Lexington, Kentucky, USA – August 19, 2022 – The Kentucky sunset offered a picturesque backdrop for the first feature class of the weekend at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. A total of 43 horse-and-athlete combinations took to the Rolex Stadium to vie for top honors in the $25,000 Bluegrass Classic. At the completion of an exciting 12-horse jump-off, it was Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) and Hunter’s Conlypso II who closed out the evening at the top of the leaderboard, with Samantha Schaefer (USA) and Frasier following closely in second, and Celso Ariani (BRA) aboard Ukulman de La Nutria finishing in third.
Set for the occasion, course designer Peter Grant (CAN) built the 1.50m course around the large arena testing horse-and-rider partnerships with wide oxers, a triple combination, and a one stride. Giving some trouble to the first few entries, the crowd did not see a clear round effort until eighth in the order. Samantha Schaefer (USA) and Frasier, owned by Bonne Vie LLC, put their partnership to the test by laying down the first fault-free effort of the night with a time of 77.661 seconds.
Immediately following was Jimmy Torano (USA) aboard his own Chewbacca, who blazed through the timers clean and within the time allowed at 78.369 seconds. The trend continued as Filippo Pignatti (ITA) aboard Ideaal ES, and Celso Ariani (BRA) aboard Ukulman de La Nutria added their names to the 12-horse jump-off list.
The shortened track consisted of eight elements, including 8A and 8B, tight rollback turns, and one vertical that was not included in the first round. Jump-off contenders were not phased by the new track as they put their best rides forward in order to take home top honors.
Celso Ariani (BRA) and the 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding were next to compete under the lights. The pair produced another fault-free round, but a mere two seconds kept them from earning the top prize as they cleared the final fence at 43.720 seconds. Kalvin Dobbs (USA) and Evita DKG were next to contest, leaving all the jumps up and riding to a time of 46.200 seconds to ultimately place 6th overall. Halfway through the jump-off order, Sarah Hubbard (USA) and Latino Van De Looise Hei took to the stadium with speed, but an unfortunate refusal and parting of ways at fence 8a landed the pair in 12th overall.
Strong jump-off contender, Kelli Cruciotti-Vanderveen (USA) and Isabella van de Zuuthoeve laid down their second clear effort of the night, landing them in fourth place overall with a time of 43.939 seconds.
Nearing the end of the jump-off list, Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) and the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding took on the challenge to contest with Schaefer’s 2-second lead. The pair wasted no time in the air and covered the ground with efficiency as they rode to the new fastest time of 40.524 seconds, knocking Schaefer into second place by 0.6 seconds.
Not to be outdone by the professionals, the accomplished junior rider Augusta Iwasaki (USA) and her mount Fresca carefully dashed around the shortened track in hopes of stealing the lead. Iwasaki piloted Fresca to a new fastest time 39.444 seconds, but an unfortunate knockdown at the final oxer left the pair settling for a 10th place finish. Kara Jones (USA) and End Game, Chris Ewanouski (USA) and Echo VH Gerendal Z, and Mattias Ekeroth (SWE) aboard Haydee M all completed the shortened track, but none were able to shake up the top three placings.
For Gallagher, winning today’s class was a special one for him and his partner of five years. “I haven’t been showing [Hunters Conlypso II] a lot due to an injury last year, so this is his first Grand Prix back,” commented Gallegher. “He is always a mister reliable for me.”
Winner’s Circle – Lorcan Gallagher (IRL)
On the course:
“I thought it was a nice course. It was fair and I thought it rode quite well. There were about 40 in it and 12 clears. The time allowed was spot on and these are always great classes. It worked out well.”
On Hunters Conlypso II:
“Hunters Conlypso, he is 14-years-old now and I have had him since he was a 9-year-old. He has actually won quite a few of these classes now. I haven’t been showing him a lot due to an injury last year so this is his first grand prix back. He is always a mister reliable for me.”
On being in Kentucky:
“It is really great here. I base here in the summer. I moved here in the beginning of May and we have been showing since. We stay here through October until we head back to Wellington.”
Final Results – $25,000 Bluegrass Classic
1) Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Hunters Conlypso II – 0 / 0 – 40.524
2) Samantha Schaefer (USA) & Frasier – 0 / 0 – 41.193
3) Celso Ariani (BRA) & Ukulman de La Nutria – 0 / 0 – 43.72
4) Kelly Cruciotti Vanderveen (USA)& Isabella Van De Zuuthoeve – 0 / 0 – 42.939
5) Jimmy Torano (USA) & Chewbacca – 0 / 0 – 43.95
6) Kalvin Dobbs() & Evita DKG – 0 / 0 – 46.02
7) Chris Ewanouski (USA) & Echo VH Gerendal Z – 0 / 0 – 47.702
8) Filippo Pignatti (ITA) & Ideaal ES – 0 / 0 – 48.131
9) Kara Jones (USA) & End Game – 0 / 0 – 48.514
10) Augusta Iwasaki (USA) & Fresca – 0 / 0 – 39.444
11) Mattias Ekeroth (SWE) & Haydee M – 0 / 0 – 48.875
12) Sarah Hubbard (USA) & Latino Van De Looise Hei – 0 / 0 – 76.406
Source: Press Release by Jessica Brighenti Phelps Media for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Bailey Beal