Kevin Mealiff and Lodewijk Seal the Deal in the $25,000 Score at the Top Grand Prix

October 8. 2023

The 2023 ESP Fall Series kicked off this week with the ESP October horse show. On the opening day of the competition, jumpers took to the spotlight to compete in the $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Welcome on the Derby Field. The class welcomed 18 horse-and-rider combinations for the opening round, with seven advancing to the jump-off. Second to go in the jump-off was Argentina’s Luis Pedro Biraben, aboard his and Miguel Madero’s, Chapeau PS Z. The duo put in an early lead with a clear 35.137 seconds, where they would remain to take the win. Close on his heels and taking both second and third place was Nicole Velazco Magana (MEX). Magana took second with her own, Daddy’s Destiny, with a clear time of 35.876 and took third on F.C. Okarla with a quick and clear 37.419 seconds. 

Luis Pedro Biraben and Chapeau PS Z presented as winners of the $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Stake © Sportfot

Later in the day, hunters took to the Derby Annex Field for the $2,000 Pilates Rocks National Hunter Derby. USA’s Audrey Robison and Sky High Equestrian Center’s SH Broadcast beat out the competition, earning them the lion’s share of the prize money.

“He [SH Broadcast] is just recently imported; maybe less than a month ago,” said Robison. Last week was our first official horse show here in the 3’3” Performance Hunter where he was Reserve Champion. He won the handy, which was his first handy ever so coming into this we knew he could turn.” 

Audrey Robison and SH Broadcast presented as winners of the $2,000 Pilates Rocks National Hunter Derby © Sportfot

Taking the second-place ribbon was Lexy Reed (USA) and Mister Money Maker He Z. The duo put in scores of 83 and 85.5, earning them a combined score of 168.5. Completing the podium was Isabela de Sousa and Diara Blue with scores of 62 and 79 for a combined score of 141. 

Competitors returned to the Derby Field Saturday morning for the $5,000 Omega Alpha 1.35m Open Stake. With a starting list of 21 riders, just seven managed to qualify for the second round. Galloping to both the first and second-place position was Lebanon’s Jad Dana, taking first with Burr Associates, Inc.’s Qadira, and second with Wyndmont’s, Meadowvale Cruise. Earning the yellow ribbon to round out the podium was Mexico’s Nicole Velazco Magana and her own entry, Only You Z, putting in a clear 41.268 seconds. 

Jad Dana and Qadira presented as winners of the $5,000 Omega Alpha 1.35m Open Stake © Sportfot

Sunday’s competition kicked off on the Derby Field with the $2,500 Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic (1.30m). Nine competitors entered the class, held in the immediate jump-off format, with two advancing to the short course. Of the returning competitors, it was Nicole Velazco Magana (MEX) and Only You Z who took home the win. The pair was double clear and set the winning time to 38.408 seconds. Securing second was Mexico’s Rodrigo Enriquez and his own entry, Pia Maria H, with a time of 40.689 seconds. Closing out the top three was Switzerland’s Emily Zuckerbraun and her own, Chicago Du Ru, with a first-round time of 79.03 seconds. 

Nicole Velazco Magana and Only You Z presented as winners of the $2,500 Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic (1.30m) © Sportfot

Competition came to a head Sunday during the $25,000 Score At the Top Grand Prix to round out the first week of the Fall Series. Twenty-one competitors took to the course, with six returning for the jump-off. In the end, Ireland’s Kevin Mealiff led the victory gallop with his own entry, Lodewijk. 

Kevin Mealiff and Lodewijk in the $25,000 Score At the Top Grand Prix © Cassidy Klein

“Lodewijk is relatively new to me. My good friend in New York, Gavin Riley, found him for me and he came over around two months ago,” said Mealiff. “He’s still only seven so for a 7-year-old to win a Grand Prix is quite something. In the 7-year-old classes, he was jumping really well so I thought it was a good time this week to step him up into the Grand Prix.” 

Kevin Mealiff and Lodewijk in the $25,000 Score At the Top Grand Prix © Cassidy Klein

Mealiff and Lodewijk were second to last to attest to the jump-off, stopping the clock in a clear 52.918 seconds, securing them the victory. Right on their heels with the quickest 4-fault time of 46.894 seconds was Lebanon’s Jad Dana and Wyndmont’s ABC Quantum Cruise, earning them the red ribbon. Rounding out the podium for this week's feature class was USA’s Maggie Hill and Maestro Van ‘T Roosakker, owned by Summit Farms LLC, with an 8-fault time of 50.681 seconds. 

An action-packed week of competition returns next week to Equestrian Village for ESP Fall I. The event kicks off with schooling sessions, while the hunters will take center stage starting Thursday. Prepare to be captivated from Friday to Sunday with events that include the  $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open Stake, the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by Pilates Rocks, the $5,000 VitaFlex 1.35m Stake presented by VitaFlex, the $1,000 Alexander Academic Access 2’6”/2’9” Hunter Derby and the feature class of the week - the $25,000 CCTV Agent Grand Prix to wrap up competition for the week. View the prize list and schedules here!