Thursday evening at the Kentucky Spring Classic was highlighted by the $36,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*, the second event in the seven-part series, sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Hosted in the Rolex Stadium on a picturesque evening, 62 competitors tried their hand in an attempt to capture the win. Ultimately it was Karl Cook (USA) and Caillou 24 who walked away with the lion’s share of prize money after producing the quickest clean and clear jump-off.
Designed by Great Britain’s Kelvin Bywater, Thursday’s track featured 16 efforts for horse-and-rider combinations. The course offered a number of technical elements, including three double combinations. The time allowed of 77 seconds did not pose an issue for many riders throughout the course of the night. As first in the order of go, the first clear was produced by 17-year-old Brian Moggre and MTM Vivre Le Reve, the winners of the first installment of the Hagyard series, taking placing last week at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Following Moggre’s effort, 12 more pairs would produce clean and clear rounds, riding expertly through Bywater’s course.
With a jump-off course that asked athletes to tackle six elements, including two new fences on course, Moggre was first on course once again. With one rail down, Moggre left the field wide open for the remaining contenders to steal first place. It wouldn’t be until three trips in that a swift and clean round would be seen when Peter Wylde (USA) and Van De Emma finished on a time of 46.02 seconds. Two trips later, Sharn Wordley (NZL) and his own Casper would take over the lead by nearly three seconds.
Next to take over the lead would be Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Risen, stopping the timers at an impressive 39.88 seconds. However, that time wouldn’t hold them in the lead for long as Cook and Caillou 24, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, entered the ring one trip later. Utilizing his horse’s big stride, Cook sped around the open jump-off course in 39.10 seconds, a time that would prove impossible to beat. Last to try their hand was Lorcan Gallagher of Ireland aboard the Dacantos Group’s Hunters Conlypso II. Although it looked as if the pair might speed past Cook’s time, they fell just eight tenths of a second short.
Ultimately finishing in the second place position was Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Risen, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Bull Run Jumpers LLC. Lorcan Gallagher and his mount, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, sealed a third place finish with their time of 41.00 seconds. Gallagher is a competitive contender in the Hagyard Challenge Series, winning the series and the $50,000 rider’s bonus in the 2018 season.
Thursday’s win adds to Cook’s recent success at the Kentucky Horse Park with Caillou 24, owned by Signe Otsby. The pair captured another win in the $36,000 Welcome Stake at the Kentucky Invitational after conquering a competitive field of athletes in April.
The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven show jumping events held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington throughout the 2019 show season, with the next leg being hosted at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show in the Rolex Stadium. The following three shows to host a Hagyard Lexington Classic event include the Kentucky Summer Classic, the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show and the KHJA Horse Show. The series will culminate during the Kentucky National Horse Show at the end of September, where the rider who accumulates the most points throughout the series will receive a $50,000 Leading Rider Award, presented upon completion of the seventh event, the $60,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic.
Jumper competition will resume in the Rolex Stadium on Friday morning with the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.45m beginning at 8:00 a.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Karl Cook – $36,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* winner
On Caillou 24:
“We got him when he was 7 [years old] and he’s been with us for a while. He’s really spooky so some days are good and some are bad, but today was a great day. He was pretty solid in the first round. There were some places where we struggled, like the first fence into the liverpool double [combination], but that happened to a lot of people. In the jump-off he spooked a lot to fence one, but after that he was really solid.”
On the jump-off:
“There weren’t many options for me in the strides. He has a really big step and he takes a long time to add so the goal is to just not pull the reins as much as possible. It was also an open jump-off – you could actually gallop which suits him because he has such a big step. The plan was just to get on a canter and keep going and really hope that the distances show up. I think I made up time at the second to last fence, at the plank. I landed well off the liverpool oxer and I went and we both saw the distance. Some horses were looking at the gazebo and the riders had to add there but for me it just showed up in my eye and in his eye, so I think that’s where we made up the time.”
“My wife and I love Kentucky. We love horses and we love bourbon. It’s just fun to be out here and around different people. The competition is stiffer – it’s harder, there’s more people and big jump-offs. There’s a lot of competitors so it’s great to come out and compete against them. Everyone’s nice here and we love it.”