Manuel Espara (MEX) designed a demanding 12-obstacle track well suited for the class. Twenty nine horse-and-rider combinations took to the challenge, testing their speed and agility through a technical combination of long bending lines and airy oxers.
With a decorated field of accomplished riders, the competition was on for Laura Chapot and Mary Chapot’s talented mount Calafornia. Chapot mounted the eager 15-year-old KWPN gelding in the ring, anxious to try their hand at the course. “Calafornia really enjoys the speed classes and I thought he was really perfect tonight. He was right there with me every step of the way and I just stuck with my plan all the way around,” comments Chapot. Riding with confidence both in the tack and over the obstacles, she set Calafornia up flawlessly to ensure a quick, fault-free effort. Calafornia was in perfect sync with Chapot, crossing the wires in 65.896 seconds, rightfully earning them the sought after spot at the top of the leaderboard.
Devin Ryan and Ascalitta SBK Z laid down a solid round of their own, crossing the wire just fractions of a second behind Chapot and Calafornia. The 8-year-old Zangersheide mare impressed the crowd with her athletic effort around the track. Although the pair was nearly flawless, their approach presented a slightly more conservative effort, and caused them to fall just short of the first place spot. They crossed the timers in a clear 66.296 seconds, ultimately securing the red ribbon at the end of the night.
Alex Matz and Horseshoe Trail Farm LLC’s VDL Nikita Van De Leeuwerk entered the Dixon Oval ready to put together a winning effort. In order to take the top spot, the pair needed to be quick and clear to take over Chapot’s impressive lead. The Devon Horse Show & Country Fair set the perfect scene for the stunning 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. She did not crack under the pressure and did not waiver at an opportunity to flaunt her scope. The duo put in an energetic round in exemplary jumper fashion. Utilizing the mare’s speediness, Matz made all of the difficult turns, however, was just shy of Chapot’s winning time, settling them into the third place spot on the leaderboard with a time of 66.379 seconds.
Earlier in the day, Meredith Schramm-Strosser and De Novo, a 14-year-old gelding, clinched the win in the $1,000 Thoroughbred Jumper Stake. Close behind Strosser was Sophie Davish aboard Roger Seitzmer’s 11-year-old gelding, Geaux Play. Although the pair was quick and clear, they were unable to surpass Strosser’s speedy time. Taking home the yellow ribbon in the Thoroughbred Jumper Stake was Conor O’Regan aboard Leslie Kopp’s Cesar VDB Z, a 15-year-old warmblood gelding.
Prior to the $5,000 Speed Stake, the High Junior Amateurs took center stage in the Dixon Oval. Abby Grabowski and her gelding Quantum Trost 3, an 11-year-old Holsteiner, raced to the blue ribbon with great joy. Earning the red ribbon was Sima Morgello aboard Irseline VD Hagenhorst, a 9-year-old KWPN mare owned by Double S Farm LLC. Rounding out the podium was Kate Mulligan aboard her own Colourfly, an 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Laura Chapot – $5,000 Speed Stake
On her win:
“It’s really exciting! Calafornia really enjoys the speed classes and I thought he was really perfect tonight. He was right there with me every step of the way and I just stuck with my plan all the way around. Fortunately I was able to hold off everyone else and was able to finish on top.”
On the course:
“I think the course was just right. It was difficult enough that you really had to think about jumping clear so it wasn’t just a race as to who was going to be the fastest. In the end, you really did have to put in a good, solid, clear and fast round. Sometimes when it’s a Table III. it can be super crazy and you have to take a lot of risks and I think the course really lent itself very nice preparation for some of those horses that are going tomorrow night.”
On the Devon Fall Classic:
“Devon is always great! We had a nice crowd tonight. They are always very knowledgeable and very supportive so it’s always a lot of fun being back at Devon.”
$5,000 Speed Classic
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Time | R1 Faults
1. Calafornia / Laura Chapot / Mary Chapot / 65.896 | 0
2. Ascalitta SBK Z / Devin Ryan / Devin Ryan / 66.296 | 0
3. VDL Nikita Van De Leeuwerk / Alex Matz / VDL Nikita Van De Leeuwerk / 66.379
4. Jelster Van Stal Romano / Gracie Allen / Robert Allen / 66.764
5. Gideon / Laura Chapot / Mary Chapot / 67.546
6. Junior Kannan / Alex Matz / Dorothy Matz / 69.989
7. Heros S / Charlotte Murray / Peter Leone / 72.275
8. Chicco W / Collin Reynolds / Brian Murphy / 72.736
9. Big Berry / Matthias Hollberg / Mattias Holberg / 74.066
10. Naturel De Walput / Dominique Damico / Dominique Damico / 80.520
11. Conny 409 / Kama Michelle Godek / Kama Michelle Godek / 81.281
12. Porlando De Rou / Mia Mannis / Ibrahim Barazi / 81.716