Gulfport, Miss. – Mar. 11, 2018 – Sasche, Texas’ Amanda “Happy” Comly had plenty to be happy about Week V at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic! Despite earlier heavy rain, the sun came out and the $25,000 Sidelines Grand Prix, held in Jumper I, installed with KCR footing, saw her gallop to the win, besting a field of eleven horse and rider teams. She also grabbed the ninth place honors with Alexandra Comly’s A & A Balthazar.
“I’ve been here for the past 4 years and this is also where I started when I was just a kid. Even back in 2004, we’ve always moved from the field to the ring when there is a lot of rain-I’ve never had an issue. They really don’t slip on it and I’ve ridden at other shows where the dry footing is really slippery. I don’t have a problem riding out here and it has always held up great. I knew I had to ‘turn and burn’ to win and I knew the footing wouldn’t be an issue,” said Comly.
Manuel Esparza designed the course with 86 seconds time allowed in the first round and six returned for the jump off with a time allowed of 52 seconds.
Christina Athens of Tulsa, Oklahoma and her own Akira TSP were the first to go and the first to turn in a clear round in a time of 85.554 to qualify for the jump off.
Christina Fisher of Alpharetta, Georgia and her own Conero followed with their own clear round in a time of 79.986 seconds and then Scott Lenkart of Bartonville, Texas and Fleur de Lis Farms’ Ziezo added their name to the roster after their first round in a time of 82.583 seconds. Shannon Hicks of Lake St. Louis, Missouri and Helen Gilbert’s Emir D joined the jump off list after turning in a clear first round in a time of 81.861 seconds.
Comly and Clock-Wise CSH followed with their own clear first round in a time of 80.455 seconds, adding themselves to the roster. “Our first round looked a little rough and wasn’t so pretty, but it clicked in the jump off round -when it counted!” said Comly.
Hicks and Helen Gilbert’s Al Pachini were the last to go in the class and added themselves to the jump off order after posting a clear round in a time of 75.057 seconds.
Christina Athens and Akira were the first to go, but four jump faults in a time of 41.579 seconds would see them finish in fourth place. Fisher and Conero followed in the order, but four jump faults and seven time faults for their 58.117 seconds would see them finish in fifth place.
Scott Lenkart and Ziezo followed and turned in the first clear round in a time of 39.197 seconds and set the new time to beat. Hicks and Emir D stepped up to the challenge and although they went clear, their time of 40.052 seconds would see them finish behind Lenkart.
Comly and Clock-Wise CSH followed. “”He is a relatively new horse for me and it’s not like we can practice jump offs at home,” said Comly. “I knew I had to go clean and fast. We’ve done just a few jump offs and they are really a test for me to see how fast I ride it and take the turns. It all came together really well. When I turned, all the distances were right there and he was there with me. We saw the same distance every time,” commented Comly. The pair turned in a clear round in a time of 36.210 seconds and set the new time to beat.
Hicks followed with Al Pachini as the last horse to go in the order, but retired early, leaving the win to Comly and Clock-Wise CSH and second place to Scott Lenkart and Ziezo. Hicks and Al Pachini would finish in sixth place.
“This is only the second venue for us this year,” said Comly. “And, it’s our first grand prix win!” she said happily. “I got him last July and we did some welcomes in Colorado and some 1.40 m and 1.45 m in Tryon. He has been very good over some tough tracks and we’re still trying to click,” she added. “Today it definitely clicked and I’m just so excited about our first win together today,” she added. “It was a real bonus!”
“I just bought my own house and farm last December so I haven’t been able to show on the road as often as I do, trying to get my new place in order,” she said. “But I wouldn’t miss showing here. This is the best grass grand prix field in the country and even if I only get to jump on it in a few classes, it’s definitely worth it!” said Comly.
Kelley Buringa and Her Own Ladybird Win the $7,500 Welcome
Northlake, Texas’ Kelley Buringa and her own Ladybird bested a field of twenty two horse and rider teams over a course designed by Manuel Esparza to earn the blue ribbon in the $7,500 Welcome which kicked off the jumper action Week V.
The first round was set with a time to beat of 88 seconds which saw only half the class advance to a second round opportunity.
Hampshire, Illinois’ Liz Atkins in the irons of her own Good Vision, were the first to tackle the course and advanced to a second round. Although their time of 42.288 seconds would beat the time allowed of 60 seconds, four jump faults would find them finishing in eighth place overall.
Laura Connaway of Little Rock, Arkansas and her own Quite Funny followed in the order and also advanced to a second round. However, four jump faults in the second round in a time of 42.957 would keep them out of the ribbons.
Isabella Bleu Baxter and her own Caroquados T had the next clear round and passed through the timers in their second round with a time of 41.714 seconds, four jump faults would see them finish in sixth place overall.
Lincoln Case’s Canebrake ridden by Whitney Boyce-Petrey followed and was the first to turn in double clear rounds in a time of 45.687 and temporarily took the lead, setting the time to beat.
Scott Lenkart and Fleur de Lis Farms’ Ziezo followed to a second round opportunity, but four jump faults in a time of 43.774 seconds would keep them out of the ribbons.
Kelley Buringa and Lady Bird followed with the next double clear rounds and with their second round time of 40.912, would set the new time to beat.
Liz Atkins returned to the grass grand prix field, this time in the irons of Benchmark Stables, LLC’ Carletta. The pair turned in double clear rounds but their second round time of 42.869 would not be fast enough to catch Buringa and Ladybird so Atkins and Carletta would finish in third place.
Laura Connaway also returned to the grand prix field, this time in the irons of Ceralena and this time, turned in back to back fault free rounds in a time of 44.242 which would see them finish in fourth place overall.
Dana Waters’ Fons Van T Geyzeven, ridden by Breezy Samboia of Covington, Louisiana, followed with the next clear first round, but four jump faults in their second round in a time of 42.030 seconds, would see them finish in seventh place overall.
Sitting in the enviable last to go spot, Liz Atkins and Benchmark Stables, LLC’s Undine turned in double clear rounds, however their second round time in 41.305 seconds wouldn’t be fast enough to secure the win and they finished in second place behind Buringa and Ladybird.
Jason Berry Wins the $5,000 Gulf Coast Jumper Classic
Jason Berry of Verona, Virginia, galloped away with the win in the irons of Lee Cesery’s Quantos in the $5,000 Gulf Coast Jumper Classic after turning in the only double clear rounds. Abigail Bergin of Gulfport, Mississippi rode her own Cumlaude to a second place win after earning three jump faults in the second round.
The fastest of the four-faulters, Kristina Meyer and her own Viaggio took home the third place ribbon followed by Michael Kennedy and his own Gentleman with a fourth place. Fifth went to Avequest LLC’s Shosy TSP, ridden by Dallas, Texas’ Alexandra Elkins and sixth was awarded to Andrew Kocher’s Ewsz Que Sera, ridden by Christian Rogge of Spring, Texas. Sara Dees of Chatom, Alabama and her own Clearwater earned a seventh place ribbon.