Robert Mendoza and Aaron Vale Score Jumper Wins on Opening Day of Kentucky Summer Classic

Lexington, Ky. – July 30, 2019 – On the opening day of the Kentucky Summer Classic, the feature show jumping classes, the 1.35m Open Jumpers and the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumpers, took place in the Rolex Stadium with courses designed by Bobby Murphy. With a field of 13 competitors in the 1.35m Open Jumpers, it was Robert Mendoza who rode away with the fastest double clear performance aboard Java Van De Kleinheide. In the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumpers, Aaron Vale saved the best for last, winning the class on Cashew CR.

Robert Mendoza and Java Van De Kleinheide

Making the four hour drive from Indiana, Mendoza was first in the order of go, and once he jumped the course clean with Java Van De Kleinheide, he was invited to compete in an immediate jump-off. He earned a double clear finish in a speedy time of 32.275 seconds on the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Bannockburn Farm and Allyn McCracken. Mendoza has had the ride on the bay mare since they imported her as a 6-year-old, and most recently the pair won their first grand prix at the World Equestrian Center earlier this month.

Samuel Parot Jr. and Buga Z

Second to jump double-clear in the class with a jump-off time of 37.739 seconds was Nicky Galligan on Lotus Van Get Hagehof, an 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding. Samuel Parot and Buga Z make a solid effort to overcome Mendoza’s time with the next double-clear effort, but he was four seconds shy of the leader’s time. With their time of 36.353 seconds, Parot slid into second place, while Galligan rounded out the top three.

The final class of the day in the Rolex Stadium, the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumpers only saw three horse-and-rider combinations qualify for the jump-off. As the last athlete in the ring, Vale knew exactly what he needed to do to beat his fellow competitors on Murphy’s 14-effort course. He confidently raced Dorothy Matz’s Cashew CR, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, through the jump-off, finishing double-clear in 40.985 seconds. Vale is currently competing Cashew CR for Alex Matz, the gelding’s usual rider who has had quite a successful career with him, winning last year’s $10,000 Under 25 Classic at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show as well as many other jumper classes.

Aaron Vale and Cashew CR

Jumping double clear with a jump-off time of 42.218 seconds, David O’Brien placed second in the class with Kir Royal SCF, a 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Spy Coast Farm. Darragh Kerins had three mounts entered in the class and he qualified for the jump-off with one of his horses, Delight M-G C De Leuze to eventually place third with the NRG Farm LLC’s 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare.

David O’Brien and Kir Royal SCF

The Kentucky Classic continues Wednesday, July 31. $5,000 1.40m Open Jumpers and the 6 and 7-year-old divisions of the Classic Champions Developing Jumper Tour.


Robert Mendoza – 1.35 Open Jumpers winner

About Java Van De Kleinheide:
“I’m feeling pretty good [about today’s performance]. She jumped nicely. We haven’t been out here in awhile this summer, so it’s nice to get back out there and jump around. We imported Java when she was 6 and she’s 10 now. She’s actually a broodmare and she has a couple babies at home. She’s such a great mare who gives me everything all the time. Sometimes she argues a little bit, but she always tries really hard when she gets to the jumps.” 

Robert Mendoza and Java Van De Kleinheide

On Tuesday’s course:
“The course was nice. Bobby [Murphy] always builds a great course, so it was a nice way to get the week started.”

Robert Mendoza and Java Van De Kleinheide

On competing at the Kentucky Summer Classic:
“I love it here! I live in Indiana so we’re only four hours away. The facility is always excellent. The people are great. AJ at the ingate is super and he’s always very helpful.” 

On what’s next:
“She’s going to do the 1.40m tomorrow and then hopefully the 1.40m again on Saturday. She’s close to being ready to step up, but not quite that close so I’m just going to let her keep doing what she’s comfortable with this week.”

Aaron Vale – $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper winner

On his performance:
“I’m feeling super about my ride today. I’m just filling in for his regular rider, Alex Matz, who is in Europe training right now, so I’m riding him to keep him fit. It’s lovely to ride such a nice horse. He’s super careful, brave, and I’m keeping him in the game until he goes to his next horse show. It’s a pleasure to ride such a nice horse out there. I rode him in two classes last week and today’s the third day. Last week we did the 1.30m and were just slow and practicing. I did the 1.35m Friday and he won that and then he won this. He’ll probably jump one more class sometime this week.”

Aaron Vale and Cashew CR

On Tuesday’s course:
“Bobby always does a good job. There are some new fences out here such as the tree panels and the cut-out panels over there. There’s a little bit spookier material out there this week in addition to what was out there that was spooky last weekend. Bobby really added a couple other spooky fences, so there’s a lot of color out there. It gives the horses a lot to look at. It’s nice when you’re at the same place a couple weeks in a row to get new material in the ring the second week to keep the horses interested. I have to give him a shout out for keeping it fresh for the horses.”

Aaron Vale and Cashew CR


1.35 Open Jumper
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Java Van De Kleinheide / Robert Mendoza / Bannockburn Farm / 0 | 66.179 / 0 | 32.275
2. Buga Z / Samuel Parot Jr / Samuel Parot / 0 | 69.249 / 0 | 36.353
3. Lotus Van Het Hagehof / Nicky Galligan / November Hill / 0 | 70.950 / 0 | 37.739
4. Cooper 166 / Lauren Hester / Hester Equestrian LLC / 0 | 67.420 / 4 | 30.190
5. Ha’Czelle JSF / Riley Mackillop / Glen Lake Farm LLC / 0 | 69.219 / 8 | 32.830
6. My Horse / Charlotte Gerstenfeld / Charlotte Gerstenfeld / 4 | 69.918
7. Acolina R / Aaron Vale / Sarah Turner / 8 | 65.786
8. Chacolbet / Tom Foley / Eye Candy Jumpers / 8 | 74.745
9. Silent Joter / Tom Foley / Andrew Kocher / 12 | 77.162
10. S & L Elite / Sydney B. Carr / MTM Farm / 16 | 74.942
11. Stakkero P / Courtney Boyd / Cindy Nielsen / 23 | 87.846

$5,000 1.40m Open Jumper
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Cashew CR / Aaron Vale / Dorothy Matz / 0 | 77.888 / 0 | 40.985
2. Kir Royal SCF / David O’Brien / Spy Coast Farm LLC / 0 | 80.182 / 0 | 42.218
3. Delight M-G C De Leuze / Darragh Kerins / Trefoil Farm LLC / 0 | 79.179 / EL
4. Carlos JD Z / Darragh Kerins / NRG Farm LLC / 1 | 83.043
5. Ilusionist II / Shannon Clifford / Texas De Limache LLC / 4 | 75.505
6. Lasco 29 / Summer Hill / Daryl Ziegler Henning / 4 | 78.948
7. Finou 4 / Aaron Vale / Thinks Like A Horse / 10 | 88.110
8. Limbridge / Darragh Kerins / Eve Jobs / 19 | 93.246

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