Lexington, Kentucky, USA – April 26, 2019 – A different kind of sport horse came out to play on the first night of the Kentucky Invitational CSI 3*, presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, and to bask in the atmosphere of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Mars Equestrian.
Karl Cook (USA) and Caillou 24 went early in the order for the $36,000 Welcome Stake, but their clean round in 65.47 seconds held up as the evening went on.
Connor Swail (IRL) & GK Coco Chanel
Ireland’s Connor Swail (IRL) came the closest, with a time of 65.68 aboard GK Coco Chanel, while countryman Kevin Babington took third with Shorapur in 66.02 seconds.
Several competitors came to grief at the T-shaped Split Rock Jumping Tour fence, but Cook and Caillou 24 sailed over it easily, with the big, gray 12-year-old Holsteiner (Casall x Corrado I) mare loping home clean and fast.
“I didn’t think my time would hold up,” Cook said. “And I didn’t want to be too excited, to be honest, because it would be weird to be super excited and then have the next person beat me, but I just went as fast as I could.”
Completing tonight’s speed class was compulsory to contest Saturday’s big class, the $225,000 Kentucky Invitational CSI 3* presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, and some riders played it safe in preparation for tomorrow’s class. But, there were plenty who wanted a piece of the $36,000 prize money for the Welcome Stake.
Cook, 28, made the trip to Kentucky from Southern California and was thrilled to get the win on the opening night.
Karl Cook (USA) & Caillou 24
“We were clear and I was happy,” Cook said, adding that he likes to give the crowd a fun performance. “When they come, you like to give a good show. The venue is great, and the atmosphere here is great, and it makes you want to ride better.”
Cook also emerged with a new good luck charm: he was wearing a silver tie emblazoned with the face of his wife’s new puppy. Cook is married to actress and fellow equestrian Kaley Cuoco (USA).
Source: Press release by Marty Baumann / Classic Communications for Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Eventing / Split Rock Jumping Tour / Kentucky Inviational
Photos: © Michelle Dunn
Categories: CSI 3*