Thomas John Russell, of Columbus, North Carolina, rode Karenina to victory in the inaugural $25,000 RBD Cup Grand Prix at Bruce’s Field on Saturday.
The event was part of the Aiken Fall Festival II hunter/jumper show that ends its four-day run Sunday.
Both the RBD Cup and Bruce’s Field are named for the late R. Bruce Duchossois, an Aiken resident who was a talented rider and a prominent figure in the hunter/jumper and eventing communities.
Duchossois, who died last year, bought the land that became Bruce’s Field in 2000, and he later created the Aiken Horse Park Foundation to develop the site into South Carolina’s premier equestrian facility.
Work started this past spring on phase one of the project. Five riding rings with all-weather footing and eight barns have been built so far.
“Bruce would be very proud,” said Aiken Horse Park Foundation President Jack Wetzel of Bruce’s Field’s recent transformation. “We kept it small and did it very, very well. It’s like the old-fashioned show facility that we have always wanted here. It’s not big and noisy. It has a wonderful atmosphere.”
Duchossois’ father, Richard L. Duchossois, and two sisters, Dayle Fortino and Kim Duchossois, attended the RBD Cup.
Others in the large crowd included former South Carolina Sen. Greg Ryberg and Aiken City Council members Reggie Ebner and Steve Homoki.
Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C., she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.