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Rolex Stadium was alive Thursday as the nation’s top horse and rider combinations gathered to compete beneath the lights in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic during the Kentucky Summer Classic.
Kaitlin Campbell and Rocky W topped tonight’s seven-horse jump-off with a double-clear effort. Campbell also was the last to compete with Grand Pleasure, riding to the only other double-clear score and nabbing the second place prize.
Forty-eight riders tackled Thursday’s opening track, designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio.
Aaron Vale and Admiral Clover posted a clear first round as the sixth in the order, setting a need for accuracy as the other riders mimicked his efforts.
Christian Heineking and River of Dreams were the next to jump clear. Five other riders were able to navigate the track, including Kaitlin Campbell and Megan Nusz who qualified with multiple mounts, moving into the jump-off.
For the shortened course, they began over a single vertical and made a beeline for the SSG Riding Gloves standalone oxer before making a very tight left turn to the first oxer and heading into the oxer-vertical double combination. The riders then galloped up to a large oxer set on the outside, and upon landing made a right turn to fence 16, a single vertical that proved trickier than expected.
Aaron Vale was the first to attempt the shortened course with Admiral Clover.The pair the fifth place finish, incurring four-faults for a refusal, as well as an additional six seconds added to their time.
The vertical proved tricky for other riders, too. Megan Nusz and Cilantro and Heineking with River of Dreams found fault at the vertical, riding to the seventh and sixth place finishes, respectively.
Kaitlin Campbell and her 14-year-old Rocky W posted the first double-clear effort as the fourth to return. She piloted Rocky W to a finish in 43.090 seconds.
Nusz returned to the ring aboard Dynamo. The duo tripped the timers in 39.561 seconds, the fastest time of the night, but rail over the final oxer earned them the third place finish.
Federico Sztyrle and Crossfire 10 finished in the fourth place finish with the only other four-fault total in a time of 43.545 seconds.
Campbell returned to the Rolex Stadium aboard Grand Pleasure, riding to the second place in only 47.367 seconds with the only other double-clear effort.
Thursday night’s class was the fourth of seven grand prix events that make up the Hagyard Challenge Series. Following the final event in the series, a cash prize of $45,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series for the Leading Rider Bonus.
The Small Junior 15 and Under Hunters, Small 16-17 Junior Hunters, Large 15 and Under Junior Hunters and Large 16-17 Junior Hunters also competed at the Horse Park Thursday.
Vivian Yowan swept the Large 15 and Under Junior Hunters with Parker.
She rode two mounts to the peak of the standings in the Small 15 and Under Junior Hunters, securing the day’s top scores aboard Charming and Friday Night. Atop Charming Yowan rode to the blue ribbon in the first over fences. She also showed Friday Night to the second place award just behind Charming, as well as the fourth place award in the second round.
Meredith Darst rode Un Noetzel to notable ribbons this morning, picking up the first place honors during the second round, and riding to the third place finish behind Yowan in the first round. Quigley, owned by Sweet Oak Farm of Wellington, FL, with Brett Burlington in the irons took the third and fourth place ribbons in today’s division.
Katherine Strauss and Rapunzel also rode to good scores in the Large 15 and Under Junior Hunter division, taking home the second place ribbon over the first course.
Abbygale Funk rode to the third place ribbon with CR Carolato II. Kelly Arani with Stars Go Blue earned the second place award during the second over fences.
Shawn Casady rode Capstone during the Large 16-17 Junior Hunters to the first place ribbon during the first over fences, as well as picking up the second place aboard Savant.
Kelcie Brophy guide Cussini to the third place award. Casady also took the first place ribbon with Savant in the second round, guiding Capstone to the third. Brophy guided a second mount, Due West to second place.
Megan Davis pilot Modern to the top awards in the Small 16-17 Junior Hunters with two first place finishes. Casady and Chromeo picked up the second place ribbon in the first round, while Kelly Joyner and Now How Z won with the third place ribbon. Casady and Chromeo were also awarded the third place award during the second round. Anna Cardelfe and Nadia also picked up the second place finish over the second course.
The Kentucky Summer Classic will continues Friday with the Junior/Amateur-Owner classes in the Rolex Stadium. The week’s highlight event will be Saturday night’s $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix, which will begin at 7:30p.m. at the Kentucky Horse Park. The local community is invited to attend kentuckyhorseshow.com.
From Phelps Media Group