Lexington, KY - August 11, 2007 - The flagship event of the week-long Kentucky Summer Classic kicked off this evening at the Kentucky Horse Park with the start of the Kentucky Classic Grand Prix. A field of 35 top competitors from across the country fought for $40,000 in total prize money at the event, held in the Sheila C. Johnson Arena at 6:30 p.m. The arena was filled with a total of 13 jumps, which came together to create yet another technically challenging course designed by award-winning course designer Richard Jeffery.
Jeffery's course allowed only seven of the 35 prospects to continue to the jump-off, with top honors eventually being claimed by Southampton, NY, resident Laura Bowery aboard Indy Star II, owned by J. Dimenna & Equuleus Farms. Scoring for tonight's event was held under Table 2 sec. II(a) ruling, with clear rounds progressing to a timed jump-off round. The time allowed for the first round was a brisk 87 seconds, and many early riders were unable to complete the course without time faults.
Clean rounds looked to be a commodity in the first half of the competition, which saw a stretch of seven riders incur four or more faults. Debbie Stephens of Palmetto, FL, piloted All Star to the first clean round of the evening. She was followed six rides later by Frederick, MD, resident Marilyn Little and Unika. Laura Bowery was next to go clean with Indy Star II, followed by four additional teams making it into the seven-rider jump-off.
Third into the jump-off, Bowery set the pace at 37.641 seconds. She noted that she was being careful not to get careless towards the end of the course, which incorporated a very troublesome Hagyard vertical. "I wanted to stay very controlled," explained Bowery. "Sometimes he gets a little bit feisty; I wanted to make sure that didn't happen tonight. He jumped so well in the first round - he was really fresh. I think the slightly cooler weather helped him out a little," she said.
"I angled the first jump. I just thought it was one of those courses where you just shave everything the way you want to. We shaved into number two, then I just got the right distance going into the double, and he was brilliant rolling back into that Hagyard vertical. I think that's where most of the faults came from; the sunlight was bearing right into it, but he just studied it. And for once on the course, I gave him a little time and then just turned on the gas to the last fence. He was just amazing."
Debbie Stephens, Thursday's winner of the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, started things off in the jump-off round with her clear ride of 39.036 seconds, looking as though she might mirror her performance from two days earlier. However, Bowery's effort would wind up being quicker, sending Stephens to a second place finish. Marilyn Little took to the course next with Unika. She had issues with fence 14 and started a nasty trend at the Hagyard vertical, which was added to the course specifically for the jump-off. Little's performance with Unika would earn her fourth place with the quickest jump-off time of 36.804 seconds.
When Bowery took to the arena, the pair clocked a perfect ride at 37.641 seconds, a time which the remaining four horses couldn't match. Ali Wolff's ride with HSM Necoll was nearly fault free until the pair jumped the Hagyard vertical and took a rail with them. Angela Moore of Wellington, FL, would enjoy the third and final clear round of the evening aboard Claus, owned by Stealaway Farm. The pair was too slow to unseat Bowery and Stephens; however, Moore and Claus ended up rounding out the top three with a time of 40.490 seconds. All of the remaining rides would be plagued with issues at the Haygard vertical, which was the only jump to cause problems in the tie breaker.
Positions outside of the jump-off began with eighth place being awarded to Meghan Moran and Graf Lando of Malvern, PA. They incurred a single time fault after completing the track in 87.418 seconds. The fastest four-fault ride of the evening was set by Shane Sweetnam of Wellington, FL, aboard his horse Quidam Junior. They took only 78.332 seconds and took down fence 11 in the process - landing them in ninth place. The majority of faults came from fence 5b, the second jump in a double combination. It included a liverpool at the first element, and 5b came down 12 times during the course of the competition.
Bowery, who has been attending shows at the Kentucky Horse Park for over a decade, explains how special the venue has become for her. "I love Kentucky," she said. "I was here in 1999 for the Pan American Trials, and I won the trials here. That's when I got a spot to go on the team and go to Europe. I came back in 2001 and now enjoy a great group of students, young young riders that I just think this is the perfect place for. It's such an educational park. It's just a great two weeks, so it's been just a great trip all around for me and for my students. "
As the highlight of the Kentucky Summer Classic, the $40,000 Kentucky Classic Grand Prix is a member event of the AGA Grand Prix Series. After 29 years of competition, the AGA Grand Prix Series of Show Jumping is the world's richest and longest running series of equestrian show jumping events. Now offering over $3 million dollars in prize money in tour which includes 30 events and 20 different equestrian markets across the United States, the series has become an integral part of world-famous equestrian athletes.
For a full set of results, please go to http://www.kentuckyhorseshows.com
Results of Class 280 - $40,000 KENTUCKY CLASSIC GRAND PRIX
1 695 INDY STAR II LAURA BOWERY 0.00 82.376 0.00 37.641 $12000
J. DIMENNA & EQUULEUS
2 124 ALL STAR DEBBIE STEPHENS 0.00 85.412 0.00 39.036 $8800
3 485 CLAUS ANGELA MOORE 0.00 80.894 0.00 40.490 $5200
4 1306 UNIKA MARILYN LITTLE 0.00 78.956 4.00 36.804 $3200
5 925 HSM NECOLL ALI WOLFF 0.00 82.841 4.00 38.347 $2400
BLACKLICK BEND FA
6 396 COOL FLOOD ASHLEY PARTOW 0.00 80.395 4.00 38.542 $2000
7 1161 MARLOU KIM PRINCE 0.00 80.286 4.00 39.985 $1600
8 763 GRAF LANDO MEGHAN MORAN 1.00 87.148 $1200
9 787 QUIDAM JUNIOR SHANE SWEETNAM 4.00 78.332 $1200
10 652 LINDA Z TRACEY WEINBERG 4.00 79.325 $800
11 138 KING CARA CHESKA 4.00 79.567 $800
12 1042 HC WAPINO MARGIE ENGLE 4.00 79.979 $800
HIDDEN CREEK FARM
Photo Credit: Laura Bowery and Indy Star II. Photo (C) 2007 Alex Thomas/ Phelps Media Group.
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