Wayne, Illinois – May 14, 2022 – Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA) held onto her win streak after topping the Great American $300,000 Grand Prix at Hits Ocala just over a month ago. Returning to her home turf at Hits Chicago, she captured the $25,000 Hits Grand Prix Saturday during the Lamplight Spring Classic I. With multiple entries in Saturday’s main event, the talented professional from Hawthorn Woods took home the blue ribbon with Sovereign, and then also went on to place third aboard Narcotique B, while Hillary Johnson (USA) piloted Eastpoint to the second-place prize.
“I’ve had Sovereign for seven years now with Barbara Disko and he has become my rock,” smiled Smolen after her win. “He is the favorite horse in the barn and he’s my favorite horse to ride. He just loves his job so much. He is 17 now, so we pick and choose a little bit how many classes we do with him. This is his first class since Florida, but he feels so good and he’s so game for everything.”
The Grand Prix Stadium at Lamplight Equestrian Center featured an inviting first-round track designed by Florencio Hernandez. The course was comprised of 12 obstacles that included three double combinations with a bending line to the final wide oxer towards the gate. Six advanced to the tiebreaker, where two new fences were introduced. Riders also had to show over a vertical-oxer 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 Stephanie St. John’s Belgian Warmblood stallion Narcotique B. The duo left each rail intact and set the pace to beat at a clear 38.496 seconds.
Hillary Johnson (USA) was next with her own Eastpoint. They had luck on their side with a hard rub at the final fence, but it stayed in place for a clear round in 37.321 seconds.
Lisa Goldman Smolen (USA) had another shot at the top though with her veteran mount Sovereign, and a quick rollback to the double proved to be the key to winning, clearing the track in 35.111 seconds to earn the top honors.
“It was Narcotique B’s first grand prix ever, so I was just trying to have a nice smooth round because it was definitely a step up for him,” explained Smolen. “We’ve had him for a long time, but this is the first time he had a chance to do the bigger classes with me. Then when I got to go back on Sovereign, I had a plan for the numbers I wanted, but it didn’t quite ride as smoothly as I wanted. I actually made a mistake aiming at something wrong, but he was so careful and fast. I think where I really caught the time in the turn back to the double. He naturally wants to be a winner!”
Smolen has been competing at Lamplight Equestrian Center her entire life, earning many of her first major wins at the historic facility. “I spend all summer here, I Iove it,” she concluded. “It has a ton of memories for me, and it is close enough to home that I get to go back home every night when I’m here.”
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 Hits Jumper Classic, and the $2,500 Vita Flex Open Welcome each week.
Final Results – $25,000 Hits Grand Prix
1) Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA) & Sovereign – 0 / 0 –35.11
2) Hillary Johnson (USA) & Eastpoint – 0 / 0 –37.32
3) Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA) & Narcotique B – 0 / 0 – 38.50
Source: Press Release from Hits Horse Show
Photos: © Alison Hartwell Photography / Rebecca Walton
Categories: Results, USEF Rated