Lexington, Kentucky, USA – July 23, 2020 – The Rolex Stadium was teeming with top-notch competition Thursday afternoon as a lofty 47 entries took to the ring in hopes of securing the win in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic. The first of five events making up the 2020 Hagyard Challenge Series, the bar was set high as riders navigated Bobby Murphy’s 16-effort track in hopes of accruing points towards the end-of-series $25,000 Hagyard Challenge Leading Rider Bonus. Proving that the best is often saved for last, Claire McKean delivered the fastest clear of the day to earn her first big win of 2020.
Murphy’s course proved to challenge riders as rails fell down early on in the afternoon. Alejandro Karolyi (VEN) was the first to post a clear ride aboard Monica Carrera’s Lincourt Gino and the next clear would not follow until seven rounds later when Ryan Genn (USA) and Colora, owned by Wilhelm Genn, would cross the timers with all rails intact. Karolyi and Genn would be joined by just six other riders as the long list of entrants whittled away one-by-one: Sharn Wordley (NZL), Wilhelm Genn (GER), Kyle Dewar (USA), Sam Walker (CAN), Tanner Korotkin (USA) and last, but not least, McKean (USA).
First in the ring for the jump-off was Karolyi who fell victim to both the time allowed and the shortened course, finishing his day on 5 total faults. Following Karolyi was Ryan Genn who set the pace with a clear round and a time of 42.10 seconds to take an early lead. Genn’s father, Wilhelm Genn, followed suit, determined to give his son a run for his money, but fell just shy of the required time to beat stopping the timers at 42.12 seconds. Eager to surpass the current leading time, Dewar and Walker would both deliver lightning-fast rounds, but their hopes of winning would topple as the top pole of fence seven hit the sand.
Two more clear rounds came from Korotkin and Wordley, both of which were unable to top Genn’s time.
The last to give the jump-off a go was Texas native McKean aboard her own entry, Isabelle, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, McKean powered through the course shaving off an impressive one and a half seconds from Genn’s leading time to claim the victory. McKean left Ryan Genn in second place with Colora, followed by Wilhelm Genn in third place aboard Van Gogh.
The Rolex Stadium will resume jumper competition at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning with the High Junior/Amateur Jumpers. Show jumping will continue at the Kentucky Horse Park throughout Sunday, July 26, with the $50,000 Rood and Riddle Grand Prix on Saturday serving as the week’s feature event.
Winner’s Circle – Claire McKean
“I have only had her for about a year and a half. She is 11 years old! I got her from Kent Farrington and I started doing her in the Under 25 division last circuit and she has just produced up the ranks. She was my Young Riders gold medal-winning horse in Hagen, Germany for the Nations Cup and she has always just been such a fighter. She is super.”
On her plan going into the jump-off:
“I was planning on just going for a nice clear but I was told to do otherwise! I kind of just rode my round and tried to go as fast as possible. She is quick on her own so I was very, very happy with her. She was smart at every jump.”
On competing at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show:
“It is awesome to be back here in Kentucky! I haven’t shown in Kentucky for quite a few years because we usually spend our summers in Europe. Being back here has been so nice and refreshing. Being at the Kentucky Horse Park makes me feel like I am a kid again because this is where I grew up showing! The horse show has great COVID-19 protocols in place with people being required to wear face coverings and the seating being closed off. They are making it as easy as possible for all of us to get back to showing while following the guidelines. We feel really safe here and I feel like they are doing a great job. This show is treating us well so I am having a really good time!”
Results – $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Claire McKean (USA) & Isabelle / Claire McKean / 0 | 79.96 / 0 | 40.64
2. Ryan Genn (USA) & Colora / Wilhelm Genn / 0 | 78.38 / 0 | 42.11
3. Wilhelm Genn (GER) & Van Gogh / Wilhelm Genn / 0 | 80.42 / 0 | 42.12
4. Tanner Korotkin (USA) & Country Boy / Sandalwood Farm / 0 | 76.64 / 0 | 43.16
5. Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Barnetta / Abrahamson Equestrian LLC and Sharn Wordley / 0 | 79.50 / 2 | 44.02
6. Sam Walker (CAN) & Kel’Star Du Vingt Ponts / / Castlefield Sport Horses Inc. / 0 | 79.76 / 4 | 41.45
7. Kyle Dewar (USA) & Clever Van De Helle / Kyle Dewar / 0 | 76.63 / 4 | 41.80
8. Alejandro Karolyi (VEN) & Lincourt Gino / Monica Carrera / 0 | 75.70 / 5 | 47.23
9. Sloan Hopson (USA) & Dalida / Sloan Hopson / 2 | 83.72
10. Megan Bash (USA) & Z Diamanty / Cleveland Equestrian / 3 | 84.559
11. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Alejandro / Sweet Oak, Spy Coast and Seabrook / 4 | 76.37
12. Tanner Korotkin (USA) & Deauville S / Castlewood Farm, Inc. / 4 | 76.53
Source: Press release by Meagan Delisle / for Phelps Media Group for the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Georgie Hammond