Upperville, Virginia – Venezuela’s Angel Karolyi braved the wet weather to claim victory aboard Amigo in the $75,000 Upperville Jumper Classic on Sunday, June 9, at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show in Upperville, Virginia.
Karolyi and Amigo, a nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding, topped a starting field of 27 horse and rider combinations to capture the win over a course that left many struggling. Not a single rider completed the first round fault-free, with 10 opting to retire. The track set by International Equestrian Federation (FEI) level 3 course designer Marina Azevedo of Brazil was the only one of the week built in the grass arena, as wet weather throughout the week precluded its earlier use.
When the first round failed to yield a clear effort, Karolyi, Kyle Timm of Canada, and Ramiro Quintana of Argentina, all of whom had incurred four faults, lined up for a truly international jump-off.
Timm again posted a four-fault effort riding Apex Equestrian’s Wadisson. Karolyi opted for a slower pace in the jump-off, focusing instead on a clear performance in a time of 47.88 seconds. His tactics paid off as the final jump-off challenger, Quintana aboard Ziedento, once again incurred four faults.
“It was difficult conditions, the ground was soft, and I wasn’t comfortable leaving strides out,” said Karolyi. “Having to slow down so much, yet try to maintain the energy to get across the oxers, cost me a rail in the first round.”
Returning for the jump-off, Karolyi had even more cause for concern.
“It had rained more since I had jumped the first round, and it kept raining,” explained Karolyi who, at 26, is already a Venezuelan show jumping team veteran. “The ground was getting softer, so I was a bit conservative in the jump-off. I wanted to give the horse a good experience. I just had to hope that Ramiro would make a mistake. He was having a nice round and was faster, but he ended up having a rail.”
In addition to their win in the $75,000 Upperville Jumper Classic, Karolyi and Amigo enjoyed success earlier in the week with a double-clear performance in Friday’s $25,000 Upperville Welcome Stake on June 7. Creating a large jump-off, 22 of the 34 starters were clear in the opening round to qualify for the tie-breaker. Karolyi was one of 13 riders to once again post a clear round, with his time of 39.39 seconds placing him ninth. Young American Victoria Colvin took the win with a time of 36.42 seconds aboard Monsieur du Reverdy while fellow American Devin Ryan rode No Worries to a second place finish in a time of 36.47 seconds.
Karolyi also finished ninth in the $10,000 1.40m Jumper competition on Thursday, June 6, riding Armani Z, an eight-year-old bay Zangersheide mare.
Karolyi has been partnered with Amigo since the end of March and enjoyed a third place finish in the $25,000 Grand Prix at the Aiken Spring Classic Finale in South Carolina in April. The pair competed at the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows and the Pennsylvania’s Devon Horse Show in May where they placed fifth in the $50,000 Idle Dice Stake before coming to Upperville.
“I’m getting to know the horse and creating a partnership,” said Karolyi of Amigo. “It’s not a matter of scope or how big the jumps are. He’s very powerful, very correct, and jumps in beautiful form over every jump, every time. It’s a genuine horse. It’s very exciting to have one like that.”
Both Amigo and Armani Z are owned by Hollow Creek Farm, a large training business operated by Karolyi and business partner, renowned horsewoman Andrea King, in Aiken, South Carolina.
Hollow Creek Farm had the unique distinction of winning three prestigious titles at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. At only 16 years of age, star student Emanuel Andrade of Venezuela was named the Leading Jumper Rider, Andrea King was named the Leading Jumper Trainer, and Hollow Creek Farm was named the Leading Jumper Owner.