Watch! McLain Ward Discusses Speed Round Strategy
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McLain Ward Wins the LeSportsac Speed Derby
This year’s Longines FEI World Cup Final winner and current number two ranked rider in the world, McLain Ward, of Brewster, NY, took top honours in the $15,000 LeSportsac Speed Derby Friday morning at the Hampton Classic.
McLain Ward and Bellefleur PS Z won the $15,000 LeSportsac Speed Derby at the Hampton Classic.
Riding the cat-like eight-year-old gray mare, Bellefleur PS Z, Ward bested the competition, and the course, to come out on top in a time of 74.227 seconds. Bellefleur is owned by Ward’s godmother, Susie Heller, and his daughter, Lilly.
The course included the natural obstacles of the bank and the open water jump scored with a rail on top.
“She’s really a fun horse, she’s very careful, but she’s like a little lion,” described Ward after the class. “We’ll just keep stepping her up the ladder and we’ll see where she ends up. She is naturally fast and so brave. I wasn’t sure what she was going to think about the naturals though – the bank and the open water with the rail. We had practiced them a little bit, but she hasn’t had a lot of experience with them yet. She just takes everything in stride and, you know, with her rhythm and carefulness, it allows you to stay at just the right pace. A lot of the careful horses love the grass field, and for some it is intimidating. It really depends on the personality of the horse. Bellefleur is not intimidated by much really!”
Second place went to Brazil’s Fabio Leivas Da Costa with Tosca De L’Esques, with a time of 76.051 seconds. Third went to American Molly Ashe, with Picobello Choppin PC, finishing on 76.130 seconds.