Parker, CO - June 5, 2014 - Speed was key in the $15,000 Open Welcome Stake at Summer in the Rockies I, and Armando Hassey stepped on the gas, riding Lambert Louis to the number one spot.
Course designer Mauricio Garcia set a first round course in the Kathy and Brad Coors Family Grand Prix Arena that was fairly inviting but tested horses and riders with a tight time allowed. Just four of the 17 combinations advanced to the jump-off, with many incurring time faults even after the time allowed was adjusted from 82 seconds to 87 seconds following the first three rounds. It was all part of Garcia's plan to prepare riders for Saturday's $25,000 Holiday Inn of Parker Grand Prix.
"My biggest accomplishment today was try to make the riders get ready for the kind of time allowed that I'm going to be working for the Grand Prix," Garcia said. "The course was welcoming, and it wasn't too big, but they didn't expect me to make them go forward. I kept the time allowed little bit tight but not outrageous, and they realized that they needed to go forward."
Spectators held their breath and cheered for riders as they raced to make the time. Hassey, who rode two of his three mounts to clear and fast first rounds, enjoyed the challenge.
"I felt very confident with all of my horses," he said. "We've been training all winter in Wellington, where time allowed is a big issue, and you've got to ride it like a jump-off. So I liked that it was tight - I was happy that the course designer did it that way."
He was the first rider in the order to make it to the jump-off, piloting Saveur de B'Neville to a clear first round as the eighth to go. Bjorn Ikast and Colorado, 14th to go, were the next to join him. Hassey returned 16th in the order with Lambert Louis, and the final rider, Paul Rohrbach, also earned a spot in the jump-off with Camerino.
Garcia described the course for the jump-off as "straightforward, with a little bit of rollback." It featured several single verticals and oxers, as well as a seven-stride line from an in-and-out to a vertical that proved to be the key to Hassey's win.
Hassey was aiming for experience for Saveur de B'Neville, an 8-year-old mare owned by MHJ Sales LLC, and she had three rails in the jump-off. Ikast and Bovee Limited Liability's Colorado followed, jumping clear in a time of 44.532 seconds.
When Hassey returned to the ring with Lambert Louis, he opted to take advantage of the horse's big step and do six strides in the seven-stride line, resulting in a speedy time of 41.445 seconds. Paul Rohrbach and Camerino had the final chance at the prize, and they fell just short, finishing in 42.978 seconds.
"Armando is usually very fast - he's quite a good speed rider," Rohrbach said. "I did seven strides in the line from the in and out to the Nutrena, and I was about a second behind and about a stride behind. I did that based on the fact that Camerino is still a little bit of a new ride for me and has the tendency to be a little downhill anyway, and I thought if I'm going to ask for a gift, I'd rather do it Saturday in the Grand Prix."
"He was plenty fast enough, he was right on the time and right on the track, and he just rode and jumped beautifully, so I'm happy with that," he added. "It's a great prize check. This was a little more course today, and all of my horses really performed quite well."
Hassey was also pleased with the success of Lambert Louis, who he says is a character around the barn.
"He's a big goofy guy," Hassey said. "He's fun to be around, and he always wants the attention."
Lambert Louis was purchased from Germany a year and a half ago and has competed in the junior jumpers with owner Cora Leeuwenburg. Cora's mother, Ingher Leeuwenburg, said she has enjoyed watching him progress into the professional ranks.
"This is exactly where we hoped he'd be by this summer," she said. "It's very exciting to have a horse moving up the ranks."
Hassey and Rohrbach, along with the other top jumper riders in Colorado for Summer in the Rockies I, will square off again Saturday in the $25,000 Holiday Inn of Parker Grand Prix. Click here for full results from Thursday. Visit the Colorado Horse Park's website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout Summer in the Rockies.
Results: Summer in the Rockies I - Thursday, June 5
$15,000 Open Welcome Stake
1. 321/Lambert Louis/Cora Leeuwenburg/Armando Hassey/4500.00
2. 261/Camerino/Wells Bridge Farm Inc/Paul Rohrbach/3250.00
3. 204/Colorado/Bovee Limited Liability Partnership/Bjorn Ikast/1950.00
4. 318/Saveur de B'Neville/MHJ Sales, LLC/Armando Hassey/1200.00
5. 225/Coco Colette/Rancho Corazon, LLC/Chenoa Mc Elvain/900.00
6. 237/Chantico/Forest View Farm & Karen Ball/John Pearce/700.00
7. 319/Eminem/Taggert Enterprises LLC/Armando Hassey/600.00
8. 206/Chestina Z/Bjorn Ikast/Bjorn Ikast/425.00
9. 236/Johnny B Good/Forest View Farm/John Pearce/425.00
10. 221/WildThing 2/Rancho Corazon, LLC/Chenoa Mc Elvain/350.00
11. 262/Smoke Signal/Wells Bridge Farm Inc/Paul Rohrbach/350.00
12. 263/Akkato/Wells Bridge Farm Inc/Paul Rohrbach/350.00
$500 High Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper
1. 215/Vernon G/Kelsey Van Ackeren/Kelsey Van Ackeren/150.00
2. 313/Carpe Diem/Isabel Johnson/Isabel Johnson/110.00
3. 224/Camilla RC/Guy Mc Elvain/Chenoa Mc Elvain/80.00
Young Jumper 7/8 Year Old
1. 316/Cassino/Armando Hassey/Armando Hassey
2. 214/Hey Joe/Kelsey Van Ackeren/Kelsey Van Ackeren
3. 339/Livia Z/Sharon Granberg/Janet Hischer