NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- The 44th annual American Gold Cup began on Wednesday at North Salem’s Old Salem Farm. The cup is scheduled to run through Sunday and includes various events for jumpers.
More than 600 horses are scheduled to participate. The Cup’s Grand Prix event will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday and includes $200,000 in prize money. The prize will be split among top finishers, according to Carrie Wirth, a spokeswoman for Stadium Jumping, an event organizer.
The cup has a total of $449,500 in prize money.
The American World Cup has moved around several times since its 1970 founding, according to a provided overview. It was first held in Cleveland and was based in places including Philadelphia, Tampa and Devon, Pa. The Cup has been held in its present location since 2012.
Horses were spotted on Wednesday at two dirt fields and a Grand Prix field, which is a grass space with various jumps.
It was announced the American Gold Cup also was designated a qualifying competition for the Longines FEI World Cup Finals, scheduled to held in Las Vegas next year.
“The riders really enjoy coming here,” Wirth said.
Wirth, who called the Cup an “international event,” said participants come from countries that include Ireland, Russia and Colombia. An array of vendors also will be selling goods; Wirth said vendor space is sold out.
Westchester County has taken on a big role in connection with the Cup.
Natasha Caputo is director of Westchester County Tourism & Film, which is connected to the county executive’s office. Discussing the county’s role with the Cup, she said they support it through marketing efforts.
“It’s a great setting for spectators and visitors,” she said.
Caputo, noting the impact of tourism, called it a “$1.7 billion economic engine for the county.”
Attendance is free on weekdays, while admission for Saturday and Sunday costs $20 for adults and $15 for children who are 12 and younger. Seniors who are 65 and over also will be charged $15. Tickets can be purchased on the Cup’s website.
NBC Sports is scheduled to do a broadcast at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21.
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