Wayne, Ill. – July 28, 2018 – The first week of the 2018 Chicago Festival of the Horse kept its momentum well into the weekend, attracting an excited crowd to Lamplight Equestrian Center’s world-class Grand Prix Arena to watch riders battle it out for the top placing in the $50,000 Prix de Lamplight. Many horse and athlete combinations tackled the Peter Grant-designed course to vie for top honors, but it was Thomas Cerra and McGregor that were the only pair of the evening to navigate a double clear finish to come out on top.
The first round of the $50,000 Prix De Lamplight produced just seven clear finishes, three of which belonged to Tracy Fenney out of Flower Mound, Texas. Fenney and MTM Como No were first up to take on the jump-off, just narrowly leaving all of the rails up until the last fence fell, finishing with a time of 45.159 seconds. Several others would follow Fenney, but none could overcome the challenging rollbacks to leave the fences up or catch her time.
Cerra and his own mount McGregor were the fifth pair to attempt to take the lead from Fenney and the first to produce a clear jump-off. Cerra had one goal in mind – leave the rails up and let the final few riders try to catch his time. The pair successfully managed to put down a clear round, finishing in 49.099 seconds. While Cerra’s jump-off time was not the quickest of the contenders, his carefulness in the ring was enough to take over the lead.
Cerra is no stranger to the Lamplight Equestrian Center – he has been competing at the scenic showgrounds since he was a child in the pony divisions. He is in his fifties now, and has been moving up in divisions and rankings over the years. Two years ago, Cerra purchased McGregor as a 7 year-old, and the pair is just coming off of a successful two weeks in Traverse City, Michigan where they finished in fifth place in the $50,000 Meijer Grand Prix at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.
Following Cerra, Fenney with Igor Van De Heibos and MTM Reve Du Paradis as well as Dorothy Douglas riding S&L Elite were the final pairs to try for a clear round, but they could not match Cerra and McGregor’s careful round. Ultimately, it would be Cerra and McGregor that would finish on top. Fenney would take home second place with her earlier ride on MTM Como No and third place with MTM Reve Du Paradis with 4-faults and a time of 45.465 seconds.
Competition in the Grand Prix Arena at Equifest I will conclude on Sunday, July 29, with the $7,500 Hollow Brook Wealth Mgmt SHJF JR/AO 1.40m Jumper Classic.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Thomas Cerra – $50,000 Prix De Lamplight winner
On the challenging jump-off:
“I didn’t even see anyone go. I like when I just have to go clear! There’s a lot of fast horses in the class and I have a big horse with a big stride and he’s maybe not quite as fast as them, so it was good, I just tried to be efficient, not slow, but just put in a good clear round and let whoever was after me chase me and maybe they would make a mistake.”
“I bought him as a 7-year-old, and I’ve just been putting good miles on him. He’s probably the best horse I’ve ever had. He has a sweet personality, he tries 100% every time, he never lets me down. He just keeps climbing the ladder. I keep going a little bit higher and challenging him a little bit more and he was really good in Traverse City, he got a ribbon in both of the $50,000 Grand Prix events there. I think he earned a week off now!”
“I love being back here! Our farm is five minutes away, I grew up here, I showed ponies here and I’m 50-some years old now. Everybody just loves coming here. Nina has done a great job with the footing and I just wish we could be here more. It’s a great place, and some friends who have never been here came this year and they said it was a great place. I love being back.”
Results: $50,000 Prix de Lamplight
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Thomas Cerra / McGregor / 0 / 0 / 49.09
2. Tracey Fenney / MTM Como No / 0 / 4 / 45.15
3. Tracey Fenney / MTM Reve Du Paradis / 0 / 4 / 45.46
4. Brian Moggre / MTM Vivre Le Reve / 0 / 8 / 42.49
5. Hayley Barnhill / Halibo Van Texelhof / 0 / 8 / 56.65
6. Dorothy Douglas / S & L Elite / 0 / 21 / 67.57
7. Tracey Fenney / Igor Van De Heibos / 0 / 22 / 72.4
8. Charlie Jayne / Tou La Moon / 4
9. Wilhelm Genn / Van Gogh / 4
10. Charlie Jayne / Emy / 4
Claire Azar and Capitol Hill Lead Junior 3’6″ 16-17 Hunter Division in Equifest I’
Action in the Main Hunter Arena at the Lamplight Equestrian Center continued into the weekend, seeing plenty of stacked classes and close competition. The Small and Large Junior 3’6″ 16-17 Hunter division, as well as the Junior Hunter Classic, took the center stage for the day.
In the combined Junior 3’6″ 16-17 Hunter division, 17-year-old Claire Azar was off to a good start on Saturday, putting in clean rounds aboard her own Capitol Hill. The horse and rider combination also claimed second place in the Junior Hunter Classic with a total score of 165.5.
Azar began a partnership with the 6-year-old gelding just over a year ago, and has seen a good deal of development in their talent as a pair in that short time. Taking him to show during the winter circuit in Florida as well as the Devon Horse Show earlier this year, Azar has been happy with Capitol Hill’s easy going and fun nature.
Also placing well in second in the Junior 3’6″ Hunter 16-17 division was Brian Moggre and Calido’s Son, owned by Mimi Rothman. Moggre also piloted Abigail Davenport’s Mid Knight Memories to a second place finish in the division.
In Amateur Owner 3’6″ 36+ Hunter division, Silas Jaramillo and Ultigro took an early lead after earning both first and second place ribbons in their over fences classes. Mary Antonini secured first and third place finishes with her mount MTM Making Waves, as well as second and third place finishes aboard The Governor.
Sarah Morris and Gidget clinched a win in the Amateur Owner Classic, earning a total score of 174. Kathy Chiaf and her gelding Silver Lining finished just behind Morris in second place, taking home a score of 169, and Holly Labry and Riverside rounded out the top three with a score of 166.
Competition at the 2018 Chicago Festival of the Horse will resume Sunday, July 29, with the Amateur Owner 3’3″ 18-35 Hunter division at 8 a.m.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Claire Azar – Junior 3’6″ Hunter division leader
On Capitol Hill:
“We got him a little over a year ago, and he had never shown in the United States before. He’s just over 6-years-old so he’s come a long way. He’s one of those horses that you just never want to get off! He’s just fun to ride and very brave.”
On her rounds:
“I thought they felt really good. I just wanted them to be really smooth and we only had to make minimal adjustments.”
On her future plans with Capitol Hill:
“We went to Florida this year and did the circuit there, then he went to Devon. We did Balmoral and some Kentucky shows in there. Hopefully I’ll be going to indoors this year for Medal Finals and maybe even do the Pennsylvania National Horse Show if he gets qualified!”