Edited Press Release
Wayne, Ill. – May 21, 2022 – Rain did not slow down riders during Saturday’s $25,000 HITS Grand Prix at the Lamplight Spring Classic II, as they showcased speed and accuracy to top the leaderboard. Lisa Goldman-Smolen captured the win with her second mount Sovereign, besting her student Kyle Perkovich with Hit Me Van’t Zorgvliet as well as her first mount Nike, who placed second and third, respectively.
“It’s beautiful here; it’s always run well,” said Smolen after her win. “They are very accommodating. They move things and make things work with the weather. They do all they can to make us happy. The footing held beautifully today – I had no worries about any turns!”
Dean Battaglia set an inviting first course, which included a delicate vertical-vertical double combination and a technical line across the diagonal with an oxer-vertical double combination to another oxer. Eight advanced to the jump-off, where a new vertical across the center of the course offered an opportunity to slice the fence and make up valuable time.
Smolen was the first to show over the tiebreaking track aboard Nike. The duo cleared the course easily, setting a quick pace to beat at 36.058 seconds. Perkovich and Hit Me Van’t Zorgvliet were next to contest the jump-off, and they sliced their way just ahead of Smolen with a clear round in 35.615 seconds to take over the lead.
Shannon Hicks and Habab-W also earned a shot at the jump-off, but their clear time was not quite fast enough, breaking the beam at 37.310 seconds, which would hold up for fourth place. Smolen scored another opportunity to show in the jump-off with Sovereign, a 6-year-old Selle Francais stallion owned by Barbara Disko. With the advantage of already completing the course, she knew she could make up some time in one of the rollbacks. She jumped ahead of Perkovich on the leaderboard with a quick gallop, stopping the clock at 34.995 seconds. Four more combinations tried their hand at the jump-off, but they added faults to their score in their effort to catch Smolen. She returned at the end of the grand prix to collect the winning prize with Sovereign, while Perkovich placed second and Smolen earned the third-place honors with Nike.
“We walked the first line and thought it was a 7, but on Nike I was able to do it in 6,” explained Smolen. “I knew I would be able to do the same thing on Sovereign and be a little faster in another rollback. I was a little quicker on him, whereas I wasn’t as fast on Nike. I was really fast across the middle and back to the next one. I slowed down at the end because of the line I had to get the number done. We’ve had [Sovereign] for six years and he just loves his job. He wants to go in – he wants to win!”
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