Wayne, Illinois, USA – June 26, 2022 – On Sunday, Kyle Perkovich (USA) raced to the biggest win of his career with Rarity in the $50,000 Hits Grand Prix to close out the Lamplight Spring Spectacular III at Hits Chicago. He set the original pace to beat during the five-horse jump-off, leaving out a stride to the second fence and never slowing down as he bested the other double clears produced by Thomas Cerra (USA) with Incredible Loma and Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA) with Sovereign, who placed second and third, respectively.
“This is my first big purse win, and it feels absolutely amazing,” smiled Perkovich. “This whole time at Lamplight, just creeping in there, hovering in that same spot the whole time and finally just breaking through and winning. This is the first year for Rarity to step up to this height and work at this level. We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the year, and it’s been a really fun journey. Taking it home during the last week feels really awesome!”
Hector Loyola set a technical first-round track, which included a line that began with a triple bar to a vertical-vertical double combination and finished with another oxer, causing downed rails for many in the original order. Five advanced to the short course, where they had to begin with a sharp rollback before two long gallops across the ring, another rollback to a vertical-oxer double combination, and finally a rollback to the last liverpool oxer on the far side of the ring.
Perkovich was the first to return with Rarity, and having knocked on the door throughout the three weeks of the Lamplight Spring Spectacular, they were ready to kick it open on Sunday. Quick turns and a blazing fast gallop helped them break the beam in a fault-free 41.736 seconds, setting an unbeatable pace for the day.
“The first spot that I made up the biggest time was from one to two,” he explained. “I landed, turned, saw the distance, and went for it. It was a little long, a flyer, but we just kept on going, and as soon as I hit that jump, I knew I was on the pace and had just to keep on going to stay on it. Everything came up beautifully, spun back around to the in-and-out, jumped it amazingly, had a little bit of a rub [before the last], but that was perfect – just landed perfectly straight, spun, and ran at the last. It was really good!”
Perkovich’s trainer, Lisa Goldman Smolen (USA), was hoping to notch another win with Sovereign as the next to compete, but their more conservative clear time of 42.391 seconds would only be good enough for third. Madelyn Cardelli and Baal Berith followed with an 8-fault round and fifth place.
Thomas Cerra (USA) and Incredible Loma tried to challenge Perkovich’s lead, and while they left all the rails in their cups, their time of 42.334 seconds would prove too slow and edge into the second-place position by just 6/100ths of a second ahead of Smolen.
Cormac Hanley (IRL) and Glynn Ways Honneur T&L Z were the final part to contest the jump-off, but had a rail in the combination for 4 faults and fourth place.
Rarity is a 12-year-old Oldenburg mare bred by Smolen and her mother, Mary Goldman, that Perkovich began riding in January of 2021. The day’s victory created a full-circle moment for the team from Red Coat Farm, and Perkovich has enjoyed the camaraderie of competing against his trainer throughout the year.
“It’s interesting,” he noted. “We work together, but as soon as we step in the ring, all of that kind of goes away and we ride our own rides. It’s fun to be at the same level and riding with her the whole way – it’s really fun; an awesome experience!”
Sunday marks the end of the final week of competition during the Lamplight Spring Spectacular Series, but competition will resume on July 6 as part of the Lamplight Summertime and Equifest Series, which runs for six weeks through August 14. Highlight events will include the weekly $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, two $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies, the $5,000 USHJA Hunter Team Challenge July 20-24, and the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship on July 30. To submit your entries or reserve your stall for the HITS Chicago Series, hosted at Lamplight Equestrian Center through September, please click here.
Final Results – $50,000 Hits Grand Prix
1) Kyle Perkovich (USA) & Rarity – 0 / 0 – 41.736
2) Thomas Cerra (USA) & Incredible Loma – 0 / 0 – 42.334
3) Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA) & Sovereign – 0 / 0 – 42.391
Source: Press Release from Hits Horse Shows
Photos: © Hits Shows / Alison Hartwell