Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Kentucky, USA. – July 26, 2018 – The $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic proved to be a challenge for the 41 horse and rider combinations that were entered on first Thursday of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show Series. Only three riders, all men, were able to make it over the long course, designed by Kentucky’s favorite course designer: Bobby Murphy. In the end, Chris Ewanouski (USA) and Castle Point Farm’s Binja raced across the timers to take home the top honors with a time of 38.906 seconds.
Alex Granato (USA) & Carlchen W
Alex Granato (USA) and Carlchen W came in second with no penalties and a jump-off time of 39.456 seconds.
Scott Creech (AUS) and Chicco W
Australia’s Scott Creech (AUS) and Chicco W rounded out the top three spots backed by a second run in 41.741 seconds.
Ewanouski is no stranger to the Rolex Arena. A summer resident of Lexington, he routinely shows and teaches clients at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show Series and has had several important victories here, as well. Listed as seventh in the original order of go, Ewanouski closely followed Alex Granato on Carlchen W as early clears in the class until Creech and Chicco W posted the final clear round almost an hour later.
Heading into the jump-off, Ewanouski knew that he would need to take advantage of the 12-year-old KWPN mare’s large stride in order to catch Granato, who is notoriously quick and leaves no room for error on the part of his fellow riders. Binja, who had several top ten finishes recently at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, made two important tight right turns at the beginning and end of the jump-off to inch out Carlchen W. The large bay mare, who also competes in the High Junior/Amateur divisions with her owner, Lindsey Strafuss, won the class with half of a second to spare.
The athletes in tonight’s class were especially competitive as the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic was the third class in the Hagyard Challenge Series, which promises the top riders a sizeable bonus at the end of the summer. The series consists of seven grand prix classes and, following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider who accumulates the most points throughout the series. With series leading riders spread out across the country, the race for the bonus is still incredibly intense.
Riders were further competing for the title of Leading Open Jumper Rider of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Presented by Envisian Products to the Open Jumper competitor that accumulates the most points over the week-long schedule, the Leading Rider Award is another reason that many riders choose to compete multiple horses in the bigger classes.
Chris Ewanouski and Binja with representatives from Hagyard Equine Medial Institute
Grand prix competition will continue in the Rolex Stadium this Saturday evening with the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix.
For more information on the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, please visit http://www.hagyard.com
From the Winners Circle
Chris Ewanouski – $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Winner
“Binja is owned by Castle Point Farm. She came from Sloane Coles and Sloane showed her two winters ago. Then, Lindsey Strafuss and Castle Point Farm bought her and Lindsey has been showing her in the Amateurs a little bit, but she has another young horse that she’s been bringing along so I’ve gotten to show Binja in a couple of the grand prix this summer. She’s been awesome. She’s super scopey and really brave. She’s very honest, very straightforward and has a huge stride. She has all of the things that you want in a horse.”
On his plan in the first round:
“Binja has a huge stride and is really scopey, so a lot of those lines that might have been comfortable for some people or maybe even a little forward actually ended up really steady for her. I had to be mindful of that everywhere when I watch other people.”
On his plan in the jump off:
“Her stride really worked in my favor. All of the lines in the jump-off were a little forward so there wasn’t anywhere that I had to really slow down except maybe into the double combination. She’s lightning fast at turning, especially to the right, and I caught a really good one at the oxer at fence three and I took a little bit of a chance at the second to last vertical off of that right slice. I think those were maybe the two places where she was a little faster.”
On competing at the Kentucky Horse Park:
“I love everything about Kentucky. We have a farm right down the street and for us it’s a perfect base for the six months of the year that we’re here. We love showing at the Kentucky Horse Park. We love that there’s so much space, the footing is great, the courses are nice, the stadium is amazing and it’s not too far to get to other shows.”
On the Hagyard Leading Rider Award Bonus:
“I think that the bonus is something that people really go for and makes the Thursday classes more than just a welcome grand prix. It’s a class that people are trying to be really competitive in because the bonus itself is pretty competitive, and I think it brings a lot of top riders that are competing at all the big shows to Kentucky.”
On his win:
“Any time you have a win like this it gives you a boost of confidence. It gives validation to all of the hard work, long hours and effort that you put into it. It all kind of comes together in a class like this, which is awesome.”
Results – $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
Place / Horse / Rider / Country – R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Chris Ewanouski & (USA) & Binja – 0 | 80.816 / 0 | 38.906
2. Alex Granato (USA) & Carlchen W – 0 | 81.469 / 0 | 39.456
3. Scott Keach (AUS) & Chicco W – 0 | 81.362 / 0 | 41.741
4. Alex Granato (USA) & Beorn – 1 | 82.548
5. Sydney Shulman (USA) & Ardente Printaniere – 4 | 76.657
6. McKayla Langmeier (USA) & Laney – 4 | 79.272
7. Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Hunters Conlypso II – 4 | 80.262
8. Jack Hardin Towell (USA) & Concept – 4 | 80.853
9. Callie Schott (USA) & Christiaan – 4 | 81.033
10. Liza Finsness (USA) & Shiver – 5 | 82.253
11. Kaely Tomeu (USA) & Elizabeth – 5 | 82.646
12. Celso Ariani (BRA) & Janari Ter Dolen – 6 | 83.303
Source: Press Release by Rebecca Walton / Phelps Media Group for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Lenore Phillips