Winning can be contagious according to Kyle King. He proved just that on Saturday of Desert Circuit VIII as he caught his own bug, winning both the $50,000 Adeptus National Grand Prix and the $38,700 Whittier Trust CSI3* 1.45m Classic.
In both victories, you could say the cards were stacked in his favor. He jumped off late in both orders, knowing just what task lay ahead of him. In the $50,000 Adeptus National Grand Prix, he and Cerolino, owned by Strasburg Morin Inc., were one of only two pairs to qualify for the short course. With Robert Blanchette and Carnlea Premier Balou, owned by RTS LLC, jumping first and bringing down two fences along the way, King’s job was clear.
“It was a weird jump-off,” King joked. “Robert had two down and I thought I’d [go around nicely] and Cerolino was a little out of gas. He had the first one down but at least it was early so I went a little quicker and then I had another one down. It all worked out great so I’m happy.”
The time proved to be the key difference separating the two on 8 faults in the jump-off. King’s time of 42.956 seconds was just enough to edge past Blanchette’s 44.381 seconds for the win.
“I was so happy with how things worked out,” King reflected on his day. “[I had a] little bit of luck there at the end for sure. Cerolino is a new ride for me. I purchased him from Ilan Ferder for a client of mine and she didn’t really get along with him. He’s just now getting fit enough to do this level. This is my third show with him. He’s a real winner.”
The pressure was high with King in the running for the $100,000 National Grand Prix Rider Bonus, to be awarded following the National Grand Prix of Desert Circuit IX. He held the lead prior to the class, a lead that was further solidified no matter the result of the jump-off.
“That was a pressure cooker for me,” he said. “My other horse, [SIG] Chiari, I know a lot better, and he’s been on a hot streak. He won a couple days ago but I maxed him out and decided to go with Cerolino [today]. I lost a little sleep over it but when I walked the course I liked it for him because he’s a big, brave, scopey horse. It was a tough enough track out there today.”
When asked whether he had ever won a jump-off on 8 faults, King replied, “Never. I’ve never even been in that position. I’ve had to win it the hard way. I’ve never won one going in to protect the lead like that. It got me! I learned to go for it anyway; I’m sure it’ll happen again at some point in my career.”