Articles: Press Release
Schuyler Riley Makes History with Chrysler Classic Win at 2005 North
American at Spruce Meadows
PHOTO CREDIT: Schuyler Riley down the bank at the Chrysler Classic.
Photo by Peter Llewellyn. Split Seconds Photography.
Kenneth Kraus for Phelps Media Group, Inc.
Mason Phelps, Jr. of Phelps Media Group, Inc. at (561)
753-3389 or at email@example.com
Wellington, Fl - July 12 - For the second year in a row, Schuyler Riley
and Opus Sept won the $175,000 Chrysler Classic at the North American at
Spruce Meadows in Canada. Riley defended her title successfully,
topping Athens Olympic Gold Medalist Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil for the
win. With this unprecedented victory, Riley galloped her way into the
show jumping record books as well.
In addition to being the only woman to ever win the Chrysler Classic,
Riley becomes the first back to back winner of this challenging event in
the fifteen years it has been held at the North American, CSI*****. The
only other horse and rider combination to post consecutive victories in
this demanding derby challenge was Canadian superstar Ian Millar and his
legendary equine partner Big Ben. Millar's wins came when the class was
held as part of The National show in the late '80s.
"It's a dream come true," exclaimed Riley. "It's incredible. Ian Millar
has always been an idol of mine, ever since I was young and aspiring to
do grand prix classes. My very first World Cup Final I ever attended was
in Tampa in 1988. I was in the amateur jumping at the Winter Equestrian
Festival and Big Ben was there for the World Cup and I was just in
complete awe, so to be even mentioned in the same category as that horse
is like a dream come true," she said.
The test of the Chrysler Classic is exhausting and demanding. In the
fifteen years since the Chrysler Classic has been held as part of the
North American, there have only been a total of nine clear performances
over the grueling derby course. Riley has registered two of those nine
fault free rides with Opus Sept. "He has the scope and the bravery and
at the same time, the ride-ability and carefulness," noted Riley. "It's
a very delicate balance to get a horse that's careful enough to clear
the sunken road and brave enough to go through it too. He has that
delicate combination that makes him unbelievable to ride in a derby. I
can trust him," said Riley. "And because I can trust him, I can be more
accurate. When you're riding a horse just to get him over one of those
types of jumps, then you sacrifice accuracy. I don't have to do that
with Opus Sept."
Riley said that her love for this kind of competition came from her
early days in the sport. "My excitement for this kind of jumping started
with the International Jumping Derby in Newport. I grew up in that area
and that event was one of the most exciting events in all of grand prix
show jumping," Riley asserted. "I was drawn to that kind of event. I
love the international jumping and the Nations Cups, but the derbies are
a different kind of pressure. It's a more physically demanding challenge
and that changes things up a bit and keeps everything much more
interesting," she said.
Winning the event in 2004 gave Riley an added boost of confidence going
into this year's edition. "I think I go into every competition 'wanting
it,'" she said. "I think you tend to feel you have a greater chance of
success once you've accomplished something, once you've won something.
You go in with a great confidence and you just have to hope things go
your way and you get a little lucky. If you know you can do it," Riley
recognized, "then you go in knowing it's possible to do a repeat."
Riley was forced into the tiebreaker when Athens Olympic Gold Medalist
and three time World Cup Champion Rodrigo Pessoa, produced the second
clear round of the day. She said that luck was on her side in the
deciding round. "When I pulled a rail in the jump-off, I was pretty sure
I'd be second. Rodrigo's a brilliant rider and his horse had won the
derby here in the spring with a clear round in the jump-off," noted
Riley. "I wouldn't have been disappointed with that. In fact, I'd have
been thrilled, because I knew we'd given it our best shot. I'm
obviously more thrilled with the way things worked out. But, I think
that's where the luck comes in," she said. "Things do have to go your
way. It has to be your day."
Over 255,000 spectators attended this year's North American at the
Calgary, Alberta, Canada show grounds. "It was almost a full house on
Sunday," said Riley. "We had perfect weather this week. I think Spruce
Meadows had the worst weather in their history for the first two weeks,
so when we got the great weather this week, the crowds really came out.
I could hear them screaming for me as I headed down the home stretch in
the first round. It was just electric," smiled Riley. "Very exciting.
"This was a particularly satisfying win for me. My plan going in, with
Opus having jumped a lot already this year, was to only do the two
derbies: the Shell Cup and then the Chrysler Classic. I jumped him in
one class this week and then Sunday. I love it when a plan works out
like that," she laughed.
Riley has placed in the Chrysler Classic in five of the past six years.
In addition to the two wins, she was eighth in 2003 with Ilian and third
and fifth with Stormchaser in 2002 and 2001.
Riley will spend the next month in Europe beginning with the new CSI****
at Gelderland in Holland and then on to three weeks in Valkenswaard,
also in the Netherlands.
Results - $175,000 Chrysler Chrysler Classic - 1.60M International Ring
Table A, 655.2.1 1 Jump Off, Art 238.2.2- Spruce Meadows North American
1. Opus Sept Schuyler Riley (USA) 0/4 38.48
2. Richmont Park Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) 0/ retired
3. Special Ed Jill Henselwood (CAN) 4 135.09
4. Hilton Flight Richard Spooner (USA) 4 142.37
5. Quriel Norman Dello Joio (USA) 4 146.47
6. Oasis McLain Ward (USA) 5 150.07
7. Youp Leslie Howard (USA) 8 137.10
8. Robinson Richard Spooner (USA) 8 139.79
9. Judgement Beezie Madden (USA) 8 139.93
10. His Horse Hap Hansen (USA) 8 146.22