Lexington, KY – August 1, 2012 – Riders of the top caliber competed this afternoon at the Kentucky Horse Park to commence the second day of the Kentucky Summer Classic. The Young Jumpers took center stage as the sun sat overhead the Rolex Stadium, competing in the Six–Year-Old and Seven/Eight-Year-Old Jumper classes. Christian Heineking and Aaron Vale captured today’s victories in their respective classes.
Anthony D’Ambrosio designed today’s technical tracks, including a liverpool, a vertical-vertical double combination, an oxer-vertical double combination, and several turns and bending lines. In the Seven/Eight-Year-Old Young Jumper, Aaron Vale completed an excellent first round with Spirit of Alena owned by Campos and Miranda Investments of Ocala, FL, to advance to the immediate jump-off. They left all rails in their cups as they broke the beam in a timely 33.643 seconds to claim the first place prize.
“The course was good today, Anthony has done a super job, and he is making us really think out there and show the young horses what they need in order to grow and continue their education,” Vale remarked. “It is very technical. He had us jump lines on a set distance to the combination. He is forcing you to get there in a balance you might not want to be in, but that is the education of young horses, you have to get them riding to the jumps no matter what. It is nice for the young horses to experience the combinations and a strong track.”
Vale continued, lively discussing Spirit of Alena, “He’s a pretty scopey horse, he rides real nice for a younger horse. I went out there and tried to win the class, and I think that a lot of the choices I made out there involving subtracting strides allowed me to be quicker.”
Vale utilized the jump-off course to his benefit, knowing that his horse had the scope for accuracy, slicing turns from two distanced obstacles, and left out strides in a tight turn to set the target time for the class. “I made a real good turn from one to two, and they are two separate fences, but I probably made it in about seven strides. I was really quick there. I was really fast turning back to the second to last vertical; I caught that in one or two strides less than most people. He did great out there.”
Finishing second in today’s Seven/Eight-Year-Old Young Jumpers was Taylor Land of Alpharetta, GA, and Levade 35. Although Land went tenth in the order, she showed to a double-clear effort in 36.284 seconds, knocking out the remaining competition and securing the red ribbon. Ashley Fleischhacker placed third with Erupthion D’or De Wandor, after they completed the jump-off leaving all rails intact and stopping the clock at 37.432 seconds. Allison Robitaille and Chiara, owned by M/M Bertram Firestone of Upperville, VA, scored the fourth place award, finishing the short track in 38.234 seconds. Although Sharn Wordley of Ocala, FL, and Corino rode to the slowest of the double-clears, the duo picked up the fifth place ribbon, crossing the finish in 40.883 seconds with a more conservative effort.
“It is a scopey horse that rides good, and just his ability allows you to do things that are pretty advanced for a seven-year-old," Vale continued. "He is quiet, he rides nice, lets you help him pretty much. When you combine his style with physical talent, you get a great horse. He is real consistent and has a lot of ability. In a year or two he might be really special, hopefully.”
Shortly after the Seven/Eight-Year-Old Young Jumpers came to a close, Christian Heineking rode NTEC Quanto to the Six-Year-Old Young Jumpers first place finish. The pair completed a double-clear effort in 35.573 seconds, a full two seconds ahead of second place finisher Richard Reinhart and Comet who stopped the clock at 37.588 seconds.
Heineking recently imported NTEC Quanto in the spring, and saw great potential in him for a high jumper. “He is very tall, he probably needs to grow into himself, but he is making me very happy, it is an honor to ride him. Today he went really really easy, he is really careful, and has a little rideability that we need to work on, but I think he will definitely be something in a year or two.”
“I thought that the line from the liverpool to the vertical-vertical combination was challenging, but I just went in and rode safe, utilizing his big stride to get around. Kentucky provides great footing and course designers for the younger horses, it provides them with a great learning opportunity throughout the course of the series,” Heineking described.
Christoph Schroeder, of Andersonville, TN, took home the third place award for his fault-free short course aboard Catungee in a time of 37.914 seconds. Kent Farrington and River Roc, owned by Lynn Jayne of Elgin, IL, produced the only other clean first round, finishing in 40.327 seconds for the fourth place honors with four-faults during the jump-off over the liverpool.
“I work with a lot of young horses,” third place winner Schroeder explained. “Kentucky is my favorite place to show, simply for the fact that I believe it is the best for the young jumpers. It has great courses, wonderful footing, amazing amenities and all of my horses are happy here. This is horse country. I am able to go out there with them, let my horse have fun, see them learn, and not necessarily chase the high ribbons. I was very happy with today, and I look forward to the rest of the summer series.”
The Kentucky Summer Classic will continue tomorrow with the exciting $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, where riders will compete for valuable points towards the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus at 7pm in the Rolex Stadium. 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.
Photo Credit: Aaron Vale and Spirit of Alena rode to the victory in the Seven/Eight-Year-Old Jumpers at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG. Photo may only be used in relation to this Phelps Media Group press release.