All eyes were on the up-and-coming horses of the future in the Rolex Stadium today as they vied for winning honors in the 7 & 8-Year-Old Jumpers and the 6-Year-Old Jumpers. Chris Ewanouski captured the first blue ribbon with his 8-year-old mount Cortina, while amateur rider Joyce Green piloted Cassidy to the top prize in the 6-Year-Old Jumpers.
Great Britain's Richard Jeffries designed the track for the 7 & 8-Year-Old Jumpers, which yielded nine clear rounds for the first round. Emanuel Andrade was the second rider to enter the ring with Boy IV. He was the pathfinder in the jump-off, stopping the clock at a speedy 38.804 seconds to set the time to beat.
Luifer Larrazabal did not let his fellow Venezuelan hold on to the lead for long though, tackling the jump-off with G&C Close Up in a clear time of 36.524 seconds. When the jumps went up for the 8-year-old horses, Chris Ewanouski set out to show the other riders how it is done with Cortina. They easily cleared all of the obstacles in the tiebreaker, dashing across the finish line in 35.402 seconds to capture the win and relegate Larrazabal and Andrade to second and third, respectively.
"I didn't get to watch very many in the jump-off, but I made an early inside turn. I think that's where maybe I caught them a little bit," explained Ewanouski. "I also felt like I took a little bit of a chance to the skinny. It came up a little bit long and on a little bit of an angle, but she was pretty fast there."
Ewanouski continued, "We've had her for just a little over a year now. We showed her a little bit in the 7-year-olds. She is a little bit sensitive, really fast, but she's easy at the same time. We've been taking it one step at a time and trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves. I think she's really fast and careful, and I think she has all of the right parts, so I don't want to rush her. I want to take it slow and see how far we can go with her."
The young jumper classes offer Ewanouski a good opportunity to start testing how much Cortina has learned in the last year. "It's a really good division for the horses," he noted. "For her, where she was a little bit behind when we first got her, she wasn't quite ready to go right into the 7 and 8 year old classes. We did a lot of schooling classes, a lot of small 1.30m and 1.20m and just got her relaxed in the ring and treated it more like a schooling class than an actual competition. I think that's why she's doing so well now, and we can start stepping her up."
The 6-Year-Old Jumpers were up next to showcase their skills in a power and speed event. Unfortunately, the course proved to be too challenging for the young horses, and only the last to compete advanced to the speed phase. Ramiro Quintana was the first to show over the power phase without any jumping faults, but a conservative pace aboard Duplikaat would result in one time fault for second place. David Blake was next in the ring and had just a single rail during the power phase with Dinozo to capture the third place award. Besting the professionals was amateur rider Joyce Green with Cassidy, the last to show. She left each rail intact during the power phase to take home the blue ribbon prize.
"This was one of the biggest tracks that we've jumped so far," smiled Green after her win. "We got Cassidy as an unbroken 4-year-old, and my trainer, Marcelo Barros, has been great with him. He's an amazing horse. He's so amateur friendly. He handled this big course perfectly today. I was really proud of him."
As an amateur, Green enjoys working with young horses and helping to produce them. "I have two really nice 6-year-olds. I'm just excited about bringing them up from scratch and having them go really nicely for me as an amateur. I'm excited about what's to come with them."
Joyce also appreciates having the 6-Year-Old Jumpers to help prepare her mounts for the higher ranks. "I think they're amazing classes. They're perfect because they bring them along on a track to eventually, hopefully, the grand prix. Each year they ask a little bit more of them. I think for 6-year-olds this was a little bit tough today, but it was a good prep for Friday's championship class."
Joyce concluded, "Kentucky is my favorite show. The Kentucky Horse Park is beautiful; the courses are always really nice, and everyone is really nice to us. It's one of our favorite shows for sure."
The Kentucky Summer Classic will continue tomorrow with the fourth event in the Hagyard Challenge Series, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, getting underway at 6:30 p.m. The Series features seven grand-prix events that offer a $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus. On Saturday, the highlight will be the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix, sponsored by GGT Footing. For more information on the Kentucky Summer Series please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
7 & 8-Year-Old Jumpers
1 1846 CORTINA CHRIS EWANOUSKI 0 35.402
2 1361 G & C CLOSE UP LUIFER LARRAZABAL 0 36.524
3 1821 BOY IV EMANUEL ANDRADE 0 38.804
4 1193 BIALDA RAMIRO QUINTANA 0 39.663
5 1655 CASANOVA P.B. AMANDA DERBYSHIRE 0 42.906
6 1192 TUA EFELE RAMIRO QUINTANA 0 43.050
7 82 TAHITI ISLAND REBECCA CONWAY 0 43.509
8 764 SELFIE AARON VALE 0 4 37.440
1 262 CASSIDY JOYCE GREEN 0 60.374
2 1194 DUPLIKAAT RAMIRO QUINTANA 0+1 61.559
3 1954 DINOZO DAVID BLAKE 4 57.738
4 1926 CONTINENTAL KAREN MEMMEN 8 58.640
5 261 CASINO ROYAL PJ JOYCE GREEN 4+8 68.469
6 1854 IAGO JSF DAVID O'BRIEN 16 58.641
7 851 CHEERS Z KYLE TIMM 12+9 69.331
8 759 DANGER MOUSE AARON VALE 12+12 72.054
Source: Press release from Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
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