Lexington, KY - August 5, 2011 - There was nothing but sunshine at the Kentucky Horse Park for the third day of the Kentucky Summer Classic. Today, talented horse and rider combinations competed at the Rolex Stadium during the High and Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper classes. Taking home the blue ribbon in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class was Christina Kelly aboard Creata Van Ten Biesen, posting the target time for the jump-off as the first duo to compete in the class. Michael Murphy mirrored her success aboard Ultrafox in the Low Junior Jumper class, claiming the blue with no pair coming near his jump-off time.
Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela used the many of the same obstacles from last night's $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class today in the Rolex Stadium. The obstacles included a liverpool, two vertical-oxer double combinations, and a vertical-vertical double combination. For the jump-off, riders began with a single vertical bending to a single oxer bending to the vertical with a turn to a single oxer. Riders then faced the vertical-oxer combination with a left rollback to the single oxer finishing the jump-off with the yellow-and-white-striped vertical.
Twenty-four horse and rider combinations attempted the first round in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers; however, sixteen succeeded into the jump-off with an amazing eleven riders going double clean. Christina Kelly was the first to do so with Creata Van Ten Biesen, owned by Diamond Edge Farm of Nicholasville, KY, setting the jump-off target time from the start at 36.864 seconds.
"It felt great to be the first one in, I was hoping she would get into the jump-off, and once she did, we just went fast and clear," described Kelly. "It was intense watching everyone try and get our time, one girl was really close and I was a little bit nervous, but it worked out and I was so happy to win!"
Kelly was referring to Sarah Sturges and Kick AZ of Sunbury, OH. Their time of 37.492 seconds was close, but only managed to land them the second place honors. "My plan for the jump-off was a nice smooth ride, but she was just so excited about the jump-off that I let her with her natural excitement and used it to our advantage," explained Kelly.
Another reason Kelly believes that she and Creata were so successful around the course was due to how smooth the course itself was designed to work. The duo left out two strides at the beginning of the jump-off, and then rolled back to jump 13, the single oxer, which gave a couple of the other horse and rider combinations trouble. "She's really smart, especially considering that she likes to look where she is going. I knew I could shave off time by turning quickly, trusting she would be looking for it already."
Third place honors went to Quintos 2 piloted by Lucille Oken and owned by Berkley Stables of Charlottesville, VA. The pair sliced turns and went double clean; however, their time of 40.115 seconds could not catch Kelly's blazing pace. Following closely behind with a time of 40.387 seconds, Niki Martin of Carmel, IN, and her stallion Hobby De La Cense, who snagged the fourth place award. Gabrielle Bausano and Ubico H of New York, NY were awarded the fifth place honors with a time of 40.920 seconds, going double clear. Even though every rider attempted to gain enough speed, Kelly and Creata managed to keep the target time in place and finish with the top honors.
The talented duo has been working together for four years, and although this is Kelly's last year to compete as a junior, she plans on going to Europe. "If I stay here I'll just do the regular amateur stuff, but over there it I can compete as a young rider since I am originally from England and ride for Ireland since I am half-Irish," said Kelly. "It would be a new experience to compete in the European Young Riders, which will be held in Austria next year."
Kelly is based in Nicholasville, KY, so the Kentucky Horse Park is one of her favorite venues. "I love it here so much, I think it is great for the horses with the field and it has an amazing facility especially after everything they did for WEG," smiled Kelly. "Everything is so well put together here, the stabling is always awesome, and it is always perfect."
The Low Junior Jumpers were all about accuracy as the fourth rider, Gabriela Mershad and HH Cadans Z posted the first to go double clear in the division. The need for accuracy changed once Michael Murphy and his mount Ultrafox, owned by Hampton Farms of Wellington, FL, triumphed in the jump-off with a time of 34.755 seconds. Although 17 horses advanced to the jump-off and seven completed double clear rounds, Murphy's time stood alone, three seconds faster than Quebon and Chloe Reid who claimed the second place honors with a time of 37.998. The third place award went to Hayley Banas and Limelight owned by Brampton Woods Farm of Lake Forest, IL. The pair did not touch a fence; however, they stopped the clock at 38.845 seconds. Murphy also claimed the top honors in the Low Junior Jumpers last week during the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. "Each show is different," noted Murphy. "All the jumps in this course were pretty far apart, but the time was a little tight, I had to be a efficient everywhere, efficiency was my main goal."
Palacios designed the course maintaining many of the same jumps as the previous division; however, this course eliminated the liverpool and vertical combination which had challenged many of the previous competitors. This course included the oxer-to-vertical double combination, as well as the wall leading to the vertical-oxer combination. The jump-off consisted of an oxer bending to a vertical and leading to what proved to be the most challenging jump of the course, the purple oxer, which nine riders had faults over. The jump-off then progressed to the oxer-vertical combination with a rollback to a vertical ending with an oxer leading to a vertical at the far end of the stadium.
The talented junior rider was able to keep his time from being touched by going fast and using Ultrafox's athleticism to their advantage. Murphy commented, "Ultrafox is such a trier, you can push for the time, and honestly it is as if you are not even challenging the horse, the course today though really makes you ride."
Murphy recently relocated to Kentucky because of the Kentucky Horse Park and the shows it facilitates. "It's been pretty good weather, and we wouldn't want to show anywhere else," Said Murphy. "I really am thankful to Ivan Rakowsky, the trainer of the horse, and Cynthia Hampton for letting me ride Ultrafox as well. It has been amazing, and I am hoping to ride him as much as possible before he sells."
The Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers wrapped up the day, where six of the 25 horses showed over the short course and only one went double clean. Juan Andres Larrazabal and Remonta Jedive, of Wellington, FL, finished with the fastest time of 35.824; however, a four-fault penalty kept them from going double clean and claiming the top honors. It was Karina Busch aboard Contempo, owned by Halcyon Hill LLC of Elizabethtown, KY, who took the first place award finishing with a double clean round and a time of 38.069 seconds. Mahala Rummell and Celano took home the third place award finishing with four-faults and a time of 38.476 seconds.
The Kentucky Summer Classic will continue throughout the weekend. This week's highlight event will be held Saturday night at the Rolex Stadium where the top horse and rider combinations will compete in the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix, which will begin at 7:30p.m. at the Kentucky Horse Park.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Photo Credit: Christina Kelly and Creata Van Ten Biesen won the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.