Kansas City, Missouri - October 20, 2017 -The plan worked for Brooke Cudmore, who piloted Blair Cudmore's Cassin to victory in the $25,000 InIt2WinIt Speed Series class at the American Royal Horse Show in Kansas City on October 13.
"I just stuck to my plan," Brooke said with a smile. "I didn't have a chance to watch anyone else go. Cassin was really good. I just rode it the way we walked it and after the first inside turn I tried not to touch the reins and just kept kicking."
The pair went clean in the Table III faults converted class with a blazing time of 61.317, two seconds faster than the second fastest time turned in by Christian Heineking of Hudson Oaks, Texas, who rode NKH Selena to second in 63.119.
"Selena felt really good and the course (designed by Phil DeVita) was appropriate for a qualifying class, with options and inside turns," Heineking said.
Both Cudmore and Heineking had already qualified for the $100,000 InIt2WinIt Series Finals at the International Omaha event on April 12-15, 2018 with performances at the HITS Balmoral show in Chicago in September. Cudmore rides out of her family's Heartland Farm near Omaha, and Heineking has been showing at the International Omaha since its inception and has won four Grand Prix competitions there, including the 2016 Omaha Grand Prix on Selena.
Both are excited to get back to Omaha. "I can't wait for the International Omaha, "Cudmore said. "I love it there. It's home!" Heineking was equally enthusiastic about the InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series. "InIt2WinIt is a great series, and the Final will add another great event to the International Omaha which is already a fantastic horse show," he said.
Coming in third at the American Royal qualifier was hometown favorite Brandie Holloway, who rode Lucky Strike to a time of 63.288. Holloway, from Topeka, Kansas, said she is proud of what the Omaha Equestrian Foundation is doing to promote Midwest high performance riders with the InIt2WinIt series. "So often both myself and my daughter, Hunter, are asked if coming from the Midwest is a hindrance or handicap," she said. "I guess no one expects anything of us so when we come out with guns ablazing people are surprised. I love everything the OEF is doing and am so proud of the opportunities it is creating for Midwest riders."
Holloway has competed successfully at the International Omaha in the past and is anxious to get back. "It is wonderful to show that we can have great shows and riders in the Midwest. I love the hospitality in Omaha and the people are so warm and friendly. I always feel I am in my element there - it's not as uptight as some shows in the East."
The American Royal was the second qualifying show for the InIt2WinIt Finals. In addition to Balmoral, there is the $20,000 InIt2WinIt class at Queenie Productions' St. Louis National Show on November 11. The final qualifying class will be held at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado on January 12. Four riders from each show will qualify.
Riders can also qualify for the InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series Championship in Omaha through Wild Cards issued by the qualifying shows and the Omaha organizing committee, and through monies and points won at qualifying events.
Because Cudmore and Heineking had already qualified at Balmoral, the four qualifying spots for the American Royal went to Holloway, Michael Burnett, Sam Pegg and Dan Bedoya.
Burnett, of Lebanon, Indiana, finished fourth on his feisty gray Iron, going clear in a time of 63.414. Burnett, too, is excited about the $100,000 Final in Omaha. "Qualifying in the InIt2WinIt series gives Midwest riders an opportunity to go to Omaha and surround themselves with people whom they want to be," he said. "It's a higher level of competition than at a lot of Midwest shows."
Pegg, from Ten Sixty Stables in Uxbridge, Ontario, rode Michael Pegg's Shaia De Macheco to the fifth place and third qualifying spot in a time of 64.727 with one rail. The fourth qualifier, Daniel Bedoya of Magnolia, Texas, rode Monica Hanks' Abracadabra WKT to a seventh place finish in a time of 68.418 with a clear round.
These riders join Lisa Goldman of Chicago and Steve Schaefer of Maple Park, Illinois, who also qualified at Balmoral with Cudmore and Heineking, as the first eight qualifiers for the InIt2WinIt Finals.
The goal of the Omaha Equestrian Foundation, host of the 2017 FEI World Cup Finals in both jumping and dressage as well as the International Omaha event, is to bring high caliber international equestrian competition to the Midwest.
The International Omaha on April 12-15, 2018 will be held at the World Cup venue, the CenturyLink Center on Omaha's downtown riverfront. Besides the InIt2WinIt Championship, it will feature a $130,000 International Grand Prix in jumping and a Dressage Team Challenge featuring Grand Prix, Freestyle, Youth and Amateur riders. Spectators also enjoy outstanding shopping, demonstrations, educational exhibits, entertainment and dining, all under one roof.
Twenty-six competitors started at the American Royal qualifier. Others who placed were:
Brooke Cudmore Igor (6th) 66.088
Shannon Hicks Al Pachino (8th) 70.076
Trapp O'Neal Fastrelko (9th) 70.774
Michael Burnett C-Max (10th) 70.937
Shannon Hicks Emir D (11th) 72.305
Trapp O'Neal Capitano (12th) 72.363
Others who competed in the InIt2WinIt class at the American Royal:
Karen Cudmore Southern Pride
Shannon Hicks Ypsilon
Sam Pegg Caroquados T.
Trapp O'Neal Landano
Matt Cyphert Hector
Matt Cyphert Carat V
Carlie Kirsch 2 Cool
Nicole Peterson Diokaldo
Christian Heineking October Hills Cuatro
Erika Moore Brady Barr Z
Daniel Bedoya Quilona V Z
Danielle Urban VDL Byacinthe
Jordan Gilchrist Kingston
Christian Heineking Elitermo
Matt Cyphert Otard
Additional information on the 2018 International Omaha and the InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series is available on line at www.InternationalOmaha.com.
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