Bridgehampton, N.Y.-- Abigail McArdle rode Cosma 20 speedily around the Grand Prix Ring to win the $15,000 Merrill Lynch Speed Derby at the 40th Hampton Classic. The pair also won the $10,000 Shamrock Ventures Open Jumper on Tuesday.
McArdle, 21, of Wellington, Fla., said that she intended to win the moment she and her chestnut mare stepped into the ring. "You have to go out there and go for it, and I went for it. There were a lot of fast riders in there," she said.
McArdle was especially confident because Cosma 20 is a specialist at speed classes. "She's a speed artist. She's just naturally fast, and you don't have much choice but to go with her," said McArdle.
Shane Sweetnam added to his lead in the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge by finishing fourth on Special Linie H. That result gave him a total of 234 points, well ahead of Richie Moloney (127) and Wilton Porter (125).
Friday morning brought the $30,000 6-Year-old Young Jumpers Championships Finals and the $20,000 SHF Enterprises 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Championships Finals to their conclusions. The horses jumped three rounds over three days, and those with no jumping faults jumped off to determine the ribbon winners.
Devin Ryan, 33, of Long Valley, N.J., rode Eddie Blue to score in the 6-Year-Old Championships. This was Eddie Blue's second consecutive young jumper championship victory at the Hampton Classic, having won the 5-Year-Old Championship in 2014. Eddie Blue was one of seven horses the jump-off, and he maturely completed the final round more than a second faster than Laney and Julie Welles. Debbie Stephens rode Everest to third place.
Ryan also finished seventh aboard E-Boy W, who lowered two rails in the jump-off. "He shows how mature he is when you go gallop him in the jump-off, in the way he just studies the fences, backs himself up, slices the turns and finds the back rail off the turn. That takes a horse that wants to do it," said Ryan of Eddie Blue.
Ryan purchased the Dutch-bred Eddie Blue in Holland as a 4-year-old and sold him to owner Lori Larrabee shortly afterward. And now Ryan, who specializes in finding and developing young jumpers, is looking to develop Eddie Blue into a grand prix horse. "I knew last year that this was a horse for the future. And he does it like a horse for the future. He's a very careful horse; he's a brave horse. He has all the ingredients," said Ryan.
"You're as good as the horse that's underneath you, and when you're riding great quality like that, it makes everything seem easy," he added. "That has to be born in them. I've told Lori since day one that this one is going to go all the way. And I still believe that."
Taylor Flury of Minooka, Ill., rode Catania Saflo Z to win the 5-Year-Old Championships over Tiffany Morrissey on Carpriccio and Ronan McGuigan on Maximus. Flury also finished eighth on Carrasca Z.
Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show is available at the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com