Lexington, KY - Classes kicked off at nine o'clock on the final day of the inaugural Split Rock Jumping Tour. The skies were blue and the sun lit up the action in The Rock Jumping Field, which included the $7,500 UltrOZ Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Final, followed by the $7,5000 Brook Ledge High Junior/Amateur Final. The $15,000 Hagyard Equine U25 Cup began at noon.
Twenty-four horse and rider combinations opened the Sunday events, with nine riding clean in the first round. Charlise Casas, who has truly been in great form this weekend, took both first and second. Riding a direct and smooth track, hotshot Casas set the time to beat on her first of two entries in the jump-off, Forrest Gump (owned by Gut Einhaus, LLC), at 25.91.
Eight more rider attempts, including Casas on the mare she rode to the blue on Friday, Alaika, couldn't catch her speedy start. This victory marked her third for the week. USEF Network host Oliver Kennedy summed it up in his TV interview with the champion. "So three wins on three different horses that you've ridden for three weeks. Seems three is your number!" Casas smiled in agreement. She heads to Spruce Meadows next and plans to be back here at Split Rock in the fall.
Tara Corr and Boy Blue also triumphed again, this time turning in the only clean round in the $7,500 Brook Ledge High Junior/Amateur-Owner class. The pair won on Friday, and Corr is thrilled with the eight-year-old's performance. "I couldn't be happier with the horse. He is always on it!" Praising Split Rock's efforts with the event, as well as thanking Brook Ledge for their sponsorship, Corr stated she would definitely return in the fall for more Split Rock Jumping Tour.
The final event leading up to the $100,000 CSI3* Grand Prix was the $15,000 Hagyard Equine U25 Cup. An event for up-and-coming young riders under twenty-five years old, the 1.45m class welcomed some top competitors. After a challenging track designed by Guilherme Jorge, the jump-off was between the two four-fault scores, Nicole Bellissimo and Leah De Martini. Bellissimo, who trains with Candice King, rode Harley David smooth and clean, putting pressure on Martini and her mount Touchable. Scoring eight faults, Martini ended up second, with Bellissimo taking the win. "He was fantastic. And it's a beautiful day," Bellissimo commented. "He's only eight years old and this is one of the bigger classes he's done. We wanted him to stay confident and we couldn't be happier." She heads to Tryon for the summer and, yes, plans to be back at Split Rock this October.
At the conclusion of these events, Brazilian course designer Guilherme Jorge, who will also be designing for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and his assistant Mauricio Garcia Ballesteros of Puerto Rico, along with the stellar Split Rock jump crew, began to set the course for the highlight event of the weekend, the $100,000 CSI 3* Grand Prix.
The final day of the inaugural Split Rock Jumping Tour is wonderfully sunny. Attendees had an opportunity to enjoy live music, boutique shops, and tasty local treats, plus see some top show jumping. The Split Rock Jumping Tour continues in just over 100 days with The Bourbon Festival, October 9-11, 2015. Mark your calendars now - the team at Split Rock looks forward to welcoming back riders, owners, trainers and spectators from near and far in the fall.