Fifty-six entries contested Saturday night’s $132,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic Final. In the class format, 25 percent of entries advanced to the second round, regardless of faults, and carried their first round faults through. Fourteen entries competed over the fast track designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. of Germany, and it was Lucas Porter (USA) who ended up clear in 47.90 seconds for the win on Diamonte Darco, a 13-year-old GBSH mare by Unbelievable Darco owned by Sleepy P Ranch LLC.
“Jeroen [Dubbeldam], my coach, told me to go into the jump-off and go as fast as I can and go as tight as I can, which usually wins most jump-offs,” said Porter of his jump-off strategy. “He has an eye for a horse but also how to win a class like nobody I’ve ever seen. When he tells you to do something, if you do it right, you usually get the result that you’re hoping for.”
Porter had a change in outlook two days ago that he believes helped him to this win.
“I actually hadn’t been riding too well the last couple weeks,” explained the 20-year-old freshman at Vanderbilt University. “I played nine holes of golf actually two days ago by myself. I kind of just changed my mindset, like how I think about riding, how I go into the ring, how I warm-up. I applied it today and yesterday also, and I’ve ridden much better since.
“It’s a huge deal for me, for our team, for the horse,” he said of his victory. “I’ve been coming to WEF since I was probably eight or nine years old – 11 or 12 years, which is nowhere near some of the people out here, but just growing up watching the greats of our sport today win grands prix when I was eight and then being lucky to jump in it now tonight and win it is just special. As a little kid you see that; you see McLain or Beezie or Laura Kraut or Kent Farrington winning [and] you just hope one day that you get in that position. I’m pretty stoked that it’s today.”
Amber Harte (USA) & Austria 2
Second place with a double clear round were Amber Harte (USA) and Austria 2, owned by Take The High Road LLC, who recorded a time of 49.30 seconds.
It was another top finish for Harte, who only started riding in FEI international classes at this time last year. Harte was proud of her 1.40m FEI win at the 2017 WEF, and her recent success includes 17 top ten FEI ranking class finishes since March 2017 with Austria 2 and Cafino.
Harte said of her results, “To be able to do the summer that we had and to be able to do these Saturday night classes and to have good results, I’m delighted. I’m over the moon.”
“My partnership with Austria is based on trust,” she said of the Holsteiner mare by Casall x Corrado I. “She is a really, really special mare. She gives her heart and soul all the time, every time, to the job. I’m just really lucky to be able to ride her. She’s an interesting little horse. She’s very mighty.”
Kelli Cruciotti (USA) & Chamonix H
Kelli Cruciotti (USA) and Chamonix H, owned by Serenity Farm, were third after going double clear in 49.85 seconds.
At 17 years old, Chamonix H is a not only a veteran show jumper, but a survivor of two major colic surgeries. After Cruciotti and her team made the decision to retire her last year, they found that the mare’s attitude was still that of competitor.
“We were not feeling like it was in her best interest to continue as a top-level sport horse,” explained Cruciotti of the Swedish Warmblood mare by Equest Carnute x Caletto II. “She kind of had her own plan in mind. She has the most amazing heart that I’ve ever ridden on a horse. Last July, when she was retired, she was really miserable. We had to do something. I’m really fortunate that I have the team that I do that put their heads together and really figured out what makes her the most comfortable and brought her back slowly, one-meter classes, 1.10m. This is actually probably her second biggest class back. She is 17, so she definitely has the experience. I didn’t have to worry about that. It’s really special for me to be able to share it with her.”
Full Results here.
Source: Press Release by Jennifer Woood Media for ESP / WEF
Photos: © Sportfot