USA’s Lillie Keenan capitalized on only three months of experience with her mount Fasther, owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC, to top the final class of the 2019 WEF in the $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors National Grand Prix in the International Arena.
Guilherme Jorge built a track for 48 starters and welcomed six through to the jump-off. Keenan qualified two mounts and returned first and last over the short course. She set an early pace with a clear trip in 39.649 seconds riding Chaccolette for owner Chansonette Farm, LLC. She was sitting second when she re-entered the ring aboard Fasther and the gelding lived up to his namesake by stopping the clock at 36.688 seconds for the win.
Lillie Keenan and Fasther. Photo © Sportfot
Keenan settled for third on Chaccolette behind Brazil’s Fabio Leivas ds Costa riding Tosca de l’Esque, who posted a time of 38.580 seconds. Spanish rider Diego Perez Bilboa took fourth riding Orso del Terriccio in 39.649 seconds for owner Victoria Vargas d’Agostino. Kent Farrington (USA) rounded out the top five aboard Kaprice, a horse he owns together with Tanma Corp., on a time of 46.954 seconds.
Keenan, who trains under the direction of two-time U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward, added Fasther to her string at the beginning of 2019. The nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Farmer) was found for Keenan by François Mathy and had previously been competing under the direction of Dutch rider Bas Moerings.
“I have to give him a lot of credit because he developed this horse from his very first show all the way up the FEI level and jumped a four-star grand prix with him as an eight-year old,” said Keenan. “He believed in the horse and taught him how to win. A lot of today goes to the way that he brought the horse up and I’m very thankful for that. Fasther is obviously fast and so careful. I’d say he’s probably the most talented horse I’ve ever ridden.
“He’s got a character, which is what makes him so special but it also requires a partnership,” continued Keenan. “His strengths are what’s going to define his career and what makes him so special.”
After moving to train with Ward in the fall of 2018, Keenan has reorganized her program and is now finding her stride with a new team.
Lillie Keenan and Fasther with CaptiveOne Brand Ambassador Laura Southard and ringmaster Steve Rector. Photo © Sportfot
“This is the moment we have all been waiting for; for me to pull it together,” said Keenan, who is a senior at Harvard University studying History of Science. “I’m ridiculously lucky with the people that I have. Obviously McLain, he believes in me, which is more than you could ever ask of any coach. That support really transfers a team. Craig Pollard literally does everything for me and takes care of managing all of my life with horses. Then there’s my parents, who obviously support me in doing this.”
Keenan ended the WEF season on the highest of notes after what she considered a transitional season and will now focus on finishing school in Cambridge, MA.
“Everything has fallen into place and it’s a nice feeling going into the rest of the year,” she said. “I think I have a very special horse in Fasther and I’m looking forward to the future with him. Hopefully this is the first of many wins for him.”
Final Results: $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Grand Prix
1 FASTHER: 2010 KWPN gelding by Vigo d’Arsouilles x Farmer
LILLIE KEENAN (USA), Chansonette Farm, LLC: 0/0/36.688
2 TOSCA DE L’ESQUE: 2007 Selle Francais mare by Cardento x Apache d’Adriers FABIO LEIVAS DA COSTA (BRA), Bonne Chance Farm LLC: 0/0/38.580
3 CHACCOLETTE: 2009 Oldenburg mare by Chacco Blue
LILLIE KEENAN (USA), Chansonette Farm LLC: 0/0/39.649
4 ORSO DEL TERRICCIO: 2008 SI gelding by Indoctro x Can Can Del Terriccio
DIEGO PEREZ BILBAO (ESP), Victoria Vargas D’Agostino: 0/0/41.273
5 KAPRICE: 2010 BWP mare by Echo van’t Spieveld x Carthago
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Tanma Corp. & Kent Farrington: 0/0/46.954
6 ALMA Z: 2007 Oldenburg mare by Chacco-Blue x Pablo
CORMAC HANLEY (IRL), Heathman Farm, LLC: 0/4/38.763
7 LIBERTY SON 2: 2003 DSP gelding by Clooney x Lord Z
CAITLIN CREEL (USA), Caitlin Creel: 1/83.101
8 CAROLA BH: 2007 KWPN mare by Dutch Capitol x Goodtimes
SOPHIE GOCHMAN (USA), Gochman Sport Horses, LLC: 4/75.924
9 CASHEW CR: 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Cassini II x Quinar
ALEX MATZ (USA), D.D. Matz: 4/76.139
10 DY ZENTO: 2008 KWPN gelding by Zento x Goodtimes
DAVID BLAKE (IRL), Pine Hollow Farm: 4/76.335
11 OUT OF IRELAND: 2006 Anglo European mare by Lougherne Connaught x Amiro M
LAURA CHAPOT (USA), The Edge & Laura Chapot: 4/76.437
12 S & L COCODRILLE: 2008 BWP gelding by Emerald van’t Ruytershof x Kashmir van Schuttershof
SARH SCHEIRING (USA), S & L Farms: 4/77.728