ALMA BJORKLUND BRINGS HOME BLUE FOR SWEDEN IN THE HIGH JUNIOR/AMATEUR-OWNER SPEED CLASS
Alma Bjorklund and her own S.I.E.C. Contessina sped past the competition in Friday's High Junior/Amateur-Owner speed class during the Kentucky Spring Classic. Out of 33 total entries, Alma was one of only four riders able to navigate the speed course without accruing any faults. Her clear time of 61.477 seconds scored the blue ribbon for the day.
Lacey Gilbertson, who won this same class, a week ago during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, showed Bizonder to the second place position with a time of 64.900 seconds. Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur rounded out the top three spots with a clear round and time of 65.130 seconds.
Bjorkland, who hails from Sweden, has been competing with her brother Viggo at the Kentucky Horse Show, LLC events over the past two weeks under the watchful eye of Irish rider and trainer Eddie Macken. In much the same way as Macken has helped Mexico's Eugenio Garza, the winner of last night's $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3*, develop his string of competitive horses, he has also guided the Bjorklund siblings to top placings. Bjorklund specifically appreciates Macken's quiet support and humble demeanor.
The 23-year-old University of Miami student will enter the Rolex Stadium Saturday in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic on another of her talented horses. After the Kentucky Spring Classic wraps up, she will move on to the first event of the 2017 Split Rock Jumping Tour, also held in Kentucky.
FEI jumper competition continues with the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, which will be held after the Preakness viewing Saturday evening in Rolex Stadium. Saturday will also feature "A Day in the Park" to honor Ellen Veitch, a beloved member of the Kentucky Horse Show, LLC family who unexpectedly passed away on February 9, 2017. Exhibitors are encouraged to braid with blue yarn and wear a blue ribbon in loving memory of Ellen. All material is available in the show office for competitors to participate including braiding yarn, ribbons, and pins. Running from noon until 2pm, there will be a Kids Korner children's party that will be held at the end of vendor row adjacent to Murphy Ring. The entire family is invited for the afternoon featuring horseless show jumping, face painting, and an ice cream social. The $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix will finish out competition in this year's edition of the Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC spring series on Sunday afternoon.
FROM THE WINNER'S CIRCLE
On S.I.E.C. Contessina
"She (S.I.E.C. Contessina) is 16-years-old and I have had her for three years. She has been injured a little bit on and off so this is her big come back tour. She is an incredible horse. Always does whatever you ask, really easy and never spooks."
On Her Round:
"I was really hungry today and really wanted to win. Eugenio (Garza), who also trains with Eddie went right before me and he went really fast so I figured that I couldn't not try. I went for it and she was awesome and responded very well and it turned out to be our day today."
On Training with Eddie Macken:
"Daniel Zetterman used to train my brother (Viggo) and when he started training with him, we all followed suite. It has been awesome because he is super patient and very humble and anything in the ring and off the ring he is a good person and such an inspiration."
1. S.I.E.C. Contessina / Alma Bjorklund / Alma Bjorklund / 61.47
2. Bijzonder / Lacey Gilbertson / Seabrook LLC / 64.90
3. VDL Bellefleur / Nicole Bellissimo / Bellissimo LLC / 65.13
4. Carisma / Emma Kurtz / Chagrin Saddlery LLC / 65.76
5. Empire Van Wuitenshof / Eugenio Garza / El Milagro / 60.82
6. Samoa / Anna Beth Athey / Anna Beth Athey / 64.64
7. Rocking Jo / Hayley Carlson / Ketcham Farm at Cream Ridge LLC / 70.96
8. Dakar VDL / Riley Newsome / Riley Newsome / 72.62
9. Quite Close VD SMIS / Claudia Villamil / Claudia Villamil / 60.18
10. Bente / Briley Koerner / BKS Horse Farms, LLC / 62.06
11. Hermine 44 / Addison Piper / South Pine Farm LLC / 70.04
12. Mae / Noel Fauntleroy / Noel Fauntleroy / 73.95