool, these people came to see me!’ I knew she would be great. I can jump her in any ring. She is a really special horse, and I knew this wouldn’t bother her.”
Based out of Buffalo, New York, SBS Farms’ Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano run one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and travel nationwide to compete in the nation's most prestigious horse shows.
SBS Farms, Inc. continues the proud tradition of the Saddle and Bridle Club as one of the top show stables in the Northeast. Schoellkopf is also the Executive Director of the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, which houses both The Buffalo Equestrian Center as well as SBS Farms. Built in 1922, the 160-stall facility is a historical landmark, with its unique English Tudor and Gothic-style architecture.
For more information on SBS Farms, please visit www.sbsfarms.com. For more information on the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.thebtrc.org/.