Lexington, KY – August 3, 2012 – Although storm clouds hung sullenly over the Kentucky Horse Park this afternoon, the amateur and junior jumper riders were not deterred as they tackled their respective courses to vie for the top honors in the Rolex Stadium. Paige Johnson topped today’s High Amateur-Owner Jumpers with Amagedon 3. Megan Nusz slid into the second place finish with Vesuvius, and Mallory Vale guided MI Phone to the third place award. In the High Junior Jumpers, Emanuel Andrade claimed the blue ribbon with his quick and clean effort aboard Tiny Tim, while Elizabeth Patz picked up the second place just ahead of Gabrielle Bausano.
The United States’ very own Anthony D’Ambrosio designed today’s tracks in the Rolex Stadium. For the High Jumpers, riders were faced with an opening oxer-oxer line, a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination, an oxer-vertical double combination, a triple bar and several standalone obstacles. To shave the seconds off their time over the shortened track, riders had to use an open gallop and utilize tight turns. The jump-off opened with the first oxer, and then continued with a right turn over a second large oxer and forward across the ring to the triple bar. They then had to move forward over a skinny vertical and progress through the technical double combination and take another oxer only a few short strides upon landing. Riders then raced to the final obstacle, a standalone vertical, to break the beam.
The High Amateur-Owner Jumpers faced the challenging course first, with only three riders effectively showing to a double-clear effort. It was Paige Johnson and Amagedon 3, owned by Salamander Farm of The Plains, VA, who posted the first clear round of the day. She piloted ‘Nemo’ around the first course with ease, and moved immediately into the jump-off. Her success continued as they left all rails in place, and stopped the clock in only 36.071 seconds.
“Nemo is a great horse,” Johnson explained. “I bought him as a six-year-old, and we have had a lot of success together. I could tell that he was a little nervous today, but I know him so well that we were able to pull it together and make it work.”
Megan Nusz and Vesuvius, owned by Amalaya Investments of The Woodlands, TX, were the next combination to try to qualify for the jump-off behind Johnson. Nusz completed the first course faultless, and moved into the shortened course. She, too, left all the rails intact, and came in just six-tenths of a second shy of the first place prize, scooping up the red ribbon. Mallory Vale and MI Phone, owned by Thinks Like A Horse of Morriston, FL, were the only other pair to proceed into the jump-off. With their time of 36.584 seconds, they proved faster than Nusz; however, an unfortunate rail in the double combination, and an eventual eight-fault total, earned them the third place finish.
“I think the course was technical enough,” Johnson remarked. “It was very similar to the grand prix last night. Hopefully it is good preparation for tomorrow’s High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. I can’t really say that I had an edge on anyone since I was first to go clear, but I think Nemo is just such a naturally fast horse that we were able to post a solid lead due to his speed.”
Shortly after, the High Junior Jumpers took their turn over D’Ambrosio’s course. This time it was Venezuela’s Emanuel Andrade who led the way, jumping two clear rounds with Tiny Tim, owned by Hollow Creek Farm of Aiken, SC. Over the short track they clocked in at 38.598 seconds, which held up for the first place honors. Earlier in the class, Andrade qualified for the jump-off with La Fe Forli, also owned by Hollow Creek Farm, and tripped the timers with four faults in 34.972 seconds to take the fourth place.
Elizabeth Patz of Windemere, FL, steered Cordino to the second place finish with a double-clear effort over the short course. Their time of 38.928 seconds put them in the lead as the second rider to attempt the track, but Andrade’s careful mount and his effective riding took over the lead with a .470 second differential. Gabrielle Bausano of New York, NY, rode to the only other double clear aboard Ubico H. She nabbed the third place ribbon with her time of 40.527 seconds.
“We bought him through Nick Skelton this winter in Florida, and he hasn’t been jumping for a very long time in the High Jumpers, he was competing in the 1.30m last year. He is a very fun ride, he is tremendously careful, and we have done really well together. I feel very lucky to have him,” Andrade explained.
Andrade continued, “The course was a little bit technical, but nice. Since he is such a careful horse, he jumped the skinny in excellent form, and we coped with the course very well. When he sees the fence, he really reads it and waits for me to tell him what to do. I have to ride with a lot of leg and seat to push him toward the fence. This was a great course for him, and I am very happy with his rideability today.”
Tracy Weinberg of Lovettsville, VA, and Lawinia were awarded the first place in the Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers later in the afternoon. Although no rider could master the short track during the five-horse jump-off, Weinberg posted the fastest four-fault effort in 34.214 seconds. Haley Robinson and Quick Son, owned by Salt Creek Stables, LLC of Tampa, FL, rode to the second place honors, while Hannah Page of Hamel, MN, and Supernatural rode to the third place award.
A Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classic will be held for both the High Amateur-Owner and High Junior Jumpers tomorrow before the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix. The junior class will feature $1,000 in bonus money for the SSG Riding Gloves ‘Go Clean for the Green’ Promotion, which went to Meg O’Mara last week.
Tomorrow, the highlight event in the Rolex Stadium will be the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix. The event is set to begin at 7:30 p.m., and will feature the nation’s top horse and riders competing for the winning prize, as well as $8,000 in bonus money through SSG Riding Gloves. The Kentucky Summer Series will take a short intermission with the conclusion of the Kentucky Summer Classic this Sunday before picking up again after the USEF Pony Finals with the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
Photo Credit: Paige Johnson and Amagedon 3 won the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG. Photo may only be used in relation to this PMG press release.