Upperville, Va.—June 9
The jump crew at the $75,000 Upperville Jumper Classic got quite a workout picking up poles when no horse jumped a clean first round.
When the three 4-faulters returned for the jump-off, it looked like it might be more of the same. Kyle Timm had a rail aboard Wadisson, leaving the crowd wondering if they would see a clear round at all.
But then Angel Karolyi gave the crowd what they'd been waiting for: a clean go aboard Amigo.
Karolyi's round would be the only fault-free trip of the class, as Ramiro Quintana, the last rider over the short course, had one down as well with Ziedento, securing the win for Karolyi.
The grand prix, held on the grass field, looked deceptively easy, but soggy conditions all week as well as an on-and-off drizzle throughout the competition left some riders hesitant. Ten riders retired on course for problems spread throughout.
Unlike in previous years, the Friday night welcome class had been held in the adjacent all-weather ring that also hosted the hunter derby. Riders in the grand prix were not given a chance to ride on the grass before the class.
“I think if you get a chance to ride in the field earlier in the week you get a feel for what you need to do when the jumps get higher, but that wasn’t the case this time. We had to go straight into the grand prix,” said Karolyi, adding that he enjoys jumping on grass and has competed at Upperville before, although he’s never won the grand prix.
In addition to a large chunk of the prize money, Karolyi also took home an Antares saddle and a golf cart.
“The ground, it’s not sloppy, but it’s soft. The distances were short enough that it’s difficult to keep the shortness of the stride for the horses and keep the engine going,” said Karolyi.
Karolyi rides for Venezuela but bases his operation out of Hollow Creek Farms in Aiken, S.C., with business partner Andrea King. He bought Amigo, a 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Coriano Z—Samantha, Silvester) at the end of the winter circuit in Florida this year.
“It took me a while to get to know him. He’s got a very big step,” said Karolyi. They spent two weeks in Kentucky competing in the 1.3-meter classes to build their partnership, but now they are raring to go. “He is the best horse I’ve ever ridden for sure. So much quality.”
Check out news from yesterday's $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.