Lexington, KY - An incredible crowd turned out tonight at the Kentucky Horse Park to watch the nation's best riders compete for the top prize during the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix at the Kentucky Summer Classic.
The first round featured a long and demanding track that only five riders were able to complete without fault.
The jump-off proved to be even more exciting when Michael Morrissey and Crelido beat Margie Engle aboard Indigo by just two-tenths of a second for the hard fought win.
Thirty-one riders competed over Dave Ballard's first round course tonight in the new Indoor Ring at the Horse Park in Lexington. There were sixteen jumping efforts which included a liverpool fence, a double combination and a triple combination. The technical aspects of the course and tight time allowed proved difficult for many riders. Five riders were able to complete clear rounds, but only two riders had four-fault efforts while numerous other incurred faults from rails and time.
The jump-off round began over a large oxer with four-strides to a vertical. Riders then made a tight right turn to the second half of the double combination before continuing to the last vertical-oxer portion of the triple combination. Finally, riders galloped over a tall vertical and made a bending line going home over the last oxer, the Rood and Riddle signature jump, before crossing the finish line.
Addison Phillips and Teirra were the first to complete the first round without fault and the first to tackle the jump-off. Unfortunately, the pair had a difficult time through the first line and pulled down a rail at the vertical to incur four-faults in a time of 29.66, which held up for the fifth place honors.
Michael Morrissey and Crelido were next in the ring and Morrissey knew he would need to lay down a tight track with Margie Engle following them aboard two different mounts. Morrissey picked up a quick gallop to the first fence and never held back. The pair made a quick cut after the third fence in front of a timer before galloping to the double combination, shaving off precious seconds in their time. They leapt over the remaining obstacles with ease, and despite tripping and losing a shoe after the final fence they crossed the finish line in 27.67 seconds with all the rails in their cups to take over the lead.
Next on course was Margie Engle with her first mount, Indigo, owned by Shay Griese and Gladewinds Farm. Engle was not about to let Morrissey take the win without a fight and she made every effort over the course with her talented mare. The duo was not able to make the inside turn after the third fence because Indigo landed too far out, but Engle tried to make up the time with a fast gallop to the combination. The pair managed to complete the course without fault, but they tripped the timers at 27.89 seconds, just two-tenths of a second behind Morrissey for the second place award.
After a short warm-up break, Engle was back in the ring with her second qualified mount, Hidden Creek's Pamina L. Engle made her another excellent attempt to take over the top spot, but the pair had an unexpected rail at the second fence. They were still able to make the inside turn to the combination but with four-faults and a slower time of 28.37 seconds the pair earned the fourth place prize.
"I was going to do the inside turn on Indigo like I did on Pamina, but I took the flyer going in and he landed so far across that I didn't want to cut inside the timer and risk knocking it over for the four faults," explained Engle after the class. "I slowed up a lot to be careful to the in-and-out and then not going inside the timer was the deciding factor. I think if had I done one or the other it would have been different result."
Engle continued, "I'm so thrilled with Indigo. I've only had him since March and he's just been so consistent. When I first got him he didn't really know anything about going fast but he's just learning lot. He's been clean the last seven or eight grand prix classes in the first round, and he's won three of them and been second in a couple. He's starting to figure out the going fast thing. He's been great."
Junior rider Reed Kessler and Onisha were the last horse and rider combination to make a bid for the win. The pair picked up a very fast gallop going to the first fence but they were unable to make it through the line without fault, bringing down a rail at the vertical. The pair did not give up though and continue their quick pace through the course, breaking the beam with the fastest time of the night, 26.97 seconds, to take home the third place title.
"I feel pretty good, it feels good to be back," smiled Morrissey after tonight's awards presentation. "I think I was lucky to go early during the first round because I walked the course and I did my plan and it turned out. I think maybe people over thought a lot of stuff. There were some tricky lines and it was a benefit not to watch so many tonight."
For tonight's jump-off Morrissey knew that he was going to have to be very precise to take the top spot. "Margie had in the jump off and Reed has been very hot lately so I knew I had to go all out," he explained. "I rode the plan and went as fast as I could. Crelido was really good for me tonight, really good; he tried hard. "
Morrissey added, "I didn't catch the inside turn when we walked the course because they move courses around. I didn't get to see Addison go but I noticed there weren't any tracks by the timer so I figured that could be a way to make up half a second or two so I think that was the trick."
Crelido is a 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding that Morrissey has been riding for many years. The talented but sensitive mount always gives his best effort and the pair has learned how to help each other and be successful in the ring over the years. Morrissey is now aiming for the American Gold Cup in Cleveland, Ohio and hopes to peak at the event and gain points to compete at the 2011 World Cup Finals.
Tonight's exciting grand prix competition was held in conjunction with the Kentucky Horse Park's "Hats Off Day," which is a salute to the horse industry in Kentucky. Admission to the Park was free today and wonderful crowd turned out to see the world's top equestrians compete at the highest level.
The Kentucky Summer Classic will come to a close tomorrow at the Kentucky Horse Park. Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumpers will compete once again, this time for the top prize in the High and Low Classics. Next week the Kentucky Horse Park will host the 2010 USEF Pony Finals, and the following week will be the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show featuring the $50,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix CSI-W on August 20, 2010.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.
$50,000 ROOD & RIDDLE KENTUCKY GRAND PRIX NAT. ST. II 2a
1 560 CRELIDO MICHAEL MORRISSEY MICHAEL MORRISSEY 0 0 0 78.614 0 0 0 27.677
2 242 INDIGO MARGIE ENGLE SHAY GRIESE AND GLADEWINDS FARM 0 0 0 77.826 0 0 0 27.895
3 307 ONISHA REED KESSLER REED KESSLER 0 0 0 74.247 4 0 4 26.977
4 1567 HIDDEN CREEK'S PAMINA L MARGIE ENGLE HIDDEN CREEK FARM, INC. 0 0 0 75.146 4 0 4 28.375
5 201 TEIRRA ADDISON PHILLIPS ADDISON PHILLIPS 0 0 0 75.833 4 0 4 29.660
6 428 UTOPIE TIFFANY FOSTER ARTISAN FARMS LLC 0 3 3 82.319 0 0 0.000
7 335 SOLERINA CONOR O'REGAN FRANCES O'REGAN 4 0 4 74.218 0 0 0.000
8 510 APRIL PETER LUTZ COPERNICUS STABLES LLC 4 0 4 74.290 0 0 0.000
9 738 SYDNEY DEBBIE STEPHENS CENTENNIAL FARM 0 4 4 83.474 0 0 0.000
10 935 CREME BRULE LAUREN TISBO TEQUESTRIAN FARMS, LLC 4 3 7 82.902 0 0 0.000
11 51 ZIBBIBO MAURICE BEATSON MAURICE BEATSON 8 0 8 78.443 0 0 0.000
12 429 CARLOS DE NOEL TIFFANY FOSTER TIFFANY FOSTER 8 0 8 78.701 0 0 0.000
Photo Credit: Michael Morrissey and Crelido won the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com.