Erin Sylvester wins Ocala CCI4*-L; Jessica Phoenix 2nd in CCI4*-S
Jessica Phoenix and Bogue Sound were the fastest in the cross-country phase and Bogue Sound was named Thoroughbred Eventing Champion in CCI4*-S.
Concluding with a dramatic show jumping finale in the CCI4*-L, the 2019 Ocala Jockey Club 3-Day Event (OJC3DE) did not disappoint with nail-biting results right to the last dropping rail. Rails were flying with only one double clear round by Ema Klugman (AUS) and Bendigo. However, with only one rail down, the Thoroughbred, Campground, ridden by Erin Sylvester (USA) took the win with a final score of 44.8. The pair entered the ring in 3rd place and despite the rail on today’s challenging course; it didn’t stop this Thoroughbred from reigning supreme.
Beaming with pride, Erin says, “He is a really special horse. He is a Thoroughbred and every event this isn’t his special day and today it was his special day and he really deserved it. He has a heart of gold.”
In addition to being the overall winner, Campground was also crowned the Thoroughbred Eventing Champion for the CCI4*-L division. Last month, Erin won the Fair Hill International CCI4*-L aboard her other Thoroughbred Paddy The Caddy.
Erin explains why Thoroughbreds are top event horses. “I am a big fan of Thoroughbreds, most of my horses are Thoroughbreds. They think a lot, they try really hard for you all of the time. The feeling that they give you on cross-country is like nothing else. They want to run as long as you want them to run and when they get to the bottom of their tank you can pep them up again and give them another wind and they just keep on trying. They are such a great breed for the sport because they have the athleticism, the heart and the stamina for it as we saw yesterday on cross-country.”
Lauren Kieffer (USA) and Landmark’s Monte Carlo had a refusal early on course then dropped an additional two rails falling from 1st into 2nd on a 46.7. As Ema Klugman (AUS) and Bendigo were the only pair to jump double clear they were rewarded with a 3rd place finish ending their weekend on a 50.5. Ema and Bendigo started their weekend in 28th place after dressage and entered today’s show jumping in 10th. Ema is one of the MARS Bromont Rising grant recipients competing this weekend and her result is a true testament to the program.
Phillip Dutton’s (USA) Sea Of Clouds was the winner of the $750 Top Placed Seattle Slew Descendant award. He finished 12th overall on a 63.2.
Show jumping proved to be a challenge for the CCI2*-L competitors with only four pairs producing double clear rounds. (USA) and Il Vici took the win with their double clear round to finish on a 34. They were the only pair to finish on their dressage score in the entire division and started their weekend in 8th place.
Arden was almost at a loss for words waiting to go into the awards ceremony and reflecting on the weekend. “I still can’t believe it. It is going to be a great ride home. The cross-country was one of my best rounds on him, I was so in the moment. He saved me in the show jumping ring multiple times but hard work and practice definitely pays off and I am so thrilled to have him.”
Il Vici was the not only the overall winner but he earned the Thoroughbred Eventing Champion Award.
Arden shares what it is like riding a Thoroughbred: “Riding him is very special. Every single day he wants to try, it is a partnership. Having a Thoroughbred is great; they can run and they get a thrill out of running. But he is so careful and quick with his feet. I am very blessed to have my Mom and Dad to be able to have him.”
Leslie Law (USA) and Zick Zack had one pole down to finish in 2nd on a 34.5. Rounding out the top three is Lauren Lambert (USA) and Fantastique who also had a rail down to finish on a 37.5.
Charlotte Babbit’s (USA) mount, 2 A.M. won the $1500 cash prize sponsored by Cooley Farm for being the highest placing 6-year-old horse in the division.
Cross-country shook up the final standings with no one finishing inside the optimum time but Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous’ placing remained unchanged. They started their weekend off with an 8.1-point lead after scoring a 24.4 in dressage and kept it with a clear show jumping round yesterday. Today, they accumulated 16.8 time penalties on cross-country but they still held on to the win.
Marilyn details her round. “She gave me an amazing ride around. I was honestly a little bit nervous; it has been a long time since I’ve gotten to go around a real course. I have only done two Prelims and had a couple little schools. But I was coming into it thinking I am just going to have to trust she knows what she is doing and she absolutely did.”
Jessica Phoenix (CAN) and Bogue Sound were the fastest duo today adding only 2.4 time penalties to their score, moving them up from 7th after show jumping into 2nd place. Bogue Sound was also the Thoroughbred Eventing Champion in the CCI4*-S.
Jessica shares what a machine Bogue sound is. “He is just such an exceptional cross-country horse. He is gifted at finding flags and he is so quick and efficient across the ground. He really has had a great season so it was nice to be able to come out on this really good footing and just go at it.”
Rounding out the top three is Leslie Law and Voltaire De Tre. They were the second fastest around the course today picking up 9.6 time penalties.
Will Coleman (USA) and Chin Tonic HS lead wire-to-wire on their 24.2 dressage score to win the CCI2*-L. “He was great all weekend, honestly. This is his first long and we have taken a long time developing him but I think he has a bright future. I really couldn’t be happier with him. He did everything you could ask for. He is still young and he was great.”
Will was tied for 2nd on his other ride, Steam Engine but had four rails down dropping them to 25th. When asked whether the rails with Steam Engine had him concerned heading into the ring on Chin Tonic HS will explains, “No, they’re two different horses. That other horse [Steam Engine] that was uncharacteristic of him. But I think he just froze, I don’t know. I really can’t explain what happened there.”
A double clear round for Buck Davidson (USA) and Cooley Candyman kept them in 2nd place to finish on their 27.9 dressage score. Cooley Candyman also won the $1000 cash prize sponsored by Cooley Farm for being the highest placing 6-year-old horse in the division.
Meanwhile, Jacob Fletcher (USA) and 5o1 Wyly Girl’s fault free show jumping round bumped them up from 5th place after cross-country to 3rd finishing on their 28.2 dressage score.
Templewood, ridden by Emily Beshear (USA) was the Thoroughbred Eventing Champion finishing in 13th place. They only added one rail to their 31.7 dressage score this weekend.
The Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event at the picturesque 950-acre OJC facility has established itself as a premier fall FEI event in the Southeast, with riders praising the venue’s footing, galloping tracks, viewing opportunities and rolling hills reminiscent of the English countryside.
View Full Event Results here.