Wayne, Illinois, USA – May 14, 2022 – Everything was coming up golden for Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA) on Saturday during the Lamplight Spring Classic I at HITS Chicago. With multiple entries in the hotly contested $25,000 Hits Grand Prix, the talented professional secured the top two placings by producing two double-clear efforts during the day’s highlight event. The victory gallop was led by Ivaro N, while Nike garnered the second-place award with the Hawthorn Woods native.
“It’s always fun to come here!” expressed Smolen. “This is home – my first ‘A’-show ever back in 1998 was here, so this really feels like home to me. It’s a beautiful facility, and Tom [Struzzieri] has really done a good job with it over the last few years.”
The Grand Prix Stadium at Lamplight Equestrian Center featured an inviting first-round track designed by Florencio Hernandez. The course was comprised of 13 obstacles that included three double combinations and a striding option down the final line that went away from the gate over a triple bar to a final steady vertical. Four advanced to the tiebreaker, where two new fences were introduced. Riders also had to show over a careful vertical-vertical double combination and make a galloping rollback to the last vertical.
Smolen was the pathfinder over the opening course and returned for the jump-off to once again show the field how it is done with her own Nike, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare. The duo left each rail intact and set the pace to beat at a clear 43.331 seconds. Molly Talla (USA) was next with her own Hirado Blue. They were able to leave all the rails in the cups, but had a more conservative time of 46.831 seconds, which would hold up for third place.
Smolen (USA) returned to the ring next, this time aboard Ivaro N, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Barbara Disko. With the advantage of having already completed the short course once, she knew she could make up time in the turns and was able to break the beam in a fault-free 42.386 seconds to go straight to the top of the leaderboard. Stephen Foran was the last to try his hand at the jump-off with Léane Audrey Helfer’s Billy Manjaro, but a rail at the third fence would add 4 faults to their score in a time of 42.875 seconds for the fourth-place award. Smolen entered the Grand Prix Stadium one final time with Ivaro N to lead the lap of honor.
“It was a really nice, fun, flowing jump-off,” commented Smolen. “I went first on Nike, so I wanted to go out and lay it down a little bit, but it was more important to go clear. With Ivaro N, I wanted to have a pretty good pace between one and two in the jump-off – that was a good place to get a good gallop, and it set you up for the next turn. It was a pretty straightforward course, and I wanted to make sure I cut the turn to the six-stride, so I put a little bit of shape in that line so that it didn’t get too steady.”
Smolen (USA) has been riding Ivaro N for two years, but noted their first year together was slightly lighter because she was pregnant with her now 1-year-old son. “He’s really starting to come into his own,” she stated. “I found out I was pregnant right after I got him, so he kind of got an easy year or two. He’s finally stepping up and he worked pretty hard this winter.”
Show jumping action at Lamplight Equestrian Center will continue over the next two weeks as part of the HITS Chicago Series, which runs through September at the world-class facility. The Lamplight Spring Classic Series will feature two more $25,000 Hits Grand Prix classes, as well as the $10,000 HITS Open Jumper Prix, the $5,000 Vita Flex 1.35m Jumper Classic, and the $2,500 Stal Hendrix 1.35m Welcome each week.
Final Results – $25,000 Hits Grand Prix
1) Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA) & Ivaro N – 0 / 0 – 42.386
2) Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA) & Nike – 0 / 0 – 43.331
3) Molly Talla (USA) & Hirado Blue – 0 / 0 – 46.831
Source: Press Release from Hits Horse Shows
Photos: © Alison Hartwell