Jordyn Rose Freedman and Finnick
Kicking off at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday was the first round of the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm, one of the most sought-after prizes in junior equitation riding. In her last year as a junior, Jordyn Rose Freedman of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and Finnick topped the final callback list after the first round of over fences competition heading in to Sunday's final rounds.
The championship, which spans across two days, began with the first round of jumping on Saturday, while the flat phase and second jumping phase will be held on Sunday. In addition, further testing may be requested by the judges on Sunday.
The Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park welcomed 177 horses and riders, who have spent all year competing to qualify for this year's finals across eight regions throughout the country, to compete over Bobby Murphy's first round course.
Freedman's confident ride on Finnick impressed judges Ralph Caristo and Bernie Traurig, boosting Freedman to the top spot after her trip, which fell 117th in the order-of-go. Freedman maintained her lead for the remainder of the class, which wrapped up 60 trips later.
Under the guidance of trainer Linda Langmeier of Kelianda Farm, Freedman and Finnick successfully navigated several tricky elements on course including a double and triple combination, a triple bar fence, multiple skinny obstacles, an S-shaped bending line across the center of the ring and a tight inside rollback to the final oxer.
Before Freedman's round, the talented Annabel Revers of Weston, Massachusetts, and Contigo 37 went 37th in the order, passing the course's various tests with graceful ease to quickly move into the lead with the announcement of the first standby list. However, Revers would go on to finish the first round of competition sitting in third place as Madison Goetzmann of Skaneateles, New York, and San Remo VDL moved into second place after delivering a textbook round at 128th in the order.
The ASPCA Maclay National Championship will resume on Sunday at 1 p.m. with the flat phase followed by the second over fences round.
FROM THE WINNER'S CIRCLE
Ralph Caristo - 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Championship judge
On Saturday's first round course:
"When we walked [the course] this morning we had some doubts about some of the lines, but Bobby Murphy did a fantastic job and guided us on some of the ideas that we had and incorporated that in the course. The course rode beautifully. It separated the riders, but it didn't embarrass them so we were very pleased with how the course turned out. In the flat phase tomorrow, we expect the kids to measure up to what they've been taught."
Bernie Traurig - 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Championship judge
On Saturday's first round course:
"I thought fence one was a great challenge. It prevented a rideability issue for the riders and took its toll, I thought. It was a very beautiful course that Bobby did. Fence number six seemed to be a problem for a lot of horses - the ASPCA skinny. That spooked a lot of horses, but the course, I think, was really fair. I think we had a group of 8-10 beautiful rounds in this class. It was a really tough group this year. I expect we're going to have a great finish to this tomorrow."
Top 25 riders advancing to Sunday's flat phase, beginning at 1 p.m.:
1. Jordyn Rose Freedman
2. Madison Goetzmann
3. Annabel Revers
4. Paige Matthies
5. Alexandra Worthington
6. Coco Fath
7. Grady Lyman
8. Ellie Ferrigno
9. Abigail Brayman
10. Cooper Dean
11. Alexandra Pielet
12. Natalie Stoyko
13. Daisy Farish
14. Samantha Cohen
15. Taylor St. Jacques
16. Madeline Schaefer
17. Hannah Doherty
18. Tanner Korotkin
19. Elizabeth McKim
20. Yasmin Rizvi
21. Emma Crosbie
22. Natalie Jayne
23. Chloe Wilkenfeld
24. Katherine Dash
25. Caroline Passarelli