Lexington, KY – July 31, 2012 – The first day of the Kentucky Summer Classic was filled with exciting jumper action in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. This afternoon, competitors had the opportunity to showcase their speed in the 1.40m Open Jumpers and show off their talents navigating the 1.35 Open Jumpers. Christian Heineking led the way in the 1.40m Open Jumpers with the quick NKH Selena, while Mallory Vale completed the fastest double-clear effort with MI Phone in the 1.35 Open Jumpers.
Anthony D’Ambrosio designed today’s tracks in the Rolex Stadium. For the 1.40m speed class, riders had to guide their mounts over a liverpool, water jump, oxer-vertical double combination, a standalone skinny vertical, and several technical lines. Nine horse and rider combinations were able to clear the course at a speedy pace with all rails in place, and breaking the beam with no faults.
Erin Davis and Alamo, owned by October Hill Hunters and Jumpers out of Fort Worth, TX, were the first on course during today’s 1.40m Open Jumper speed class, and she set the pace with a clean effort in 64.838 seconds, eventually riding to the fifth place finish. Cederick, owned by Flip Amram of Ocala, FL, and Sharn Wordley entered in the ring behind Davis; however, their clean effort in a time of 68.077 seconds proved good enough for the seventh place finish. Kaitlin Campbell and Grand Pleasure, owned by Rachel Kennedy of Brookeville, MD, took the sixth place honors.
Christian Heineking and NKH Selena, owned by NKH LLC of Dallas, TX, were eleventh to go in the 16-horse competition, but they easily jumped to the top of the leaderboard. The talented rider guided his talented mount over obstacles, and with each rail firmly in its cups, they crossed the finish line in a stellar 61.908 seconds to eventually earn the winning slot.
“I think the course was great, it was a speed class, so you definitely had to go quickly since you were against the time,” Heineking remarked. “I went around and opened up her stride a bit more, and just let her go. I think that the stride I left out in one of the lines helped me to save time.”
Heineking has been showing NKH Selena for two years, and has been working to build her into a Grand Prix horse. “She is a young horse, I am working to build her up for bigger events, like Grand Prix classes. I am actually thinking about doing her in the Thursday Grand Prix. She has done really well, and I think it is a good step.”
Although Aaron Vale had posted an early lead in the class as the fifth in the order, his clean effort in 64.428 seconds earned the pair the fourth place ribbon. Andres Rodriguez and Elatrice, owned by Arao Enterprises of Wellington, FL, made a dash for the victory, but their time of 62.585 seconds would only be good enough for third. Vale returned for a final go at the winning title with Palm Sunday, owned by Amen Corner Farm of Folsom, LA, and almost captured the new winning time as he sliced his turns and cleared the fences. His 62.408 second finish took the second place position nearly one second behind Heineking, proving that Heinekings’s time stood unsurpassed.
“Selena needs a little bit of discipline here and there,” Heineking smiled. “She can be a little—demanding—when she wants to. She is very careful and fast though, she has really come along.”
Earlier in the day, riders had the opportunity to show their mounts in the 1.35m Open Jumper class with 14 entries. The first round was very similar to the 1.40m Open Jumper class, but for the jump-off riders had to show over the liverpool option rather than the water jump, and take the vertical-oxer double combination with a sharp left turn to slice a standalone vertical. They then ended over the outside line, an oxer-vertical-oxer combination.
“I thought the course designer did a really good job with keeping the time tight and still having us focus on accuracy,” eventual winner Mallory Vale explained. “You got around the ring, he used all parts of it. It was also interesting how he made you jump the liverpool in the jump-off. It was kind of good for me because my horse went over the water with ease, but he kind of looked at the liverpool. I think some of the jumps came up quickly, and it really made the rider think and be aware.”
Mallory Vale and MI Phone, owned by Thinks Like A Horse of Morriston, FL, proved to be unstoppable in the 1.35 Open Jumpers today. With a clear first round they quickly advanced to the jump-off where they picked up a diligent pace, made tight turns, and took all inside options. The pair left all fences in place, tripping the timers in 39.605 seconds and riding to the only double-clear effort and the class victory.
“MI Phone is a nice eight-year-old. Previously Aaron has ridden him, and I started him this year in the Low Amateurs. We decided to move him into the Highs, and he has done really well,” Vale remarked. “He is awesome, he takes care of me. He is a little fresh here and there, but he does great. I have had him the longest out of any of my horses, and he has such a personality. He is always playful and happy. He has such a great working spirit. He has always been a winner, ever since he was young.”
Claudia Billups of Oxford, MS, and Rockefeller of took home the second place honors during today’s event. She guided Rockefeller to a clear first round, and set a great pace as she navigated the course. It was a four-fault total that secured the second place position in a time of 39.077 seconds for the duo. Richard Reinhart rounded out the top three qualifying jump-off finishers with Vini Boy. He also earned four faults with an unlucky rail, stopping the clock in 40.156 seconds.
At the end of the day, Vale concluded, “It feels awesome to be back in Kentucky, we always love coming here. We didn’t get a chance to come back in the spring, but we are so happy to be back. I am from Cincinnati, and I love the Kentucky Shows. They are home for us.”
Tomorrow, the jumper action will continue in the Rolex Stadium with the $5,000 1.40 Open Jumper, as well as the 7/8 Year Old Jumpers and 6 Year Old Jumpers. Thursday night the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic will commence, where riders will compete for valuable points towards the $45,000 Leading Rider Bonus. The Kentucky Summer Classic’s other highlight event will be Hats Off Day this Saturday night, where the nation’s top riders will compete for the winning title in the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix. Next week, the 2012 USEF Pony Finals will take center stage, followed by the Bluegrass Festival Classic and the KHJA Horse Show.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Photo Credit: Christian Heineking and NKH Selena dashed to the top of the leaderboard in the 1.40m Open Jumper speed class at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG. Photo may only be used in relation to this PMG press release.
1.35m Open Jumpers Results
Order Entry # Horse Name Rider Name JF1 TF1 AF1 Time 1 JF2 TF2 AF2 Time 2
1 758 MI PHONE MALLORY VALE 0 0 0 75.098 0 0 0 39.605
2 57 ROCKEFELLER CLAUDIA BILLUPS 0 0 0 76.908 4 0 4 39.077
3 1876 VINI BOY RICHARD REINHART 0 0 0 71.908 4 0 4 40.156
4 761 HONEYLAND\'S DOUGLASON AARON VALE 0 3 3 82.109
5 1087 JAMES T KIRK ANGEL KAROLYI 4 0 4 74.558
6 54 QUICK N EASY CLAUDIA BILLUPS 4 0 4 75.955
7 986 SPITFIRE-W KATHERINE FRAME DEWAR 4 0 4 78.313
8 366 YOU WELCOME J.M. LANDER 4 3 7 82.620
9 1482 JUST A JET DAPHNE ALCOCK 4 5 9 84.406
10 58 KT CHER TIM MADDOX 0 9 9 88.398
1.40m Open Jumpers Speed Results
Order Entry # Horse Name Rider Name JF1 TF1 AF1 Time 1
1 276 NKH SELENA CHRISTIAN HEINEKING 0 0 0 61.908
2 766 PALM SUNDAY AARON VALE 0 0 0 62.408
3 1359 ELATRICE ANDRES RODRIGUEZ 0 0 0 62.585
4 764 ADMIRAL CLOVER AARON VALE 0 0 0 64.428
5 195 ALAMO ERIN DAVIS 0 0 0 64.838
6 1259 GRAND PLEASURE KAITLIN CAMPBELL 0 0 0 64.887
7 1448 CEDERICK SHARN WORDLEY 0 0 0 68.077
8 1107 ROMEO ALEJANDRO KAROLYI 0 0 0 76.940
9 550 QUIPIT L.F. RAGAN ROBERTS 0 0 0 77.087