Marylisa Leffler and Rolling Acres’ Zaza Z win the $10,000 Nutrena Welcome Stake at Lexington Spring Encore

Marylisa Leffler and Zaza Z. Photo by Teresa Ramsay

Edited Press Release

Marylisa Leffler of Brookeville, Maryland and Rolling Acres’ Zaza Z bested a field of twenty-one horse and rider teams in Friday’s $10,000 Nutrena Welcome Stake.

Last week, Leffler and ZaZa Z just missed the win by seconds against Addison Reed and Goliath. Friday, the tables were turned.

Course designer Ken Krome set the first-round time allowed at 85 seconds and eleven advanced to a second-round opportunity. The first horse and rider team to post double clear rounds, Addison Reed of Mechanicsville, Virginia, and Gail Thompson’s Doirin Clover Boy set the time to beat at 32.434 seconds, well within the 42 seconds time allowed.

Christina Webb of Bahama, North Carolina, and Fox View Farm’s FVF Sailor Man followed Reed in the order of go and posted their own double clear rounds with a time of 33.832 seconds which would see the pair finish in fourth overall.

Kama Godek of Fairfax Station, Virginia and her own Stonehenge 5 were the next to post double clear rounds and their second-round time of 37.272 would see them finish in fifth place.

Thaisa Erwin of Middleburg, Virginia and Michael Smith’s Vanturo also posted clear rounds and their second-round time of 37.291 would earn them a sixth-place ribbon. Leffler and Zaza Z were up next.

“I was talking with Ashley, and I thought if went off the left lead to the first fence, I could get a better jump-everyone else did a right lead approach,” said Leffler.

“I also went a little wide to the last line because everyone else had it down. I was worried because everyone was cutting in or turning in, I figured If I went a little wider, I could keep cantering to it,” she added.

The pair posted double clear rounds and with a second-round time of 32.002 seconds, took the lead.

Reed and Goliath were the next horse and rider team to post double clear rounds. Their second-round time of 32.434 seconds could not beat Zaza Z and Leffler, and the pair settled into second place and also earned Reed a third place with Doirin Clover Boy.

“I think Kenny did a fine a job designing today. The course wasn’t that hard, and it was perfect for a Welcome,” said Leffler.

Zaza Z is just a horse that loves to show, but she’s not a ‘practice’ horse. She doesn’t like to be ridden during the week. She used to belong to Lauren Ward and McLain told me that she likes to trot on the longe line during the week and maybe trot around the ring once before the class and she’s good to go,” said Leffler. “And that’s exactly what we do with her. She trots on a longe line every other day. And she only trots.”

“When we returned from Florida, she had four weeks off. Two weeks before we came here, I rode her twice and jumped her a couple of times over 3’ fences and maybe a total of five fences each time. Zaza is really a case of ‘less is more’. She stays fit, she loves her turn out, we feed her well and she just knows her job. She’s 12 and is just a delight in the barn,” added Leffler.

Ann De Michele of Haymarket, Virginia in the irons of Cantatu, LLC’s QI L earned a seventh-place finish with their four fault second round of 34.763 seconds. Samantha Tuerk of Wellington, Florida and Stony Ridge Management’s Camryn placed eighth with their four fault second round in a time of 35.011 seconds.

Stuart Morse’s Ravenna Adelheid Z, ridden by Tamara Morse of Bristow, Virginia finished in ninth place and Grace Long of Middleburg, Virginia and Vaziri Sport Horses, LLC’s Harold placed tenth with four jump faults with a time of 59.104 seconds.

Jackson Schurtz of Afton, Virginia rode Jeanne McCusker’s Imago Z to an eleventh-place finish and Christina Webb rode Fox View Farm’s Caillou VL to a twelfth-place finish.

Ann De Michele and Cantatu, LLC’s QI L Win $1,500 1.35m Open Jumper Stake

Ann De Michele of Haymarket, Virginia in the irons of Cantatu, LLC’s QI L won the $1,500 Schneiders Saddlery 1.35m Open Jumper Stake Wednesday over a course designed by Ken Krome of Westminster, Maryland.

De Michele, recipient of the Leading Jumper Rider during the Lexington Spring Premiere, was first in the order of go with Cantatu, LLC’s Canmore 2. The pair advanced to a second-round opportunity and unfortunately, went off course. “There were 2 verticals side by side and I stupidly jumped the wrong fence,” said De Michele. “When I got out of the ring, the steward told me that I had jumped the wrong fence. I seriously had no idea! I told him, ‘Well, that’s a bummer,’ and he said he appreciated my good sportsmanship,” she said. “In this sport, humility is 100%. Canmore is my grand prix horse, and he is super. It’s funny, he’s 14 this year and he gets better and better every year. It’s just kind of amazing and I love him,” she said. “I felt badly because my horse did so well, but human error kept him from winning it,” she said.

“Thankfully, I had another horse to ride in the class,” she laughed.

De Michele and Cantatu, LLC’s QI L., sat in the last to go position. Advancing to a second-round opportunity, the pair earned four jump faults in a time of 44.889 which secured the win.

’QI’ is a homebred and I’ve had him his whole life,” said De Michele. “I really liked Kenny’s [Krome] course design even though I didn’t get it right the first time. It was very inviting and had a good flow. I like to be able to turn and gallop and it’s nice that it was designed so I could do that,” she said.

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