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Ballard flies to win Evergate Stables’ CSI3* $40,000 New York Welcome Stake at 2024 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows

Saturday, 11 May 2024
CSI3* Old Salem 2024

Photo © © SEL Photography. Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Hero won Evergate Stables' $40,000 New York Welcome Stake on Friday. Photo © SEL Photography.


Edited press release from Old Salem Farm




After just making the 74-second time allowed to post the slowest initial round in Evergate Stables’ $40,000 New York Welcome Stake, Erynn Ballard (CAN) flew through the timers for the fastest jump-off in Friday’s featured class at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, clinching the win aboard Hero in 34.67 seconds.

Course designer Alan Wade presented 47 entries representing nine countries with a technical 16-effort, 1.50m track in CSI3* Evergate Stables’ $40,000 New York Welcome Stake on Friday, with 17 pairs putting in faultless rounds to advance to the jump-off. Ballard was well within the time allowed on her first mount – Rein Family LLC’s 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Nikka VD Bisschop – but barely squeaked through with Ilan Ferder’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.  

Photo © SEL Photography. "This is our first big win together, and I think it proves to everyone how great he really is," Ballard said about her horse Hero. Photo © SEL Photography.

“I rode the Welcome Stake first on Nikka; she also made it to the jump-off, but we chose to withdraw and save her for Sunday’s Grand Prix,” Ballard said. “There were a few things I wanted to do to improve my personal ride, and in doing that I might have wasted a bit of time with Hero. Today, I had luck on my side, and everyone needs a little luck. To finish in 74 seconds on a 74 time allowed, I don’t think that happens very often, but I can do better next time."

“I’m really just working on being faster overall,” she added. “I get third a lot, but I just won a 3* Grand Prix in Wellington going as fast as I think I possibly have ever ridden. I think there’s something to be said about getting second or third if you don’t go as fast as you can. And I’ve been with Hero long enough that I need more firsts than thirds. He’s been a great horse in my string. He was really fast over the first few jumps today; I kept going to the combination and made sure I never slowed up going to the last jump. This is our first big win together, and I think it proves to everyone how great he really is.”

Photo © SEL Photography. Jessica Mendoza (GBR) and In The Air finished second in the New York Welcome Stake. Photo © SEL Photography.

Ballard’s 34.67-second jump-off was one of only two rounds to catch McLain Ward’s (USA) early time to beat. Ward piloted Sport Four USA LLC’s 10-year-old C.D.E. gelding Quimi Del Maset (Quasimodo Z x Indret Del Masset) through the timers in 34.91 seconds, which ultimately earned the pair third place. Jessica Mendoza (GBR) took second aboard In The Air (Air Jordan Z x Indoctro), her own 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, on a double-clear score of 34.90 seconds, just 0.01 seconds ahead of Ward. 

“New York as a state has always been very good to me,” said Ballard, who also brought home a $2,000 flight voucher from Horseflight for her victory. “I’ve always had a lot of success here. I’ve done great in the Hamptons; I had a super New York Masters post during one of my first years riding for Ilan. I always feel relaxed coming here; I always feel lucky and get the results. And is there a better ring to show in than the Old Salem Farm International Arena?”


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