Wayne, IL - September 11, 2014 - The air was crisp and the horses fresh as the Showplace Fall Classic Championship Horse Show got underway at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. The LUXMAX USA Grand Prix Ring was alive with action early in the morning with the Young Jumper Championships, but the heat turned up later in the day when riders faced off in the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, sponsored by Weathertech.com. The master of speed, Lisa Goldman captured the win aboard Morocco with the blazing time of 32.842 seconds.
Only six of the 24 competitors were able to master Hector Loyola's Welcome Stake track. It was a course that asked questions and demanded answers, showing its technical nuisances through a triple combination, liverpool, double combination and long runs between fences. It was not until the eleventh horse and rider combination, Tiffany Hammack and Luminous, took their chance at the course that a clear round proved possible.
Katherine Dewar and Spitfire-W promised a jump off with their clear effort. Melissa Orlick-Zbierski and Viekie, as well as Freddie Vazquez and Zippo Z would join the ranks to jump the shortened track. Dewar would earn the sixth place with their eight-fault score, while Vazquez would follow behind with a double clear effort in 41.485 seconds. Orlick-Zbierski and Viekie were clean and quick in 37.899 seconds for the eventual fourth place, while Hammack captured the third place in a time of 36.639 seconds.
It came down to the two final riders, speed demon Lisa Goldman and speed strategist Laura Linback, both well known for their impressive jump offs. Linback used efficiency aboard Carmina to take tight turns and stick to an inside track that had her out of reach of her competitors. They crossed the timers in 35.022 seconds without fault, but with Goldman hot on their heels, their quick round would only prove good enough for the red ribbon today.
"It was fantastic, I was glad it was chilly because it put a little more fire in her veins, so she felt fantastic," Linback described. "I was thrilled when I walked the course, because often times these Welcome Stakes are underbuilt, and they end up with too many clear. I love the fact that he built a nice stout course. It was a little technical, but it was just right."
Goldman left no stone unturned as she showed spectators why Chicago is known for its speedy jump offs. Although she went a little wide through the second turn, and added to the Nutrena vertical, her mount Morocco was on fire. They broke the beam in 32.842 seconds to clinch the win.
"He was insane, he was wild, but so happy to be here," Goldman laughed. "He almost got me off in the schooling ring a couple of times, but that is a good thing for him. He felt amazing; he was really good. The course rode bigger than it looked, the footing felt great, it felt good though, it was a nice track."
Goldman continued, "Laura had such an efficient track, she was so right on. I might have gotten a little too fast, but when he is that crazy, you go with it. We left five strides out to the last vertical, but he locked on to it with me. He saw it right there with me."
Goldman also added the Five and Six Year Old Young Jumper Championships to her ever-growing resume. She rode recent hunter turned jumper Roc N Groovy to the first place with the only clear round of the Five Year Old track.
"I am so happy because Penny [Roc N Groovy], my 5-year-old mare, qualified for Kentucky," Goldman said. "She has only done the Baby Green Hunters, and then we moved her into the jumpers only about a month ago. Hopefully she is a little younger version of Morocco."
She continued her winning ways in the Six Year Old Young Jumpers with Roc America, usually a David Dorner ride, to ride to the blue ribbon in 45.691 seconds, as well as capture the tricolor for the division.
"Roc America is a horse I was riding while Dave is in Saugerties for the Marshall Sterling League Finals-I love Roc America, he is wonderful," Goldman smiled. "I am rather jealous of Dave for having that ride. Dave will do him next week in the Six Year Old Young Jumper Championship Finals, and I think he is a real contender for that."
Orlick-Zbierski may have taken in fourth during the afternoon's $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, but her 8-year-old Bonzay was locked in on the win during the 7/8 Year Old Young Jumper Championship. They shattered other contenders' times by more than three seconds to take the victory and end up tying for the reserve championship alongside Thomas Cerra and Cupina Colada. Cerra ranked in second today during the YJC class, while division champion Haylie Rolfe and Lithium nabbed the third place.
"He is a very quick horse, he definitely covers the ground very easily," Orlick-Zbierski said. "He definitely has a heart of gold, he is a very brave horse, confident and energetic. He is still a young 8-year-old, so his rideability on one day can be great and then on another be tricky. I have to balance having enough feel, and letting him find his own stride."
Orlick-Zbierski has owned Bonzay for a year and a half, and their partnership continues to grow. "I think that with him still being young there are certain areas we can work out. I thought the course was straightforward, it wasn't too tricky, and was inviting for the young horses. Pat Boyle and Showplace Productions always do a nice job, they offer great classes for all sorts of people."
The $1,500 Modified Child/Adult Classic and the $1,500 Low Children's Adult Classic, sponsored by C & E Horse Transportation, will kick off the Friday events at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. The Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers will take center stage in the afternoon with the $5,000 Junior/Amateur Owner Hall of Fame Jumper Classic sponsored by Wisconsin Equine Clinic and Hospital.
The Showplace Productions Fall Classic Championship Horse Show features the $30,000 Luxmax USA Grand Prix on Saturday, the Illinois Hunter Jumper Association Medal Finals sponsored by Barrington Saddlery on Sunday, and the Marshall and Sterling Midwest Championships throughout the weekend. For more information, please visit www.showplaceproductions.com.
$10,000 Open Welcome Stake Presented by Weathertech.com
Result Entry Horse / Owner Rider
1 918 MOROCCO Lisa Goldman Lisa Goldman
2 638 Carmina Woodrun Laura Linback
3 1016 Luminous Lance Williamson Tiffany Hammack
4 694 Viekie IsoTropic Networks Inc. Melissa Orlick-Zbierski
5 902 Zippo Z Messenger Hill Freddie Vazquez
6 854 Spitfire-W Katherine Dewar Katherine Dewar
7 919 CENTURION B Mary Goldman Lisa Goldman
8 978 Cassandra Z Three Sister Farm Thomas Cerra