Harrisburg, Pa.—Oct. 19
When Beezie Madden and Coach zipped around the jump-off for the $134,000 Prix de Penn National course, the audience gasped at the tight inside turn she made to a vertical in the middle of the ring. Their efficient track looked simply unbeatable. But Molly Ashe Cawley wasn’t going to give up.
She and Adamo went for broke, matching that inside turn and taking a stride out of the last line to shave fractions of a second of Madden’s time.
“I threw style right on out the window and went for the old Hail Mary, pony-kicking like a mad woman the whole way down the last line,” said Cawley. “It was a little terrifying from where I was sitting, I’m not going to lie. He stepped up, thank God. That five [strides] was not even in the realm of possibility when I landed off the vertical. I have two children; every part of me was like, ‘pull, pull’ but he was good.”
Beat Mändli and Galan S, the winners from Thursday’s $60,000 Pennsylvania Big Jump, shaved an even tighter turn than Cawley, but didn’t cut the stride out of the last line to finish less than .1 seconds slower than her to finish second.
“To be honest I didn’t see Beezie because I was a little late,” said Mändli. “I thought we had 10 minutes in between [the first round and the jump-off] so I was running back. But obviously Beezie is a very fast rider and I heard that Molly was even faster so I thought that I’d have to try everything to beat them. I planned the five to the last but it just wasn’t there. And I thought the turn in the middle and the vertical in the middle was quite OK but yeah, I wasn’t fast enough obviously.”
Last to go in the jump-off, Amy Millar knew she had her work cut out for her aboard Truman.
“My horse actually tripped after No. 2, and that wasted a little bit of time,” said Millar, who finished third. “I think if he hadn’t tripped there I could have done one less to that double combination and that could have helped. When I walked in the ring I wasn’t even sure if I was going to do the inside turn, because, I didn’t want to be defeatist, but I watched [Mändli] and I was like ‘ugh, that’s second!’ This is ridiculous!”
This marks Cawley’s second win in the Prix De Penn National, her first coming in 2003. She was thrilled with Adamo, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Lupicor—Springsteen).
“He likes a smooth ride, and that was not smooth!” she said. “He gets worried a little bit if you start flailing at him and he almost comes back at you. The first round I was really happy with him. I thought we were doing the right thing. I might be repairing from this evening for a few rounds after. But he’s a fun horse. He’s got lots of mileage and experience and he is a fast horse when he’s on his game.”
Cawley has been coming to Harrisburg her entire life.
“I’ve been showing here since I was 5 years old,” she said. “My mother made me show here when I was 5 and I ended up behind the saddle at some point on course. It was terrifying. My daughter showed here for the first time this year. There’s a lot of experiences here good and bad. I almost killed myself in the Medal one year—I literally left in the ambulance. It’s fun to come back. It’s fun to have my kid doing it now and enjoying it with her, reliving my childhood with my mother. It’s always fun when there’s history involved.”