Hillary Dobbs and Marengo Take Speed Classic Victory at 124th National Horse Show and Family Festival
Wellington, FL - In her first year of seriously showing in the grand prix ranks, 19-year-old Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, NJ, is making a name for herself. The Harvard University sophomore is giving the seasoned professionals a run for their money this year, and she showed why today. She and Marengo, a 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding, caught the win by over three seconds to take the top place in the $15,000 NHS Speed Classic, CSI, at the 124th National Horse Show and Family Festival. Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Calippo 12 were second, while Mario Deslauriers (CAN) on Levantos was third.
Today's class had 31 entries, but only four were able to find the key to a clear round with no jumping or time faults. Three riders had no jumping faults, but accumulated enough time faults to keep them out of the top ten. Darragh Kerins (IRE) and Double H Farm's Mayebelline had only one time fault to finish in fifth place. The fastest four-faulter today was Kent Farrington on Nerina, who finished in a speedy 65.700 seconds.
The first clear round in the class came from yesterday's winner, Nicole Simpson, this time on Concerto, another Jane F. Clark-owned entry. They set the pace at 71.53 seconds. Four rounds later, the lead changed hands when Deslauriers squeaked by Simpson's time on Levantos, who is owned by AvailableJumpers.com. Deslauriers crossed the timers in 71.30 seconds.
Riding out of the 21st position in the order, speed demon Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Calippo 12 blazed around the Pierre Jolicouer-designed course. They took 4/10ths of a second off the winning time in 70.92 seconds.
Hillary Dobbs and Marengo have made speed their forte this year, and they demonstrated their ability today. Keeping a consistent, quick pace, Dobbs made short work of the course. She clipped an amazing three and a half seconds from Engle's time and finished in 67.46 seconds. She only had to wait for two more trips to see if she would lead the victory gallop. When those two had faults, Dobbs entered the ring for the awards presentation.
Dobbs got a look at the course earlier when she rode her first horse Corlett. After a slip in the corner, they had a mishap at the liverpool oxer. Dobbs learned from that and made adjustments for her round on Marengo. "When I came back with my second horse, we upped the studs and he's a little more sure-footed. I gave him a little more time around the turns, and he's a naturally quick horse. That worked to our advantage, and it was enough for today."
Despite her caution, she and Marengo had no trouble stepping up the pace. "For the second (horse) I was more calm and gave him a little more time, although I have to say my instincts took over a little bit and I went a little faster than I was planning," she laughed.
Dobbs praised her "competitive" horse and noted, "When I go in there and get him all revved up he takes over. He knows his job."
The talented young rider flew down from Boston yesterday, and this was her first class of the week. The move up to the open jumpers this year was a solid one for Dobbs, who is now competing against her riding idols and on the field she dreamed of as a young rider. "It's such a dream come true to even be competing with them. I feel so lucky to be able to be competitive with this field of riders, and I'm really honored," she said.
Tomorrow's highlight jumper class is phase one of the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship, presented by Equine Motorcoach. It is part of the "Jumping Under the Stars Gala," and will be held under the lights on the Internationale Arena field. The opening ceremonies will begin at 7 p.m.
Final Results: $15,000 NHS Speed Classic, CSI
1. MARENGO, HILLARY DOBBS, THE DOBBS GROUP, 0/67.460
2. HIDDEN CREEK'S CALIPPO 12, MARGIE ENGLE, HIDDEN CREEK FARM, 0/70.920
3. LEVANTOS, MARIO DESLAURIERS, AVAILABLE JUMPERS.COM, 0/71.300
4. CONCERTO, NICOLE SIMPSON, JANE F. CLARK, 0/71.550
5. MAYEBELLINE, DARRAGH KERINS, DOUBLE H FARM, 1/80.450
6. NERINA, KENT FARRINGTON, JAVIER SALVADOR, 4/65.700
7. LARIOSO, MCLAIN WARD, BLUECHIP BLOODSTOCK, 4/66.570
8. H & M OBERON, ALI WOLFF, BLACKLICK BEND FARM, 4/71.540
9. LUTOPIA, NICOLE SIMPSON, JANE F. CLARK, 4/76.160
10. 529 OBELIX R, LISA SILVERMAN, LISA SILVERMAN, 4/77.466
Photo Credit: Hillary Dobbs and Marengo, winners of the $15,000 NHS Speed Classic at the 124th National Horse Show and Family Festival. Photo (C) 2007 Randi Muster. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.
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