Mill Spring, NC- Kira Kerkorian of Sagaponack, NY, added another top finish at the Tryon International Equestrian Center this week, improving on her second place finish in the $10,000 Under 25 Welcome Classic on Wednesday, by championing the first $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix of the Tryon Summer Series today aboard Nightfire 25. Kerkorian set a fast pace in the jump-off, which couldn't be matched after going third in the order of the ten-horse jump-off, stopping the clock in 36.936 seconds. Wilton Porter of Bartonsville, TX, finished in second and third, riding Delinquent JX to a time of 37.465 seconds then piloting Patriot across the timers in 38.873 seconds respectively.
"This is my first Under 25 win and he's one of my new horses, which makes it that much more special. I thought the course was really well done and there were some places that you really had to work. The plank was really spookey and it felt like a really smooth course but difficult too," commented Kerkorian. "My game plan didn't change too much from when we walked it to when I went actually went into the ring. We watched Wilton go and I knew that I was going to have to pull out all of the stops to beat him."
Kerkorian, who trains with Nicole Simpson of Simpson Show Jumping, has steadily improved and her hard work continues to pay off in the ring. She placed second in the $10,000 Under 25 Welcome aboard Cassi, barely getting nudged out of top honors at the end of the class by Haley Gassel and Quite Dark 2.
"He really helped me out a lot today. I needed to be a little bit quicker after some of my landings but we have a great sense of trust and I knew that he would stay with me," she explained. "I sprinted for the last fence and he was just amazing and so responsive the entire round. We bought him from Lynne Little here in Tryon last August and have been working to create some consistency. We did the Young Rider classes during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) this past winter and he's really stepped up every time we ask something of him."
Piloting two talented horses around the big tracks, Kerkorian is looking to stay atop the leaderboard for the rest of the 2015 season, "We're going to keep doing the High Juniors and then we'll start heading towards some of the smaller grand prixs in Kentucky. I'm so excited with how everything is going and how well my horses are handling everything."
Kerkorian has plans to take her second mount, Cassi to the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) presented by Gotham North at the end of the month in Lexington, KY. "I would love to do really well at Young Riders this year on the big team and see how well we can finish. I've always wanted to qualify for the Prix des States for Zone 2 and want to help earn a team gold there. After that we're going to start focusing on qualifying for indoors, which is always a really exciting time in the year. I'm just so happy with today and it is the highlight of the season so far!" Kerkorian was all smiles exiting the ring and even minutes after the class had ended, she was still unable to contain her excitement,"It feels so great to know that hard work matters. I'm so proud of my horses for the performances we've had this week and I'm hoping that we can only go up from here," she smiled.
Final Results for $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix:
1. NIGHTFIRE 25, 2006 Holsteiner gelding by Numero Uno x Mona XII KIRA KERKORIAN, Sagaponack, NY, Lisa Kerkorian: 0/0/36.926
2. Delinquent JX, 2007 Scottish Sport Horse gelding by Darco x Summer Love WILTON PORTER, Bartonville, TX, Sleepy P Ranch, LLC: 0/0/37.465
3. PATRIOT, 2003 Holsteiner gelding by Colman x Harmonie XIV WILTON PORTER, Bartonville, TX, Sleepy P Ranch, LLC: 0/0/38.873
4. AUCKLAND DE L'ENCLOS, 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Nagano x Peggyschnitt van het Stal Hof LUKE DEE, Wellington, FL, Ashland Stables: 0/0/39.918
5. QUITE DARK 2, 2005 Holsteiner gelding by Quality x Eleganz HALEY GASSEL, Lenoir City, TN, Westwind Equine Training Center: 0/4/35.784
6. ACCORDANCE, 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Acord II x Hera XXIIX KEELY MCINTOSH, Magnolia, TX, Jenny Booth: 0/4/38.077
7. CARISMA, 2007 Swedish Warmblood mare by Cardento x MedalJ TOM FOLEY, Wellington, FL, Sweet Oak Farm: 0/4/38.651
8. BARON, 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Ukato x Vera Van Veecaten DAVID BLAKE, Wellington, FL, Pine Hollow Farm: 0/4/38.843
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