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One-two finish for Molly Ashe Cawley in Great Lakes Classic

Saturday, 11 August 2018
CSI3* Great Lakes Equestrian Festival/Williamsburg 2018

Photo (c) Diana Hadsall Photography. Molly Ashe Cawley and D'Arnita. Photo (c) Diana Hadsall Photography.

On Friday afternoon, Molly Ashe Cawley of the United States claimed the $35,000 Great Lakes Classic CSI3* aboard D'Arnita at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival(GLEF). After previously holding the lead with her second mount qualified for the jump-off, Cat Ballou, Cawley returned on D'Arnita to best her first time by one second to earn both first and second place honors.

"D'Arnita is naturally a faster horse than Cat Ballou, who's a big horse. He's great in wide, open spaces. There were quite a few really tight turns in this jump-off, both to the right, which hasn't, in the past, been [Cat Ballou's] strong suit so I was really impressed with how he actually handled the turns. Everything just came right up out of stride. He's got such a big step and was able to do one less to the last than most others did. With D'Arnita, I was trying to be clever and outrun [Cat Ballou]. I almost shot myself in the foot at fence four in the jump-off because I turned back and I was like, 'Oh boy, there is no distance.' She fixed it for me. She wanted to win today," the winner said about her jump-off strategy. 

The first round course, built by Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt, saw nine out of 46 finish faultlessly to advance to the jump-off. With eight electing to return for the tie-breaking round, only four completed the class double-clear.

The early clear pathfinder was Peter Leone (USA) riding his first of two mounts in the jump-off, Capito Z, owned by Capito Group LLC. They set the pace to beat at 44.30 seconds.

However, his lead was short-lived as Peter Lutz (USA) followed Leone with another clear round on Gallagher/Meller Sport Horses' Camillo VDL, stopping the clock two seconds faster in 42.33 seconds to take over the lead.

The top spot on the leaderboard continued to change hands as Cawley produced the next clear round with Louisburg Farm's Cat Ballou, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, in 41.29 seconds.

Cawley held her lead until she returned again with D'Arnita, also owned by Louisburg Farm. As second to last in the jump-off order-of-go, and already in the first place position, she embraced the 10-year-old KWPN mare's competitive spirit and naturally quick pace to finish with another blazing fast round in 40.63 seconds, garnering them the win and pushing her round with Cat Ballou into second place. Lutz rounded out the top three, while Leone took home fourth place.

"We got her when she was 7. [Elizabeth] Johnson and Louisburg Farm bought her and she's just been an amazing partner and competitor in the sport so far. I'm really excited about her future. I can't say enough good things about her. D'Arnita's just quick. She's handy, she's savvy and she always looks for the jumps so you can really whip back on a vertical or oxer without too much concern because she's always eyeing it right up," Cawley says about her winning mare D'Arnita. 

Cawley and D'Arnita achieved another top result at GLEF during Week V in the $35,000 East Wind Farms Welcome Stake CSI3*, where they finished in the same time as Mexico's Santiago Lambre and Ibabco to tie for third place.

The 2018 GLEF will conclude on Sunday, Aug. 12, at the Flintfields Horse Park at 2 p.m. with the highly anticipated $100,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*. 

Source: Press release from Great Lakes Equestrian Festival // Photo (c) Diana Hadsall Photography. 

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