Hampton Falls, NH - The Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic, presented by Porsche, had great show jumping action today at the Silver Oak Equestrian Center. Located in the beautiful seacoast town of Hampton Falls, NH, the Jumper Classic is New England's premier equestrian event.
This elite level competition attracts the country's top riders, past Olympians and local equestrians who compete for over $200,000 in prize money. The Jumper Classic runs through Sunday, September 19, with the highlight class, the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix, on Sunday. Olympic course designer Linda Allen is designing the tracks in the Coldwell Bankers Previews Grand Prix Field this week.
The $10,000 Welcome Stake was the final class today on the Grand Prix Field and show jumping fans were present to see Olympian Peter Leone and Select take home the blue ribbon and a top spot in Sunday's $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix. The results of the Welcome Stake determine the order of go for the grand prix. Riders enjoyed the barbeque during the class, which was catered by David's World Famous.
Leone, of Greenwich, CT, and Select were one of 11 combinations to go clear in the first round from a starting field of 41 entries. The class was held as an option jump-off, where riders could choose to ride their jump-off immediately following their first round or return at the end of the class.
Leone went seventh in the first round and chose to come back at the end of the class. "I planned to go at the end of the class," he agreed. "Because Select didn't do the Hampton Classic and only did one class last week, I really feel like we haven't been in the ring much. While it's important to keep a horse fresh, I find that it's very important to have the rideability and there's no substitute for getting in the ring. Today, no matter how it went, I wanted to treat it like two classes. I had two warm-ups and two times in the ring. I feel like he's hitting a nice groove. I feel like we have an opportunity to be in form on Sunday."
When he returned for the jump-off, Leone was chasing the winning time set by Nicholas Dello Joio of Wellington, FL, on Malcolm, owned by Judy Richter and Ellie Belknap. They set the time to beat at 32.888 seconds when they jumped-off immediately.
Select had a good pace throughout, but it was Leone's fantastic turn over the second oxer jump and a strong ride to a double of verticals that won him the class.
"I thought Nick was very fast," Leone admitted. "I knew what I had to do. There's no question that going later in the order is an advantage. I knew exactly what I had to do to win, but whether I was going to go out there and do it is another story."
Leone detailed his jump-off ride, "I landed over fence two and I turned inside all the other hoofprints. I jumped the right corner and I looked down and saw I was a good three feet inside. That was the first place that I got an edge. I was able to meet the next vertical in-stride. I needed to accelerate to the double of verticals and ask him to pat-pat there. He really melted and curled around patiently over 'a' and 'b'. That tells me that he's not too fresh. I kept coming to the second to last oxer and didn't add up. McLain (Ward) and Nick did seven around the turn to the last jump. I planned and rode the seven (too)."
Third place went to Andrew Bourns and his horse Gowran Park, who were very quick and the pacesetter in the class when they stopped the timers in 33.237 seconds. McLain Ward and Oh' D'Eole were fourth in a time of 33.604 seconds, and Jonathan McCrea rode Candy Tribble's Victor E to fifth place with a time of 35.109 seconds.
This was another good win for Leone and Select, an 11-year-old Dutch gelding by Damiro x Voltaire owned by Lionshare Farm and Ger Poels Horses. After a win at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, second in the American Invitational presented by G&C Farm, and victory at the Grand Prix of Devon, they have cemented a solid partnership.
"I'm thrilled," Leone said. "Select feels wonderful. He felt even better in the jump-off than the first round. He loves the grass and loved working with a little gallop today. I couldn't be more pleased with the way he went out on the field."
He said of Select, "He's like a big, old-fashioned Regular Working Hunter. He's got a great character, he's brave, he's kind, and he just wants to be good."
Leone, a team silver medalist at the 1996 Olympic Games, is also happy to have a top grand prix horse. "I haven't ridden a proper international horse in ten years. Sunday afternoon is really what it's about, and I feel very fortunate to have Select in my life," he revealed.
Earlier in the morning, show jumpers had competition in the $2,500 Deeridge Farm 1.30m Jumpers. Candice King of Wellington, FL, sped to the win on Skara Glen's Basel, owned by Skara Glen Farm. The class was a power and speed format, with riders going for a clear round in the first half of the course and for time over the second half of the course. King was victorious with a clear round and a quick time of 34.277 seconds. Tiffany and Leslie Howard finished second in 35.316 seconds, while Nicholas Dello Joio with Geledimar Z were third in 37.161 seconds.
Skara Glen's Basel is an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quick Star, and King found him just two months ago in Europe. "He has experience at 1.20m-1.30m, but this was just my second show and fourth class with him," King said. "I'm quite pleased with how he's going. He is very giving and he wants to go for you. He feels very athletic and scopey. I'm hoping he'll move up into the grand prix next year for myself and the High Amateurs for Amanda Gumberg."
King has shown at the Jumper Classic for many years, and she feels that the facility at the Silver Oak Equestrian Center is a natural fit. "The field is fantastic. It's a nice, big, open field with natural jumps, which we don't gt a lot of anymore. It's like an old traditional show," she related. "It's quite refreshing to come here. We can focus on the horses more here. The management and sponsors do a great job for the exhibitors."
Other winners in the Coldwell Bankers Previews Grand Prix Field today included
$1,000 Masters Jumpers and Masters Division Champion - Katharine and Elizabeth Lamotte
$3,000 1.35m Jumpers - Ratatouille and Kent Farrington
$3,500 1.40m Jumpers - Navarre D'olueis and Nicholas Dello Joio
$2,500 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers - Ontario and Kathleen Mahoney
In Ring Two, Candice King and Skara Glen Farms of Wellington, FL captured her first win of the day as she piloted Zorro to a win in the $1,000 5 and 6 Year Old Class sponsored by DG Venture, Inc. and Darren Graziano. Graziano owns DG Venture, Inc., where he develops and trains amateur and adult riders and focuses on buying, developing and selling young up and coming horses and ponies.
"This is a new horse for me. I have shown him maybe three times, so I am just working on getting him out and giving him some confidence in the ring," said King. "I thought this was a great venue to bring him to. I have been coming to this show for years, and I look forward to it each year. I love everything from the management to the facility to the sponsors and just appreciate all the effort they put in to making this week so special."
In the 7 and 8 year old division sponsored by Wolfstone Stables and Sales, Darren Graziano captured the win with his horse Syrah. Wolfstone is a premier training facility owned by Schuyler Riley. Located in both Wellington, FL, and Stockton, NJ, the Wolfstone team concentrates on the mission of producing world class show jumping horses.
Graziano has owned Syrah for about three years. "I have jumped her everywhere and earlier in the year, I was a bit concerned with her development," said Graziano. "In fact, I felt a little behind the eight ball with her. Then I jumped her in a Grand Prix which is a little of an unorthodox approach, but she responded to the challenge quite favorably. Now, I am excited that at only seven, she might have some potential to be a horse for the big ring in the future and am planning on readjusting her training program to build her up."
Today's Modified Children's/Adult 1.10 meter class gave nine riders the opportunity to compete in a transitional level between Children's/Adult jumpers and the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner division. Susan Powell, an attorney from Stamford, CT, was beaming after her clear round in 64.207 seconds followed by the jump-off completed in 38.286 seconds on Winward's Tilia, a 10-year-old mare owned by Kim Swenson.
"She is an awesome horse who loves to win. I've never ridden a horse like her. She knows her job and knows where I'm going even before I turn my head," Powell said. She added that other horses in the class had problems at the CDW oxer, but she had no problem. Winward's Tilia is "very adjustable" when it comes to strides, Powell noted. "Stride-wise, the course had a lot of options," she said of the Eric Hasbrouck-designed course in Ring 2. Powell has been riding with Lisa Rex of Somerset Farm for three years and leased Tilia for the summer. The pair won the Marshall & Sterling class in Vermont earlier this year.
The Masters Jumper circuit champion, from points tallied at the Fieldstone Summer Series and the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic, was determined today. The winner will be awarded in a presentation on Sunday. The champion is Lee Thornton and Heliotrope of Natick, MA, who rides with Winter Street Farm and trains with Kristin Bumpus. The Reserve Champion is Jeffrey Papows and Glory Days. Papows is the chairman of the board of the Jumper Classic and hails from Gloucester, MA. He trains with Greg Prince, who owns and operates Woodridge Farms in Medway, MA.
The Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic presented by Porsche continues tomorrow with exciting classes to entertain spectators that include the $12,000 Millbrook Ventures Speed Derby and the $1,200 Merial Pro/Am Class. The Children's, Adult, Low Junior/Amateur-Owner, and High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers will ride in their Classics as well. The event culminates on Sunday with the $15,000 Equine Insurance Speed Stake presented by Great American followed by the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix.
For more information and full results, please visit www.jumperclassic.com.
Final Results: $10,000 Welcome Stake
40 Select, Peter Leone: 0/0/31.677
202 Malcolm, Nicholas Dello Joio: 0/0/32.888
296 Gowran Park, Andrew Bourns: 0/0/33.237
366 Oh' d eole, Mclain Ward: 0/0/33.604
317 Victor E, Jonathan Mc Crea: 0/0/35.109
209 Notre Star de La Nutria, Norman Dello Joio: 0/0/36.240
18 Skara Glen's Palenque, Candice King: 0/4/34.658
5 HH Colorado S, Quentin Judge: 0/4/35.999
309 Little Lady D'elle, Victoria Birdsall: 0/4/41.483
298 Always Cullohil, Jonathon Millar: 0/7/46.403
98 Utah, Leslie Howard: 0/4180.568
197 Norton de Vains, Marie Hecart: 1/83.391
Final Results: $2,500 Deeridge Farm 1.30m Jumpers
20 Skara Glen's Basel, Candice King: 0/34.277
107 Tiffany, Leslie Howard: 0/35.316
203 Geledimar Z, Nicholas Dello Joio: 0/37.161
103 Carisco, Leslie Howard: 0/37.444
114 Kennzo de Conte, Molly Ashe-Cawley: 0/37.963
111 Tarantel'la, Emily D'Alessandra: 4/33.076
163 Tommy Bahama, Jonathan Mc Crea: 4/35.288
364 Secret, Andres Rodriguez: 4/45.482
156 Samar, Kent Farrington: 7/48.579
251 Churubusco LS, Kevin Babington: 8/36.129
146 Conquest Z, Schuyler Riley: 0/EL
61 Soprano, Emmy Tromp: 4/50.359
The Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic presented by Porsche, now in its 21st year, annually attracts some of the nation's most elite equestrian athletes as well as international competitors. The show offers five days of competition and culminates in the premier event, the $75,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix, held on one of the top grass grand prix fields on the east coast. For more information on the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic presented by Porsche, please visit www.jumperclassic.com.
Photos: Peter Leone and Select, Candice King and Skara Glen's Basel, Elizabeth Lamotte and Katharine, Darren Graziano and Syrah
Photo Credit: Flashpoint Photography