Edited Press Release
Wayne, Ill. – June 19, 2022 – It was a Red Coat Farm top-three finish during Sunday’s $50,000 HITS Grand Prix at the Lamplight Spring Spectacular II. Trainer and Illinois-native Lisa Goldman-Smolen had a wire-to-wire victory aboard Nike, while her student Kyle Perkovich placed second with Hit Me Van’t Zorgvliet, and Smolen took home third place as well with her second mount Ivaro N. Smolen has garnered multiple grand prix victories over the last five weeks of competition and credited her team at Red Coat Farm for her success throughout the year.
“I have a really big and helpful barn family at home, so [at home] I try to get the horses doubled up and get them out early and get them out again late for long exercise rides,” said Smolen when discussing how she prepares for HITS Chicago. “I almost never jump them at home at this point. They all know their jobs, so I try to save their legs as much as possible. We do a lot of flatwork and fitness rides at the barn, and I get a lot of help from all of the customers at the barn doing that!”
Course designer Oscar Soberon set a technical track for the day’s highlight event. It included a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination, as well as a vertical-oxer double combination at the end of the course. Five advanced to the tiebreaker where they began with a related line to a new oxer, followed by two rollbacks and the double combination.
Smolen was the first to return for the jump-off, and she knew that Nike’s naturally quick speed and careful reflexes would be a winning combination. They set an unbeatable pace, blazing across the finish line in 33.137 seconds. Collin Reynolds was next, but she lowered the height of a single fence with Chicco W in her attempt to catch Smolen. Katie Leverick had a smooth, clear round with Hardy, but their more conservative time of 36.709 would eventually place fourth.
Perkovich was ready to challenge Smolen’s time with Hit Me Van’t Zorgvliet, following a very similar path as they traversed the track in a speedy 34.131 seconds, but with an extra stride in one of the turns, they were still a full second slower. The only entry left was Smolen with her Ivaro N, and despite being guaranteed the win, she still galloped quickly over the second course, breaking the beam at 34.535 seconds. She would claim the win with Nike, and third with Ivaro N, while Perkovich placed second.
“Nike is a touch smaller-strided, so it’s always an advantage for my riding if I get to go first on her to really get a feel for the course and what I have to do on the other horses,” admitted Smolen. “They’ve all been long-time partners for me, so it’s nice to know each of their inside and outside quirks. Kyle’s horse dug into a turn a little bit, so it made him add a stride to the third jump in the jump-off, and after that he didn’t gallop away from it, so that’s where I think I made up the time.”
Smolen’s Red Coat Farm is based in Hawthorn Woods, IL, making the Lamplight Equestrian Center a staple in her schedule. “It’s close to home, so I can still go home at night and spend the night with my husband and my baby,” she concluded. “it’s really nice to have this world-class facility so close to home – it’s hard to want to leave it! This week, Oscar did such a good job with courses – I love working with him and his courses. He has a really good feel for the riders here!”