NORTH SALEM, N.Y.--Hunter Holloway on Pepita Con Spita won the $200,000 Empire State Grand Prix on Sunday, May 21 at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows.
This was Holloway's first show since winning the bronze medal at April’s World Cup Jumping Finals.
Alan Wade of Ireland designed a 1.55m course with 16 jumping efforts for a field of 31 competitors representing 11 countries, nine of which were clean to go on to jump off.
Holloway was first to go in the jump-off and set the time to beat of 39.40 seconds that only Mark Bluman of Columbia came close to catching with his time of 39.97 seconds.
“I had plenty of fast riders coming after me, so my plan was to just lay down the fastest, cleanest round I could,” Holloway said. “I know my horse very well, and we have a great partnership. She’s naturally quick over the ground; I have a lot of trust in her and just put pedal to the metal today. I did get a little lucky in the first round with only a light rub on the final line, but she was fantastic. I couldn’t be happier.”
Bluman ultimately placed second on Ubiluc, and Mimi Gochman placed third, clean in 41.50 seconds.
McLain Ward, who had dominated the jumper classes earlier in the week, had four faults in the first round to finish 11th.
AMIRA KETTANEH of Hollis, N.H.,, on Enzo won the Governor’s Perpetual Hunt Seat Cup after the top 10 riders with the highest scores returned for a second handy round, where judges Ralph Caristo and Tucker Ericson determined the final placings.
“The first round had a really nice course that asked a lot of questions,” said Kettaneh, who finished with 173 points. “The first line was forward to get us started, and there were a lot of forward-to-collected lines to show the adjustability of the horse. The second round was shorter but still nice. It had a lot of the same exercises, and I thought everyone rode it well.”
Kettaneh is trained by Andre Dignelli of Heritage Farm in Katonah, N.Y.,, who earned the class’s $3,500 Trainer’s Award.
Reese Merna of Mendham, N.J., was second with a score of 170 points, and Caroline Signorino of Basking Ridge, N.J., was third on a score of 169 points.
Signorino then won the $7,500 Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, clean in 32.578 seconds on Hocus Pocus Van De Lucashoeve, and was the Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Championship.
“There were certainly a few moments where I thought someone could catch me, but I knew all I could do was just ride the course,” said Signorino, who was just third to go in a field of 46 entries. “My heart was racing as the class went on. I wasn’t quite sure how to ride the jump-off, especially going so early in the class, but I was hoping to catch a nice first jump and just execute my plan. There were a few lines where he landed very deep, so I had to adjust the strides we had planned, but I saw the distances into all the turns and tried to make up the time where I could. He gave me a great effort today.”
Eliza Kimball of New York, N.Y., was second, clean in 33.300 seconds on Bemol Des Champs, and Maggie Hill of Jackson,Wyo., was third in 33.758 seconds on Cordula G.
Francesca Bolfo of New York, N.Y.,, on Jadalco, clean in 29.133 seconds, won the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic.i
Baylee McKeever of Brewster, N.Y.,, placed second, clean in 29.893 seconds on Formidable, and Carlee McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas was third on Coco Mercedes, clean in 30.065 seconds.
Lee Kellogg Sadrian of Summit, N.J., won both championships for the Amateur-Owner Hunter 36+ divisions, riding Blink and Augustine to victory at the 3’3” and 3’6” heights, respectively.
Stella Propp of New York, N.Y., on Grand Remo was the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion