Lexington, Ky.—April 29
Tamie Smith went home Friday a little disappointed after her dressage test on Mai Baum at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*-L; she felt her strong test didn’t earn a high enough mark. But today’s performance put a big smile on her face, when she and the 17-year-old German Sport Horse (Loredano 2—Ramira, Rike) put in one of six double-clear rounds over Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course to move from third place into the lead.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” said Smith, Murrieta, California. “That horse is such a fighter. He has a huge heart, and we have a huge partnership. He’s what dreams are made of.”
Two years ago Smith and “Lexus” lay just off the lead heading into cross-country day when they activated a frangible device at the Park Question coffin to fall out of contention. That incident was in the back of her mind this year, as the pair cantered toward that combination again.
“I was definitely happy it was at the beginning of the course,” she said. “Jumping in he jumped great over the rails, but when he jumped the ditch he went very direct—which was probably good because the two was quite long, and I didn’t really know that. I didn’t get to watch [how it rode in the early rounds] very much. I was really happy to have that behind me.”
She admitted that she got a bit lucky when Tom McEwen and his newer ride, JL Dublin, notched 5.2 time faults to allow her to move into the lead. But McEwen didn’t mind taking a little extra time.
“Once you get to know a horse through the years, you know what you can do, but for me it was the right decision for today [to take extra time], and realistically what has it cost us? Maybe three places?” said the British rider. “And, yes, I am competitive, but there’s more to life than taking too many risks.
“I learned an awful lot from him [during this course,]” he continued. “Boekelo [CCIO4*-L (the Netherlands), which he contested last year] was a lovely course—nothing to take away [but]—this was our first proper test together. It says so much for how well Nicola’s done with him. I’ve done four [open intermediates], one four-long, which was a nice four-long, and then came to a proper five-star. It’s a pleasure to ride him.”
Liz Halliday-Sharp also has had a shorter tenure with her mount Miks Master C, pairing up with him less than a year ago. But in Kentucky they moved up to third after adding just 1.6 time penalties to sit little more than a rail behind Mai Baum going into show jumping.
“He was amazing,” said the rider, who splits her time between Lexington, Kentucky, and Ocala, Florida. “He got a little strong on me, he’s some big-engine machine. He’s amazing. I think that’s where my time faults came: I just got a little down [on the clock] early on because I had to manage him a little bit. And then he’s just got so much power and stride and engine—he wasn’t slightly tired at the end, and I was a little bit running out of controls at the end. I was like, ‘Whoa boy, let’s get this done in your first five-star.’ ”
Former world champion Sandra Auffarth brought Viamant Du Matz from Germany to the Bluegrass State, and her double-clear round boosted her from ninth to fourth.
“He felt very good and very fit, and it was so nice to ride in this beautiful park,” she said. “I always saw it on TV, and I was very happy to come here this year, and I enjoyed it. Here and there I was not sure how many strides I would do, so it was a little bit exciting to ride it. He was super, super straight and super focused. He ran easily in the time, so I’m very proud of him.”
Will Coleman’s Off The Record bounded from 13th to fifth after a faultless round. Coleman has been putting a special focus on that horse’s fitness all season.
“Off The Record was amazing,” he said. “It was amazing how different he’s run each year he’s come here. The first year he came here, it was like his first time playing in the NFL. The second year was a little better, and this year he seemed to finally go out there and attack the whole way around. To get the time on him is a major accomplishment for us. We’ve spent a lot of time brainstorming and conditioning the last couple of years. He has no blood, and it’s a proud moment for us to finish on that dressage score after today.”
A Tricky Course
Dressage leader Yasmin Ingham came to grief at the Park Question (6ABCD), picking up 20 penalties there. She and Banzai Du Loir picked up an addition 20 time penalties to drop down to 21st on a 62.1.
“Unfortunately not our day today,” she said. “It’s the highs and lows of horses, and they’re not machines.
“They remind us of that,” she continued. “But yeah, just an early-on blip unfortunately, and didn’t quite get to the C element of the Park Question. But sort of after that, we put that behind us and cracked on with the rest of the course. And actually you’ve kind of got to take positives from a bad situation sometimes, but overall, I’m really happy that he got stuck back in and finished really, really well.”
Jennie Saville pulled up Stella Artois after that mare felt off, and there was a 20-minute hold on course while she was loaded into a trailer to go to Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Saville got emotional talking about the horse she’s had since her 5-year-old year.
“It was obviously really hard the whole way, around and she didn’t feel right, and I pulled her up,” she said. “I was just thinking about Amy Tryon and thinking about what happened to her with Le Samurai. I always felt so bad for her, and hopefully she’s up there, and I appreciate her looking out for me. I really hope that horse is going to be OK. And I’m the most proud of pulling her up tonight.”
Saville had two other rides today, picking up 11 points for triggering a frangible device on Twilightslastgleam plus 11.2 time faults and putting in a stellar run on FE Lifestyle, adding just 2.4 time penalties to their dressage score to sit 10th heading into show jumping.
“I’m probably biased, but [FE Lifestyle] is the best cross-country horse in the world,” she said. “I was talking to Erik [Duvander] and saying, ‘What order should we do? What order should we do?’ and I’m glad we did that in the order that we did because I don’t think there’s any other horse I could get on and go deliver that result on.”
“Weird day,” she summarized. “Didn’t have any stops or run-outs. I’ve never pulled one up before. I hope she’s OK.”
Thirty-seven pairs set out to contest Derek di Grazia’s five-star cross-country course, and 26 completed it. Lauren Nicholson, who was 17th after dressage, withdrew Landmark’s Monte Carlo on Friday. Six pairs turned in a double-clear performance, with Great Britain’s David Doel and Galileo Nieuwmoed having the fastest round of the day, finishing in 11:07. Emily Hamel and Corvett made the biggest move up the standings, leapfrogging from 31st after dressage to 11th place on the strength of their double-clear round.
Three riders were eliminated. Allie Knowles and Morswood fell at Fence 21, the final element of the Normandy Bank. Booli Selmayr fell from Millfield Lancando at Fence 4A, Mars Sustainability Bay, and five-star first timer Sydney Solomon parted ways with Early Review CBF at the corner at 23B, Cosequin Cove.
Eight riders retired, including Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF, who were sitting in sixth place overnight, after picking up a refusal early on at 4C at Mars Sustainability Bay.
“ ‘Thomas’ has got one flaw as a cross-country horse: He is very, very fresh at the beginning, and he has trouble turning right,” Martin said. “When I walked the course, I knew that would be a challenge, that fence, so I jumped it well, and he was sort of looking for a jump off to the left ,and I was like, ‘Go right, go right!’ and I couldn’t get him there, so I circled around and popped it.
“You know, he’s an older horse who’s been there and done everything, and I didn’t see the point in galloping around for another 11 and a half minutes, so we’ll save him for another day,” he added.
The other pairs who retired were: Buck Davidson on Carlevo, Woods Baughman on C’est La Vie 135, Alina Dibowski on Barbados 26, Colleen Rutledge on Covert Rights, Davidson on Erroll Gobey and Hawley Awad on Jollybo.
Hot Bobo Proves Her Mettle In Cosequin Lexington CCI4*-S
Hot Bobo was never supposed to stay in Karl Slezak’s barn. He purchased the mare at a sale in Ireland as a 4-year-old intending for her to be a sales horse, but things never went to plan when people came to try her.
“She came over, and she was great on the flat, great show-jumper, and everybody loved her there,” he said. “And then they cross-country schooled her, and it was like she’d never seen a cross-country fence before, so suddenly nobody wanted to buy her. It worked out for me really well.”
Slezak found a way to make a good partnership with her, winning the CCI3*-L at the Tryon International Three-Day Event (North Carolina) before moving up to advanced at the beginning of this year.
“She works for me,” he said. “Every time we go in the barn, all my working students joke that when they go in her stall, she pins her ears, and when I go in her stall she’s always up for treats and love.”
Their partnership was on full display on cross-country day in the Cosequin Lexington CCI4*-S, as they turned in one of three double-clear rounds to move into the lead on his dressage score of 29.3.
“She came out of the box and jumped Fence 1 … and she felt on it,” he said. “I landed and kicked her, and she was like, ‘OK, it’s that type of day!’ So she was on it all the way; she was happy to go whenever I kicked her; she was totally on it.”
This is the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse’s second four-star event, but since it’s a Pan American Games year, Slezak wanted to take the opportunity to show “Bobo” some atmosphere.
“The intention was to bring her here, [see] the crowds, and if she was good, then awesome, maybe we’ll be in selection, and if not, we’ll just keep building,” he said.
Tamie Smith moved into second with Solaguayre California, adding just 2.4 time penalties, to head into show jumping on a 30.0.
“She just came out this year and understands her job now,” she said. “It’s been an exciting journey with her. She used to just balloon up over into the water and spook at the coffins, but she just answered all the questions easy. I was really, really pleased with her.”
Liz Halliday-Sharp was in the overnight lead with Cooley Nutcracker, but they triggered a frangible table at Fence 18—earning 11 penalty points—and picked up 4.8 time penalties, to drop to 15th. Her day went better on her second ride, Cooley Be Cool, who was in second after dressage. They added 5.6 time penalties to head into tomorrow on a 31.1.
“I’m thrilled with both my horses,” she said. “I’m obviously very disappointed to have had pin at the frangible table—which the horse barely touched behind—which was a real shame because he gave me a beautiful round. I was totally thrilled with him. For a young horse, he was just spectacular. In my mind, he’s done me proud anyway. He was amazing.
“And Cooley Be Cool, ‘Dave’ to his friends, was a very good boy,” she continued. “He was awesome. He’s had a little bit less fitness runs than some of these guys, so I wasn’t able to be quite as quick as I wanted to be, but he was exceptional and made everything feel easy. He’s a very, very brave horse, so he was nice to run around.”
Three pairs made it around the course without faults within the time: Slezak and Hot Bobo, Phillip Dutton and Azure, who moved up from 29th to sixth, and Leah Lang-Gluscic and AP Prime, who moved from 37th to a tie for 10th.
Three riders—Jenny Caras (Trendy Fernhill), Ariel Grald (Leamore Master Plan) and Lauren LoPiccolo (Diego)—withdrew before cross-country.
Elisa Wallace took a tumble off Renkum Corsair at the Mighty Moguls to end her day. Five riders retired on cross-country: Allie Knowles on Business Class, Will Faudree on Pfun, Alexandra Baugh on MHS Fernhill Finale, Tracey Bienemann on Reg The Ledge, and Madeleine Scott on Crosby’s Gold.
Both divisions will have a horse inspection tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m.
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