Nicole Bellissimo & Casino Top $35,000 1.45m Sunday Classic CSI 2* to Conclude Tryon Summer III

Nicole Bellissimo and Casino

Mill Spring, NC – July 1, 2018 – Competition concluded on Sunday, July 1, at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), with a swift victory for Nicole Bellissimo (USA) and Casino. The duo rounded out a successful week by finishing first in the $35,000 1.45m Sunday Classic CSI 2*, crossing through the jump-off timers in 42.762 seconds. Second place honors went to Tracy Magness (USA) and John Bartko’s 2008 Belgian Warmblood mare, Intenz Van HD (Elvis Ter Putte x Nabab de Reve), completing their fast-track round in 46.075 seconds, while third place was awarded to Samuel Parot (CHI) and his own Atlantis, a 2003 Zangersheide gelding (Andiamo x Royal Bravour L), after achieving a time of 78.95 seconds in the first round.

The win was the second podium placing of the week for Bellissimo and the Bellissimo LLC’s 2007 Holsteiner (Cassini II x Carano), as the 24-year-old also guided the stallion to a second-place award in Friday’s Tryon Resort $5,000 1.40m Speed Stake CSI 2* class. Of her mount, she explained: “I got him at the end of his nine-year-old year, and he was doing the high-jumper classes out in California. We slowly moved up, I’ve ridden him in several CSI 2*’s at this point, and he’s just been a really excellent horse for me. He’s exceptionally careful, and I always have to think a little bit more when it comes to time allowed with him, but he’s gotten quicker about that.”

The first-place result also happened to be the pair’s second blue ribbon of the Tryon Summer Series, with both victories taking place on the Derby Field at TIEC. “The grass is really fantastic,” said Bellissimo. “I think that the most important thing that you can say about a grass field, is that you can’t feel that you’re riding on grass. Not once, during either of the weeks, did I feel him slip out there. He jumped really solid rounds. Sometimes when they’re on grass, as they leave the ground they may slip, but with the security of this field, it’s like you’re riding in a sand ring.”

Nicole Bellissimo and Casino in their presentation ceremony.

The partnership between the two has grown over the past few years, and getting to know the stallion has given Bellissimo an appreciation for his minimal antics. “He is a stallion,” she elaborated, “so he can be a bit fresh on the ground. But he has an amazing groom, Alex Mullen, and she does an incredible job with him. However, for the most part he’s pretty sweet, and really isn’t too bad. He’s just a really special horse.”

Bellissimo plans to give Casino some time off over the next week, and then will return to the show ring ready to tackle the Tryon Summer V CSI 2* competition. She concluded, “He’ll get his break, and then we will come back for week five and hope for the same result then!”

For a full list of results from the $35,000 1.45m Sunday Classic CSI 2*, click here.

Jumper Highlights:
The Tryon Resort $5,000 1.40m Speed Stake CSI 2* welcomed a win for Darragh Kerins (IRL) on Friday, June 29, as he guided Remarkable Farms LLC’s 2006 Selle Francais stallion (Ephebe For Ever x Laudanum) Silteplait de Circee to the first-place position after crossing through the timers in 67.16 seconds. Second place was awarded to Nicole Bellissimo (USA) aboard Bellissimo LLC’s 2007 Holsteiner stallion (Cassini II x Carano) Casino, riding to a time of 69.96 seconds. Third place was rounded out by Silvana Cabral (PAR) and Claudia Pedrozo’s Casqero, a 2008 Holsteiner gelding (Colbert GTI x Cassini I), who made it around the track in 73.26 seconds.

Sophia Studd of Wellington, FL, galloped her own Corlanda through the timers in 41.699 seconds for top awards in the $10,000 1.40m High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic. Mallory Vale of Williston, FL, and Thinks Like a Horse’s Elusive jumped-off in 42.966 seconds for second place, while third place was awarded to Eliza and owner/rider Katherine Dewar of Ocala, FL, after crossing the timers in 44.304 seconds.

Sophia Studd and Corlanda

The Tryon Estates 1.10m NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Classic saw 25 entries test the course with 14 horse-and-rider pairs returning for the short-course. Ashley Ann McGehee (Jacksonville, FL) and Golden Oaks Farm LLC’s Colina bested the day in 25.645 seconds, ahead of Wendy Libert of Hughesville, MD, and Mr. & Mrs. John Bartko’s Papillion Peanut who took second in 25.864 seconds. Phoebe Alwine of Boca Raton, FL, received third place honors aboard In The Clover Equestrian’s Zenja for their 25.87 second short-course performance.

In the NAL/WIHS 1.10m Children’s Jumper Classic, first-place honors went to Can Can VL, with owner Isabella Royal of Vass, NC, in the irons, stopping the timers at 23.922 seconds. Second-place honors went to Helen Kirbo of Tallahassee, FL, who finished the course in 24.128 seconds aboard her own Cylandra. Valentina Arenas Saravia guided Alpine Stables Belina to third place on a ride of 25.254 seconds.

The $300 Tryon Estates Low Adult Amateur Jumper Stake recognized Brittany Libert of Charlotte Hall, MD, aboard John Bartko’s Adamaz, finishing first on a 26.152-second short-course time. Lizabeth Fisher of Alpharetta, GA, rode Christina Fisher’s Zanzibar to second-place honors with their jump-off performance of 28.418 seconds, while Cynthia Screnci of Boca Raton, FL, piloted Piazza di Siena to third place, stopping the second-round timers at 28.805 seconds.

In the $300 Low Children’s 1.0m Jumper Stake, top honors went to Marleigh Hill of Birmingham, AL, piloting her own Henry Jota Mr. Clean through the short-course timers in 25.43 seconds, while Rachel Head of Houston, TX, and her own CR Fire Cracker claimed second in 26.316 seconds, and Lily Yampolsky of Mount Kisco, NY, guided Kiana Fiore’s Arvakur to third place in 27.001 seconds.

The $3,000 NAL 1.20m Low Junior Classic saw Victoria Zelch of Novelty, OH, and Musical Woods LLC’s Sniper put in the only clear first round to take the day, stopping the timers 80.69 seconds, while Isabella Durnell (Suwannee, GA) and Vick Russell’s De La Roque Quontine finished on four faults in 78.609 seconds to claim second, and Cayman Szegda (Marietta, GA) and Castlewood Farm’s Kira Van De Vaartdijk also had a rail in 81.673 seconds to claim third.

Robyn Hannigan (Celebration, FL) and her own Copacabana cleared the jump-off course in 42.612 seconds, capturing the $3,000 NAL 1.20m Low Amateur Jumper Classic, while Dolores Funes (Wellington, FL) piloted Samuel Parot’s JK Horsetrucks Chantilly to a fast, four-fault jump-off round of 40.235 seconds and achieve second, while Caroline Monaghan (Birmingham, AL) and her own Sevani rounded out the podium with the fastest four-fault, first-round score of 73.244 seconds.

The $500 1.30m Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic saw Sophia Studd of Wellington, FL, clinch the blue after jumping off in 36.432 seconds aboard her mount Hera-V. Second place went to Louisa Brackett of Grayslake, IL, and Thinks Like A Horse’s own Stakko after crossing the timers in 43.773 seconds. Maria Gabriela Brugal of Santo Dominigo, FL, and her own Crack The Shadows took home third place with a jump-off time of 37.409 seconds and with four added faults.

Elizabeth Smith and Double Gold Come Up with Blue in $10,000 Pony Hunter Classic

Tryon Summer III competition boasted the Pony Spectacular, with pony classes featured throughout the week and many hosted in the George H. Morris Arena to help competitors prep for USEF Pony Finals later in the summer. Friday’s highlight class, the $10,000 Pony Hunter Classic, saw a win for Elizabeth Smith of Spartanburg, SC, piloting her own Double Gold after their two-round score of 164. Just behind in reserve was Maddie Tosh aboard Smallwood Mystic for Peacock Ridge LLC out of Milton, GA, scoring 163, while Lauren Lomel (Ocala, FL) and Woodlands Lightning Thief, owned by Megan Galloway, achieved a score of 158 to finish third.

Elizabeth Smith and Double Gold

Smith has been riding “Nugget” for three years, but was a first-time competitor at Tryon’s Pony Spectacular. One of 12 called back for a second round, Smith knew she had a lead and said that she knew she had to take advantage of the arena’s space with her trustworthy mount:

“I just wanted to have fun and do what my trainer told me. I didn’t want to panic – I wanted to make sure I was relaxed,” said Smith. “I knew that going into the second round I had to carry a forward pace because the lines were riding a little forward. My trainer always tells me to take a deep breath and have fun no matter what, so I knew I had to give my pony leg, and then stay out of his way and he would take care of me.”

Smith and Double Gold in their presentation ceremony with trainer Ashley Conkle.

Smith didn’t seek out a palomino pony, she revealed, but fell in love with him and his steadfast nature. “My favorite thing about Nugget is his personality. He’s the same pony every day and he loves me so much, and he’ll get me out of anything I put him in,” said Smith. “But he hates having his tail braided.”

Despite the big atmosphere, Smith commented on Double Gold’s tolerance for the arena’s size and energy, as well as his talent contributing to the win, saying, “In this big arena, I can open up his stride more and he doesn’t get too antsy, so he’s good for this ring. Yes, I’m excited for the win, but it’s all my pony,” she concluded.

Hunter Highlights:
Maddie Tosh of Milton, GA, and Madeline Schaefer’s Flashback earned a win in the $2,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby on Sunday, scoring 171, while Elle Boyd rode Finally Farm’s Hershey’s Kiss to reserve honors after her 163-point performance representing Camden, SC, and Jane Head of Birmingham, AL, piloted her own Dreamsicle to a 152 and third-place honors.

Maddie Tosh and Flashback

Lindsay Maxwell and her own Conspiracy claimed a win on behalf of Beverly Hills, CA, in the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic 3’3″/3’6″, scoring 171, with Christina Fisher of Alpharetta, GA, and her own Levland claiming second on a score of 170 and Bergen Sanderford guiding mount Happenstance to third place honors scoring 167.5 from Santa Rosa Beach, FL.

The $500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter 14 Yrs-Under Classic saw Brianna Folk of Bradenton, FL, score 167 aboard her own Johnny Cash to take top honors, while Caroline Maude Hedges guided her own Motown to second scoring 155.5 on behalf of Columbus, NC, and Caia Watridge rode Sweet Oak Farm’s Sunman to third, scoring 155 and hailing from St. Augustine, FL.

The $500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter 15-17 Yrs Classic congratulated Sallie-Mason Wheeler (Keswick, VA) aboard Ceil Wheeler’s Wiser, scoring 171 for the victory, with reserve honors awarded to Rachel Darash (Duncan, SC) riding Page Tredennick’s Kirby Lane to a score of 149, and Margaret Giffin of Saint Petersburg, FL, guiding her own Jasmin De Bornival Z to third after earning a 140.

Bergen Sanderford returned to the podium in the $500 NAL/WIHS Adult Hunter 18-35 Yrs Classic, this time taking first aboard Confidential after scoring a 174, while Allison Cederburg (Billings, MT) took both second and third aboard Dru Cederberg’s mounts Paris, scoring 165, and Zero Tolerance, scoring 159.

$500 NAL/WIHS Adult Hunter 36 & Over Classic bestowed top honors on Lisa Baugh of Wellington, FL, for her 160-point performance aboard Joann Loheac’s Chestnut Avenue, congratulating fellow Wellington native Cyndi Griffith aboard her own Verkade for their reserve placing of 159 points, and with Hillery Head (Birmingham, AL) guiding her own Churchill to third on a score of 155.

The Children’s Hunter Pony Challenge saw Wesleigh Vasquez (Miami, FL) step up to receive top honors aboard Chromeo for owner Madison Grider, with Sadie Anderson (Pacific Palisades, CA) and Rollingwoods Sticky Situation receiving reserve honors for owner Cecilia D’Amore, and Jole Kosloske ride mount Daddy Doesn’t Know to third.

Scoring 81, Kerry O’Donnell and mount Better Than Ever topped the Pre-Adult Hunter Challenge representing Apex, NC, while Kelsey Pike (Clayton, NC) and Jennifer Bryant’s Piano Man scored 80 to claim reserve honors, and Rebecca A. Macias (Coral Gables, FL) steered her own Don Perignon to third on a score of 79.

Spartanburg, SC native McLean Holmes rode Page Tredennick’s Apricot Lane to a score of 85 and first place in the Pre-Children’s Hunter Challenge, with Elizabeth Weschler and her own O So Soxy claiming second for Charlottesville, VA, on a score of 82, and Madison Staiano (Lakeland, FL) aboard In the Clover Equestrian’s Baricello won third on a score of 81.

The Short Stirrup Hunter Challenge went to Anya Castegran-Mix (Barboursville, VA) and Hyperion Stud LLC’s Smoke Screen, with Carsyn Korotkin and Stoney Ridge Farm, LLC’s Maggie May taking home reserve honors to Wellington, FL, and Ava Scharbo and her own Pajama Party scoring third for Barrington, IL.

The Long Stirrup Hunter Challenge congratulated Cassidy Vik (Mooresville, NC) aboard Helen Ulrich’s Broadway in first, along with Marin Sorofman (Cary, NC) aboard Jax Morgan’s Carson 7 in second place and Sarah Deaton (Spartanburg, SC) in third aboard Chris Brown’s Pillow Talk.

The Tryon Summer IV competition returns to the venue on Wednesday, July 4. The week will feature the highlight $132,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday, July 7, at 8pm EST. The Tryon Summer Series continues through Sunday, July 22, and features six weeks of international and national hunter, jumper, and equitation competition.

For more information on TIEC, please visit

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