Ocala, FL - January 26, 2011 - The first half of the popular four leg $20,500 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Championship is in the books and, thanks to two solid outings, Reuben Goetzl and Melinda Cohen’s Cruisineety Z enjoy a three-point lead in the standings.
$2,500 Child/Adult Jumper Championship – First Leg
The first leg of the Championship, held on Friday, was a speed class that consisted of 13 efforts with a time allowed of 86 seconds. As 35 horse-and-rider teams tackled course designer Jerry Dougherty’s course, Reuben Goetzl and Cruisineety Z emerged as the winning pair in a blazing 74.320 seconds, nearly four seconds ahead of the pack.
The first of 11 clear efforts in the class came six rounds in at the reins of ninth-place finisher Abbey Slaven who set the pace at 82.424 seconds riding Kimberden, Inc.’s Quick Flash. Slaven was outpaced two trips later when Chelsea Babcock rode her own Caiza and stopped the clock in 82.328 seconds. Eight trips later, Molly Atkinson raised the stakes when she finished the class in a quick 78.038 seconds aboard European Warmblood Stallion Zentrum, Inc.’s Quebec, a lead she would enjoy until Goetzl entered the ring.
Goetzl, 23 years old and a Staff Assistant for the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., and Cruisineety Z left all the rails up while blazing through the course. The pair managed to shave nearly 4.0 seconds off the leading time to become the hard-to-beat leaders. Nine trips remained and the last-chance effort came down to Andrea Dowd and her own Mademoiselle Zoe, who gave a suspenseful performance with a fault-free ride in 78.201 seconds to settle into third place.
“Our plan was just to go clean,” said Cohen, who aside from being the owner of the horse is also Goetzl’s mother and trainer. “Cruisineety Z is a really big, powerful horse with a long stride and this is the best that Reuben’s ever done. He’s very busy with his job on Capitol Hill, running marathons and trying to get into law school, so he doesn’t always get to ride.”
When it was all said and done, Goetzl, Atkinson, and Dowd were joined in the top five by Wendy Libert and her own Richydou in fourth place, and Mike Holtkamp and King Ridge Stables’ In The Money 3E in fifth place.
$4,000 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Championship – Second Leg
The second leg of the Championship took place on Sunday with a $4,000 jump-off class. Dougherty challenged the 34 entries with a first-round course that featured 13 efforts, including three combinations, and a time allowed of 88 seconds. In the end, it was first-leg winner Reuben Goetzl who proved dominant, again, when he captured the first-place ribbon, this time aboard Melinda Cohen’s Papillion Peanut, as well as sixth place aboard Friday’s winning mount, Cruisineety Z.
$4,000 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Championship – Second Leg
Sunday’s class was offered as a II.2.A/B option, with each of the seven clear rides from the first round electing the B option, and staying in the ring for their jump-off. Ashley Reed and her own Red Carpet started the class with a double-clear round, and a jump-off time of 42.026 seconds. Three trips later, Goetzl and Papillion Peanut beat the pace set by Reed with a double-clear effort of their own, with a jump-off time of 39.444 seconds to put the pressure on the rest of the class.
Goetzl captured the victory after fallen rails and eliminations plagued the remaining competitors. Second place was awarded to Reed, while third place went to Kaleigh Barkaszi and Windy V, owned by Mary Jo Barkaszi. Holtkamp and King Ridge Stables’ In the Money 3E finished in fourth place, followed by David Richards who rode his own La Chunga to a fifth-place finish.
Now that half of the $20,500 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Championship is complete, Goetzl sits in first place with 75 points aboard Cruisineety Z with Holtkamp and In the Money 3E right behind him in second with 72 points. Richards and La Chunga hold third place with 70 points, while Atkinson and Quebec reside in fourth place with 67 points, followed by Goetzl and Papillion Peanut in fifth place with 66 points.
“I’m very fortunate to have two fantastically talented horses and an amazing team,” said Goetzl. “My mom has done a terrific job flatting them for the past few years, plus we’ve had some additional help from Alexa Lowe, Katie and Henry Prudent, Henri Kovac, and most recently Tracy Magness. The horses are so well-prepared and mentally sharp that I just try to stay out of their way when we get into the ring.”
Goetzl is back on Capitol Hill for a few days and plans to return to Ocala this weekend to defend his first-half performance. “That’s the plan! Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I’ll be able to fly out tomorrow morning.”
Weather won’t be the only challenge Goetzl faces, as Cohen was quick to point out that he faces some tough competition heading into the home stretch. “It’s still anyone’s game. With a three point lead and 30 plus people in the class, nothing’s a given. But we are looking forward to getting back in the ring and hopefully we can continue our momentum from the first half.”
The final two legs of the $20,500 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Championship are set to take place this Friday and Sunday at the Ocala January Festival. With the current rankings separating first and fifth by just nine points heading into the last two legs, the Championship is still very much up for grabs. For complete results from the first two legs of the $20,500 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Championship, please click here.
The Marshall & Sterling League was designed to enhance the level of competition for children and adult riders, with an opportunity to qualify for a prestigious National Finals competition. Now celebrating over 20 years of competition, the Marshall & Sterling League features 14 divisions. Riders who are members of the League earn points throughout the year by competing in Marshall & Sterling classes in order to qualify for the Marshall & Sterling League Finals, which will be held this year from September 14-18 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
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HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the Village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix on September 12, in Saugerties, New York. HITS will once again offer the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosts the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, September 10 -11, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
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Photos: Reuben Goetzl and Cruisineety Z cruised through Friday's speed class to capture the first leg of the $20,500 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Championship at HITS Ocala. The pair currently holds first place in the standings for the four-leg Jumper Championship. © ESI Photography.
Reuben Goetzl and Papillion Peanut on course in Sunday's second leg of the $20,500 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Championship at HITS Ocala. © ESI Photography.