ASTORINO ANNOUNCES WESTCHESTER COUNTY AS HOME OF
43rd ANNUAL AMERICAN GOLD CUP EQUESTRIAN COMPETITION
10,000 visitors expected to directly add at least $6 million to local economy
Signature event for “Meet Me in Westchester” tourism campaign
Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino in partnership with the American Gold Cup today announced that one of the most iconic equestrian events in the world of International Show Jumping will be held at Old Salem Farm in North Salem Sept. 11-15, 2013. The event is expected to attract 10,000 people to Westchester County, directly adding at least $6 million to the local economy.
The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and JustWorld International have been selected as this year’s charitable partners.
“The American Gold Cup is one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions in the U.S., and I can think of no better place for this event than the stunning Old Salem Farm,” Astorino said. “Westchester County is eager to welcome all the riders and fans. The county already has a long and proud history of equestrian sports, so it’s a perfect fit. Plus, beyond the event, we have top hotels, restaurants, arts and other attractions to keep visitors engaged all week long. It’s a perfect reason to say, ‘Meet Me in Westchester.’”
The American Gold Cup will be a signature event of the “Meet Me in Westchester” tourism campaign, launched as part of the county’s Office of Tourism & Film. Westchester’s tourism industry is a major economic driver for the county, adding $1.7 billion to the economy and supporting 24,000 jobs.
The American Gold Cup is working with NBC Sports Network to produce a broadcast of the event on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 4:30 p.m. EST. The broadcast will be available to more than 80 million homes, highlighting Westchester and Old Salem Farm as premier equestrian sports destinations.
Astorino was joined for the announcement at Old Salem Farm by members of the American Gold Cup Team, including two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward of nearby Brewster, N.Y. Also on hand were invited guests from the tourism, hospitality, equestrian, media and other local industries, who were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the newly renovated farm.
“Over the course of five days, the American Gold Cup will feature 600 horses and 300 riders from Europe, South America, Canada and across the United States,” said Frank Madden, Old Salem Farm head trainer and American Gold Cup organizer. “This is truly a signature event for the equestrian community, and Old Salem Farm is proud to host all the great athletes, spectacular horses and supportive fans.”
The highlight of the event will be the $200,000 American Gold Cup Grand Prix. The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), which is the international governing body of equestrian sports, has designated the competition as a CSI 4*-W World Cup Qualifier, making the event of utmost importance for riders aspiring to compete at the 2014 World Cup Finals in Lyon, France.
“Last year it was an all-star cast,” said Michael Morrissey, president of Stadium Jumping and American Gold Cup organizer. “We wanted everybody to come here and have a good experience and go away thinking this was the climax of the season. We feel we really accomplished that. This year, we are particularly excited to share the American Gold Cup in this incredible venue with television viewers across the country.”
In 2012, the North American Riders Group voted both Old Salem Farm and the American Gold Cup as among the “Top 25” equestrian shows in North America. The farm’s recently completed $30 million renovation further helped to establish the property as a first-class show facility, highlighted by its pristine Grand Prix field.
Old Salem Farm is located only 45 minutes north of Manhattan, with three train stations only 10 minutes to the show with direct lines from Grand Central.
“It’s one of the great competitions of our country,” said Ward, winner of the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Gold Medals for the U.S. Equestrian Team for Show Jumping. “A lot of people have been behind getting the Gold Cup to this venue because we believe what’s been done at Old Salem Farm in terms of the renovations and improvements is pretty special.”
Founded in 1970 and originally held in Cleveland, the American Gold Cup moved to Old Salem Farm in 2012, where it experienced record-breaking show entries and spectators in its inaugural year. Over the years the competition has enjoyed success in Tampa, Philadelphia and its former home for more than two decades, the Devon Horse Show grounds in Devon, Penn.
Whether on a national or local scale, the horse industry is known to have a diverse economic impact, involving agriculture, business, sport, gaming, entertainment and recreation.
In New York, the industry’s economic impact is roughly $2.4 billion, according to the American Horse Council Foundation. That doesn’t account for the off-site spending of spectators, though, which would result in an even higher figure. There are 202,000 horses statewide, over 70 percent of which are involved in showing and recreation. The industry directly supports 12,700 full-time jobs in New York, according to the 2005 report.
The American Gold Cup has selected the ASPCA and JustWorld International, which helps to provide basic education, nutrition, health, hygiene and vocational programs for children all over the globe, as this year’s charitable partners.
“The ASPCA is delighted to be selected as a charitable partner of the American Gold Cup and to be collaborating with a group of individuals that has been so incredibly proactive in supporting the ASPCA’s message of humane and responsible horsemanship,” said Valerie Angeli, senior director of equine and special projects for the ASPCA. “We look forward to working with the ASPCA’s accomplished show jumping Equine Welfare Ambassadors at the event to educate, advocate and be a voice for horses.”