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Kris Killam and Black Diamond win $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

Saturday, 28 February 2015
HITS Ocala 2015

Kris Killam and Mandy Killam's Black Diamond win Thursday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala. Photo (c) ESI Photography.
Kris Killam and Mandy Killam's Black Diamond won Thursday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala. Photo (c) ESI Photography.

Kris Killam, of Naples, Florida, won Thursday night’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix riding his wife Mandy Killam’s 13-year-old Selle Français gelding, Black Diamond.

Killam topped a field of 32 with several riders showing on multiple horses. Ten moved on to the jump-off. Andre Thieme, of Germany, was the first to attempt the short course and set the Great American Time to Beat at 32.102 riding Seth Vallhonrat’s Cellisto. Their performance would hold up for second place. Killam went fifth in the jump-off and cleared the course in 31.098 to take a commanding lead, while Dorothy Douglas, from Flower Mound, Texas, riding S & L Farms’ S & L Elite, went sixth with another clear in 32.285 to fit in behind Killam and Thieme for third.

Kristen VanderVeen of St. Charles, Illinois, took fourth and fifth place. VanderVeen claimed fourth on Bull Run's Faustino de Tili, who went eighth in the jump-off and finished in 32.530, and fifth on Bull Run’s Eternal, who went second in the jump-off, after Thieme, and completed the round in 32.702. Both of VanderVeen’s rides are owned by Bull Run Jumpers, LLC.Killam said of his ride, “I was happy for my horse tonight. I had the fastest time in Sunday’s Grand Prix but I let my horse down by pulling on the reins [which perhaps led to his four faults in that jump-off]. This time I went forward. The turnback to the green oxer was hard for me but the last line rode well. The course was straight forward for the first time showing under the lights.”

Second-place winner Thieme was happy for Cellisto’s owner Vallhonrat and praised his horse, “He is a championship horse. I am so happy for my friend Seth.”

The lights Thursday night in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium lit up Brazilian course designer Anderson Lima’s 15-effort Grand Prix. Before the class, Lima described his course, saying, “It’s a long course, but they have plenty of places they can go to cut the time. There are no tricks. I would like to have about ten clean.” He got exactly what he wanted as ten advanced to the jump-off.

“Anderson Lima is my favorite course designer,” VanderVeen said. “He’s built a little in Colorado where I’m from and I’ve always enjoyed his courses.”

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