Wayne, IL - The Lamplight Equestrian Center had no empty seats Sunday afternoon as the $30,000 Barrington Saddlery Grand Prix got underway during the Showplace Spring Spectacular I. Kelsey Thatcher rode to a fantastic win during Saturday's $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, and duplicated her efforts Sunday with Athena to race to the win in a seven-horse jump-off.
Twenty-eight horse and rider combinations attempted to master Héctor J. Loyola's challenging track, but only seven were able to ride to a clean first-round effort. The cheers and applause resounded through the Grand Prix Ring as spectators rooted on their favorites, many of which hail from Illinois. Many in the crowd had their money riding on several of the riders in a Calcutta benefiting Assistance in Healthcare, a charitable organization founded to assist patients and their families who have become financially distressed as a result of their fight against cancer and other catastrophic illnesses. The benefit raised over $7,000, with 40 percent going to the charity.
Laura Linback was the first to tackle the short course, blazing the trail with HH Dauphin, owned by Woodrun of Mundelein, IL. Linback set a hard time to beat from the get go, breaking the beam in 44.052 seconds. Dorothy Douglas and S&L Elite, owned by S&L Farms of Flower Mound, TX, posted the second of what would only be three double-clear efforts. She took a more conservative approach, leaving the rails intact with wider turns, but using S&L Elite's large stride to cover the ground in 44.903 seconds, just behind Linback.
The young hometown talent, Giavanna Rinaldi, clocked in at 40.187 seconds, aweing the crowd as she crossed the final oxer in blazing speed. G.P.S. Brilliant Disguise clipped the front rail on their way down, finishing with the fastest time of the class, but with a heart-breaking four faults.
Thatcher was the only rider to qualify with two mounts, riding the shortened track with Dulf Van Den Bisschop, owned by Pony Lane Farm of Bluffdale, UT, first out of the two. The pair had an unfortunate rail in the double-combination, but the experience made the 21-year-old well prepared for her next go.
With her eyes set on the win, Thatcher entered the ring with Athena, owned by Pony Lane Farm. They won the $10,000 High SJHOF Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic on Saturday, and their luck continued as they raced around the course. Thatcher was able to leave out strides on her runs between fences, as well as utilize Athena's ability to turn. They stopped the clock at 40.196 seconds, taking over the lead.
Linback would finish in second, while Douglas took the third place, a brilliant feat for only her third grand prix attempt. Rinaldi captured the fourth place with her blazing four-fault round, while Ericka Baran of Chicago, IL, and Ad Fundum took the fifth. Thatcher would also finish in the sixth place position with Dulf Van Den Bisschop, while Tracy Fenney of MTM Farms rode to the seventh place award with MTM Timon.
"I followed my plan," Thatcher stated. "Chicago Grand Prix may not be the biggest that you will ever jump, but they are the fastest. You have so many people who can go so fast. Anytime you go clear, you have to go full out to even have a shot at the win."
Jumper Highlights: Wednesday - Saturday
The Lamplight Equestrian Center was alive with exciting jumper action for the opening day of the Showplace Productions' Spring Spectacular on Wednesday morning. Thirty-six horse and rider combinations tackled the first day track for the 1.30m Open jumpers, with Tracy Fenney riding to a 1-2 finish to best the rest with two clean and clear jump-offs. Lisa Goldman and Centurion B raced to the first place finish in the 1.40m Open Jumpers with a speedy time of 38.720 seconds.
Only four riders were able to master the opening track of the 1.40m Open Jumpers. Ryan Genn and Cookie Monster, owned by Wilhelm Genn of Lebanon, OH, were at the top of the order, but that did not deter the pair from riding to a double-clear effort in 39.520 seconds. Wilhelm Genn tried to duplicate their effort aboard Welcome COR, owned by Ann Anastasio of Wayne, IL, but a rail at the final obstacle cost them. Tony Font and Kissimmee, owned by Deana Blackburn of Houston, TX, also incurred four faults on course, and one time fault to eventually earn the third place.
Lisa Goldman was the penultimate rider to tackle the track, producing a double-clear effort in a speedy 38.720 seconds to ride to the top of the leader board with Centurion B. They showed no trepidation as they sped around the turns, shaving the seconds with their large stride to break the beam and claim the victory.
Earlier on Wednesday, Tracy Fenney made her mark aboard two top mounts in the 1.30m Open Jumpers. Out of 36 horse and rider combinations, she rode to a remarkable 1-2 finish with MTM Timon and MTM Centano. Seventeen competitors moved into the short course, and 12 were rode to a fault free jump-off, making the stakes high.
Fenney took the lead early in the class, riding MTM Centano, owned by MTM Farm of Flower Mound, TX, to a double-clear effort in 36.921 seconds. Nobody could match her pace, sacrificing speed for accuracy if attempted. Goldman put in a good effort, riding her own Rocs to Riches to a time of 37.152 seconds, just off of Fenney's stride. She also attempted to catch her aboard El Dorado B, owned by Stephanie St. John of Deer Park, IL, but their time was still shy at 37.572 seconds.
All eyes turned to Fenney as she returned to the Grand Prix Arena with MTM Farm Timon. Her time aboard MTM Centano had proven untouchable, that is by all but Fenney. She mimicked her earlier effort, but did one better, breaking the beam for a 1-2 finish in 36.685 seconds.
The applause resounded throughout the Lamplight Equestrian Center as 13 horse and rider combinations faced off in the Showplace Spring Spectacular $20,000 Open Welcome Stake on Thursday. It came down to a battle of speed as Lisa Goldman and Tracy Fenney went neck and neck, but Goldman and Centurion B came away the victors. Fenney laid down two impressive double-clear efforts for the second and third place positions with MTM Timon and MTM Centano, respectively.
Theo Genn and Aniviero Z, owned by Amy Lefferdink of Cleveland, OH, were the pathfinders as the first horse and rider combination to take on the course. Choosing to stay in the ring, in accordance to the Table A format, they posted a double-clear effort in 41.378 seconds. Although their time was commendable, it would prove too conservative with several speed demons waiting in the wings.
Lisa Goldman was the next rider to clear the opening track, riding Centurion B, owned by Mary Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, IL, to an effortless round. Although she is normally a strong proponent of staying in the ring for the jump-off, she opted to return later. She made the same decision with her second mount, Morocco.
Laura Linback laid down an impressive double-clear in 39.355 seconds with HH Dauphin, owned by Woodrun of Mundelein, IL, but her time was shortly shattered when Tracy Fenney entered the ring with MTM Centano, owned by MTM Farm of Flower Mound, TX.
Fenney flew around the ring in a breezy 35.545 seconds, taking over the lead with MTM Centano. She later duplicated her effort aboard MTM Timon, producing a second clean and clear effort in 35.497 seconds to slightly beat out her previous time.
Goldman returned to the ring as the final rider to jump-off with her two mounts. It was clear that she had her eyes set on the win as she took the opening oxer. She utilized Centurion B's large stride, eating up the ground and shaving the seconds with tight turns. She made an impressive turn from the in-and-out to the oxer with Centurion B turning on a dime and leaving change as he spun to the obstacle. She then completed the inside track to the final vertical, breaking the beam in 34.609 seconds to take the lead.
She nearly beat her own time with Morocco, but when she landed from the penultimate obstacle she doubted her inside turn. Morocco was ready take it, and the miscommunication caused her to ride into the standard of the fence that had caused many of the other riders to negate the inside track. She recovered quickly, but the misstep cost her the time she was after. She tripped the timers in 37.798 seconds for the fourth place
Earlier on Thursday, the Young Jumper Championships got underway, with Goldman riding to the top slot in the $1,000 Young Jumper 7/8 Year Old Championship with her own Rocs to Riches. Haylie Rolfe and Lithium, owned by Alex Jayne of Engle, IL, took the second place, while Roderick Kyle Dewar and Chalco, owned by Jennifer Sprenger of Milwaukee, WI, finished third. Rolfe and Lithium were awarded the division championship, while MTM Cravitz and Tracy Fenney captured the reserve championship.
Laura Linback and Carmina have not been in a partnership for long, only six months, but they are at the top of their game. Friday afternoon they captured the win in the $5,000 1.30m Open Jumpers, presented by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services, during the Showplace Spring Spectacular I. They vaulted to the top of the leader board in an astonishing 37.416 seconds, more than a second ahead of their challengers in a six-horse jump-off.
The course tested the 20 starters with a snug time allowed and a technical track that would only allow six horse and rider combinations the chance to master the shortened track. As fourth in the order, Tiffany Hammach and Luminous, owned by Lance Williamson of Gurnee, IL, were the first to make the jump-off. They set the pace with a double-clear effort in 41.215 seconds.
Lisa Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, IL, returned to the ring with her veteran mount El Dorado B. Although she followed the same inside track, utilizing slices to shave the seconds, a wide turn to a vertical would prove crucial in the battle against the clock. She moved into the lead with a time of 38.744 seconds, but she wore a target on her back as Linback set her sights on the victory. As the second to last rider, Linback knew what she had to do in order to capture the win. She followed the same inside plan as Goldman had laid down, the only other rider to attempt such risky turns, but Carmina made a tight turn to a vertical that shaved an entire second, hurdling the duo to the top of the leader board in 37.416 seconds.
The High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers saw intense competition as competitors entered into the Power and Speed class. Madeline Thatcher and Licapo, owned by Pony Lane Farm of Bluffdale, UT, captured the win with a clear power round and a quick speed round to cross the timers without fault in 35.498 seconds. Laura Linback and Attention Please, owned by Woodrun of Mundelein, IL, followed in a close second finishing the speed phase in 35.913 seconds. Madison Billings of North Barrington, IL, and her own Stonestreet finished in third place.
During the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers Katie Leverick of Hawthorn Woods, IL, rode S&L Sander to the top finish, with Suzy Buszydlo and Nektar hot on their heels for the second place. Kelsey Thatcher and Splendor, owned by Pony Lane Farm, finished third.
Fifteen horse and rider combinations faced off in the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHOF) High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic on Saturday, presented by Upper Echelon Academy, but Kelsey Thatcher led from start to finish with Athena, tripping the timers in 43.093 seconds for the win.
Thatcher laid down a speedy round by opting for the inside track, guiding Athena through the slices and rollbacks with ease and efficiency. Her time of 43.093 seconds would prove untouchable, even with Laura Linback in hot pursuit.
Although Linback was able to qualify two horses for the jump-off, Attention Please was just behind Thatcher's pace collecting the second place. Thatcher was also able to take home the third place ribbon with Dulf Van Den Bisschop, owned by Pony Lane Farm. She left all rails intact during the jump-off, but one time fault pushed the pair into third.
Earlier on Saturday, the $2,500 Low Child/Adult Classic got underway in the Grand Prix Ring. Only four riders were able to master the first round of the classic course, with trailblazers Margaret Mac Harg of Elgin, IL, and Winston securing the win early on in a time of 38.899 seconds. Kennedy Mc Caulley and Upside, owned by Southview, Inc. of Ft. Wayne, IN, finished second, while Hailey Royce and Rapidash took third.
Madalyn Hill and Poison Ivy, owned by Alexis Muuss of Bartlett, IL, rode to the $2,500 Modified Children's Jumper Classic win. Shortly after, the $2,500 Modified Adult Jumper Classic got underway where Laura Lafnitzegger and Rocwell, owned by Lise Shellenback of Barrington, IL, rode to the top of the leader board. The $1,500 M & S Children's Jumpers saw intense competition in the Grand Prix Ring, but Sarah Scarnechia and One Direction, owned by Emily Scarnechia of Barrington Hills, IL, rode away victorious. Holly Yeterian beat out 15 other competitors in the $1,500 M & S Adult Jumpers with Zero Point, owned by Matt Yeterian of Barrington Hills, IL.
On Sunday, 16-year-old Stephanie Novas rode Amyra R to the victory in the $10,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. They rode to the time of 39.114 seconds to take the lead ahead of 11 contenders. Baran and Calvigo finished second with a clean jump-off in 43.066 seconds. Elizabeth Adelson and Con Chino Z, owned by Four Fillies, LLC of Tulsa, OK, took the third place finish for a double-clear effort in 44.766 seconds.
Equitation Highlights: Friday - Saturday
Equitation riders during the three-week Spring Spectacular Series can qualify for the Showplace Equitation Championship in Week III. Riders in the Championship Class must complete all phases of the class on their own without the assistance of a trainer. This includes the course walk and schooling. The class includes two rounds plus a third round for the top four riders, which will include additional testing at the judges' discretion. Riders must place in the top three of the medal classes in the series to qualify.
Heading to the Championship Class from Friday's win is Caitlin Boyle, no stranger to the blue in the equitation ring coming off of a huge win at the Devon Horse Show. Boyle led the pack in the Washington Jumper Phase with a score of 92, won the Hunter Phase with an 86, and secured the overall win in the class. Boyle also was the champion in the Equitation 15-17 division aboard her partner for the last year, Loredo.
Another big medal winner on Friday was Caitlin Creel of Kildeer, IL, who clinched the win in the ASPCA Maclay Medal. Creel placed second behind Boyle in both the Washington Jumper Phase with a score of 88 and the Washington Hunter Phase with an 83, and now qualifies for the Equitation Classic.
Other qualifiers were Sarah Grant from Long Grove, IL who placed third in the Washington Jumper Phase and Misty Redd of Topeka, KS, who finished third in the Washington Hunter Phase. Also qualified, Elizabeth Adelson finished second in the ASPCA Maclay and Olivia Lawton took third.
Equitation riders were ready to go at the 8 a.m. start time on Saturday in the Wisconsin Equine ring for the USEF Pessoa/Randolph College Hunt Seat Medal at Showplace Productions' Spring Spectacular I. Fourteen riders completed the first round and Andrisani called back the top five to test. Elizabeth Adelson, Misty Redd, Giavanna Rinaldi, Olivia Lawton and Emily Kabeshita returned without stirrups to show over a trot jump, then canter a jump at the end of the ring to a two-stride combination, halt at the mark and exit the ring on a long rein. When the dust settled, it was Redd from Topeka, KS, at the top. Lawton took the second place spot and Adelson was third.
Redd now qualifies for the Showplace Equitation Championship which will be held at the end of Week III. Lawton and Adelson are also qualified now.
Hunter Highlights: Wednesday - Saturday
A rain day in the windy city did not stop a streak of multiple wins in the hunter divisions on Wednesday at Showplace Productions' Spring Spectacular I at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL. Starting off the day with two blues in the First Year Green Working Hunter Division was Chicagoan Debbie McIntyre's Cavalli with Russell Frey aboard. The 8-year-old Mecklenburg gelding captured the win in the first class as well as the highest scoring handy round. Cavalli and Frey also ended up with a second and a third in the High Performance Hunters Over Fences and the second in the under saddle.
Finishing just behind Frey in the First Year Green Handy Round was Haylie Rolfe and Pony Lane Farm's The Answer. The horse also stepped to the head of the class in the under saddle, adding another blue to the "Our Day Farm" banner.
Continuing with multiple wins in the over fences on Wednesday, Rolfe won the over fences and the handy round in the Second Year Green Division on Pony Lane Farm's Starina B. Rolfe also took the blue back to the barn from the under saddle class.
Maggie Jayne upheld the multiple win syndrome in the Regular Conformation Division, winning the model, the over fences, the handy and placing second in the under saddle with the beautiful bay, Bugsy Malone owned by Pony Lane Farm.
As if that were not enough, Jayne also rode Pony Lane's A Million Reasons in the battle of the bays, finishing second behind Bugsy Malone in both over fences and winning the under saddle.
Perhaps the Jayne sisters had home court advantage, finishing off the hunters with a winning streak in the High Performance Hunter Division, as well. Rolfe piloted the veteran Summer Place, owned by Pony Lane Farm, to the top call in the over fences, handy and the under saddle.
Day two of the professional hunter divisions at Showplace Productions' Spring Spectacular I belonged to Pony Lane Farm's hunters. Coming off of Wednesday's multiple wins in each division, Maggie Jayne and Haylie Rolfe were hard to beat on Thursday.
Haylie Rolfe of Elgin, IL, had all the right answers in the $2,500 First Year Green Hunter Division aboard Pony Lane Farm's bay warmblood, The Answer. Winning both over fences classes put them at the head of the class for the championship. Debbie McIntyre's Cavalli with Russell Frey aboard, had two wins on Wednesday to clinch the reserve championship in the division.
Rolfe continued her winning streak into the $2,500 Second Year Green Division where she and Maggie Jayne shared the wins on Thursday. Starina B and Rolfe won the first over fences class and Jayne and A Million Reasons followed in the jog for the second place. Sharing the blues, Jayne and A Million Reasons won the second class with Starina B right behind. Pony Lane Farm of Bluffdale, Utah, owns both mounts. Tina Judge and Rouge E'Cureull, owned by Caitlin Anderson of Stillwater, MN, stayed in the hunt for the third place in both classes. Starina B took the championship with A Million Reasons close behind for the reserve.
Adding two more blue ribbons and the championship to their collection this week, Jayne and Pony Lane Farm's Bugsy Malone lead the way in the Regular Conformation Hunter Division. Taking a close second in both classes, Hillary Johnson and Tundra, owned by Kendall Meijer of Ada, MI, took the reserve championship.
Continuing the battle of the grays in the High Performance Hunter Division, it was Rolfe once again who took the top tricolor ribbon with Pony Lane's Summer Place, adding a first and second to their two blues from Wednesday. Reserve champion in the High Performance Hunters went to another gray, Presently, owned by Mark Senn of Chicago, IL, and ridden by Freddie Vazquez. Vazquez piloted the horse to a first and a second place jog on Thursday, as well.
Continuing into Thursday afternoon with more hunters, champion in the Performance 3'6" Working Hunters was Caroline Weeden of Antioch, IL, aboard Nairobi News owned by Amanda Williamson. Reserve champion was To The Nines, owned by Didi Mackenzie and ridden by Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, TX.
In the Performance 3'3" Working Hunters, the championship went to Starr Meijer's Eclipse with Hillary Johnson in the irons and Sam Pegg rode Rintoo, owned by Christine Lies to the reserve championship in the division.
The $1,000 Open Hunter Classic was held on Thursday with Maggie Jayne and A Million Reasons taking the top spot with scores of 87 and 88. Pagani, owned by Micaela Kennedy of Chesterfield, MO, and ridden by Sam Pegg were second.
The $1,000 Pre-Green Hunter Classic took place with Game Plan, owned by Beth Bailey and ridden by Tammy Provost, taking home the blue ribbon and Douglas Boyd with his Clandestine, finishing in second place.
On Saturday, the $2,000 Junior Hunter Division resumed with the Smalls as the first to be seen. Paige Matthies and Expecto Patronum, owned by Dudley Smith, won the handy and Madeline Thatcher with Pony Lane Farm's Stuck on You, won the over fences. Thatcher was consistent in the division earning her the championship with Matthies close behind to take the reserve championship ribbon.
Thatcher continued her winning streak into the Large Junior Hunters, taking home the tricolor in the A Section on the 10-year-old gray, Summer Place. The pair won four out of the five classes in the division including the under saddle. Thatcher also won the $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic with the top scores of 85 and 82.
Reserve champion in the A Section went to Nicole Loochtan of Hawthorn Woods, IL, and Dream On, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding. Champion in the B Section of the Large Junior Hunters went to Gia Gulino and Cappello, who won both over fences classes in the section on Saturday. Trainer Tina Judge, of Oswego, IL, showed the horse in the First Year Green Hunters earlier in the week.
Reserve champion in Section B went to Elizabeth Adelson and Bull Run's Rubicon, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Four Fillies, LLC of Tulsa, OK.
Kelsey Thatcher controlled the Amateur-Owner Hunter division on the final day of the Showplace Spring Spectacular I, taking both the champion and reserve champion spots with Pony Lane Farm horses. Thatcher, 21, of Bluffdale, UT, rode Bugsy Malone to the top of the pack and her mount Starina B slipped into the reserve slot. Thatcher has a third horse she rode in the division, The Answer, which is a newer ride for her. Sunday was only the third time she even rode him much less showed him.
Also wrapping up their division on Sunday were the Amateur-Owner 3'3"Hunters. Champion in Section A was Cinza, owned and ridden by Sara Gentry of West Dundee, IL. Cinza is a 7-year-old Oldenberg gelding, one of two mounts Gentry rode in the division. Gentry won four of the five classes in the division aboard Cinza for the championship.
The Section B Champion in the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunters was Cecret Weapon, owned and ridden by Courtenay Billings of Bixby, OK. Billings also has a second horse she rides in the division, Don't Tell.
Reserve champion in the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunters Section A was Gretta, a 13-year-old warmblood mare ridden by Mindy Cortez of Tulsa, OK. Cortez placed second in both over fences classes on Sunday to go with her two thirds from Saturday and a fourth in the under saddle.
Reserve champion in Section B was Everafter with Beth Harrison Meyer of Chicago, IL. Meyer rides with Rush and Caroline Weeden of Brookwood Farm in Antioch, IL.
Finishing off the division, the winner of the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic was Nicole Hiehle of Dublin, OH, and her Oldenberg mare, Lovely Charity, with the highest scores of 84 and 86.
The Showplace Productions' Spring Spectacular Series continues at the Lamplight Equestrian Center with two more weeks of hunter, jumper, and equitation action. Series highlights include the Showplace Equitation Championships and the $40,0000 Weathertech Grand Prix to be held on Sunday of Week III. To learn more about Showplace Productions and upcoming shows visit: www.showplaceproductions.com.