Lexington, Ky. – August 4, 2021 – Thoroughbreds were the stars of the show on Wednesday afternoon taking the spotlight in the Claiborne ring on the second day of competition at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Eager to showcase their versatility outside of the racetrack, the mounts and their respective riders vied for the $500 TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter Championship. Following solid placings on Tuesday in the first two over fences rounds in the division it was ultimately Patricia Stovel and Caught Me Looking who topped the talented field to earn the tricolor.
The TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program Inc. assists in developing and promoting careers for thoroughbreds following their racing careers. TAKE2 aims to secure safe futures for off-the-track thoroughbreds by providing divisions where the versatility of the breed can shine. Competitors in Thursday’s competition vied for valuable points for The TAKE2 Thoroughbred League Year-End Finals held at the Kentucky National Horse Show from September 22-26, 2021, where $10,000 in prize money is rewarded in both the TAKE2 Hunter and TAKE2 Jumper Divisions.
Concluding the first day of competition with two second-place finishes in the over fences portion, it was David Beisel of Goshen, Ohio and Melissa Vega’s Thoroughbred gelding, Mo Bandit, who were neck and neck with Natassia Stallings, Purely Grateful, heading into Wednesday’s final day of competition. Stallings and Kelly M Fleming-Bentz’s 9-year-old gelding had a good start to the week taking home both a first place and a fourth-place finish in the over fences portion of the class on Tuesday. The duo continued their consistency laying down another textbook round to take home yet another blue ribbon. After two days of competition, the pair nearly managed to hold onto their lead in the class, but were just bested by Stovel and Caught Me Looking by a small margin as they settled for Reserve Champion.
Stovel and Bridget McNeese’s 14-year-old gelding, Caught Me Looking, were also in the running for champion following a first-place finish in the over fences portion of Wednesday’s competition. The newly partnered duo returned to the ring on Thursday eager to have a repeat performance. The experienced hunter showcased his flowing, steady gate and graceful jump impressing the judges prompting a second-place ribbon for the pair in the final over fences portion of the division to earn the championship title.
With 11 track starts and two first-place finishes during his career as a racehorse, Caught Me Looking, has had a long and successful second career as a hunter taking home top placings first in the Robert Murphy Memorial out of 19 entries with his owner, McNeese, as well as a previous TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter Champion at the Split Rock Hunter Jumper Classic II CSI3* in Kentucky earlier this summer in June. Stovel plans to pilot the talented off-the-track thoroughbred in the TAKE2 Thoroughbred League Year-End Finals at the Kentucky National Horse Show in the fall.
Competition at the Kentucky Summer Classic heats up on Thursday, August 5 in the Rolex Stadium with the $25,000 Kentucky Summer Classic Grand Prix while hunter competition comes to a head on Saturday, August 7 with the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Patricia Silva and Caught Me Looking – $500 TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter Champions
On her partnership with Caught Me Looking:
“He was raised and bred here in Kentucky by his owner [Bridget McNeese], and they raced him, so he has quite the history. His owner also shows him in the intermediate adults at 2’6”, and he’s really good for her. He’s a good all-arounder. He was in my barn last year, but my partner rode him then, and I took over the ride in May.”
On winning the TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter:
“It’s great. He’ll be with me and we will do the [TAKE2 Thoroughbred League Year-End Finals] with him. He’s a really good horse who can do a lot of everything. I did the derby on him at Split Rock, and he ended up 7th in that national derby. His owner rode him in the Robert Murphy derby and they won that! He really gets around.”
On the TAKE2 Thoroughbred Program:
“It’s a great program. I had a jumper I did it with last year and ended up second in the finals. It’s a great program, there’s a place for all of the Thoroughbreds to go when they’re done racing.”