Lexington, KY – August 3, 2011 – Early thunderstorms could not stop the exciting jumper action in the Rolex Stadium for the opening day of the Kentucky Summer Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park. This afternoon, riders had the opportunity to compete in the 1.40m Open Jumper speed class and the 1.35m Open Jumpers. Angel Karolyi led the way in the 1.40m Open Jumpers aboard long-time partner Galant, while Michael Morrissey sped to victory in the 1.35m Open Jumpers, completing the fastest double clear effort with Vorst.
Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela designed today’s technical tracks in the Rolex Stadium. For the 1.40m speed class, riders had to show over a wall fence, a liverpool, an oxer-vertical double combination, and a vertical-oxer double combination. Only six horse and rider combinations were able to be speedy and tidy, leaving all the rails intact and tripping the timers without fault.
Christian Heineking was the first on course during today’s 1.40m Open Jumper speed class, and he set the pace with a clean effort in 77.187 seconds aboard NKH Barbosa, who would eventually place fifth. Michael Tokaruk quickly upped the ante with a fault-free round in 74.409 seconds riding Gama Righter Z, and eventually taking home the fourth place award.
Angel Karolyi and Galant, owned by McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, were only the third horse and rider combination to enter the ring during today’s 18-horse competition, but they easily jumped to the top of the leaderboard. The talented rider guided his nimble mount over each obstacle, and with each rail intact they crossed the finish line in 70.183 seconds to eventually earn the winning title.
“I was just happy to be back in the ring with Galant,” said Karolyi. “I just spent the last two weeks in Ecuador, so it was fun to ride him again. He will be doing the 1.40m all week because it is his specialty. Today, I thought I pulled a little bit in some spots, and I slipped in one turn so I had to add one. There was definitely a space to beat me, but I was lucky because the faster horses had a rail down.”
Karolyi has been showing Galant for four years, since he started his partnership with trainer Andrea King. “I have had a lot of success with Galant,” he noted. “He is just a great horse; he knows his job and he’s taught me a lot. I cannot thank McLain Ward and his team enough for letting me have such a wonderful horse.”
Max Amaya made an effort to catch Karolyi’s time with El Capricho Bonjour, but after breaking the beam at 80.985 seconds the duo took home the sixth place prize. Chloe Field and Luxtria Van T Gelutt Z also made a dash for the cash and left each fence standing, but their time of 74.024 seconds would only be good enough for third. The final rider in the ring was Derek Petersen and he very nearly took over the lead with Via Dolorosa. The pair did not accrue any penalties and tripped the timers at 70.349 seconds, just two-tenths away from Karolyi for the second place award.
Earlier in the day, riders had the opportunity to showcase their mounts during the 1.35m Open Jumper class with 21 entries. The first round was very similar to the 1.4m Open Jumper class, but for the jump-off riders had to show over the vertical-oxer double combination with a sharp left turn to slice a new vertical. They then galloped straight to a second vertical, before making a sharp right turn to a new oxer and speeding through the timers over the final obstacle.
Michael Morrissey and Vorst, recently purchased as of last week by Mrs. E. H. Redman of Paris, KY, proved to be unstoppable during today’s class. With a clear first round they quickly advanced to the jump-off where they picked up a very quick gallop, made sharp turns, and took all the inside options. The duo left each fence intact and broke the beam in a stunning 35.556 seconds to garner the winning title.
“My ride today was supposed to just be a warm-up class for the big Hagyard Grand Prix tomorrow night, but the horse is so naturally fast that I decided to go for it because he covers the ground so quickly,” explained Morrissey. “Vorst was able to win that class quite easily, so we went ahead and went for it. He’s a little horse and he is quite quick off the ground, but he also has a giant stride and he is able to lead off of the stride and be quick on his feet.
Morrissey continued: “He is naturally a forward moving horse, so during the warm-up I was being patient because it was the first class of the week for us. I gave him a nice school, so he felt very confident and comfortable and I went in there with expectations to do well and he did. I feel great and we are ready for tomorrow night!”
Debbie Stephens took home the second and third place honors during today’s event aboard Swagger and FYI, owned by owned by Centennial Farm of Palmetto, FL, respectively. She showed FYI first and completed the short course in 39.287 seconds. Stephens then had an even better round aboard Swagger, showing over the jump-off in a clear time of 37.103 seconds.
The fourth place prize went to junior rider Katherine Strauss, who showed Chellando Z, to a double clear effort in 40.585. Christoph Schrodeder was close on her heels aboard Balette, owned by GK Performance Horses, LLC of Andersonville, TN, earning the fifth place ribbon after stopping the clock at 41.893 seconds with all the rails intact.
Abigail McArdle and Jordan Siegel each completed clear first rounds with their mounts Bravoman, owned by Old Barrington, LLC of Barrington, IL, and Rival Du Point Du Jour, owned by Castle Point Farm, LLC of Collierville, TN, but one rail for McArdle and a pair for Siegel placed them sixth and seventh, respectively.
At the end of the day, Karolyi concluded, “I love it at the Kentucky Horse Shows. Hugh Kincannon and the Murphys do a great job. I love the footing, it is unbelievable to have the footing in such good condition after such a large amount of rain this morning.”
Tomorrow, the jumper action will continue in the Rolex Stadium with the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, where riders will compete for valuable points towards the $45,000 Leading Rider Bonus. The Kentucky Summer Classic’s other highlight event will be Saturday night’s $40,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix. Next week, the 2011 USEF Pony Finals will take center stage, followed by the Bluegrass Festival Classic and the KHJA Horse Show.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
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