Nothing to Lose and Everything to Gain: Claire McKean Wins $25K Hagyard Lexington Classic at Kentucky Summer

The Rolex Stadium was teeming with top-notch competition Thursday afternoon, July 23 as a lofty 47 entries took to the ring in hopes of securing the win in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic. The first of five events making up the 2020 Hagyard Challenge Series, the bar was set high as riders navigated Bobby Murphy’s 16-effort track in hopes of accruing points towards the end-of-series $25,000 Hagyard Challenge Leading Rider Bonus. Proving that the best is often saved for last, Claire McKean delivered the fastest clear of the day to earn her first big win of 2020.

Claire McKean on Isabelle. Photo by Meagan DeLisle/Phelps Media Group.

Murphy’s course proved to challenge riders as rails fell down early on in the afternoon. Alejandro Karolyi (VEN) was the first to post a clear ride aboard Monica Carrera’s Lincourt Gino and the next clear would not follow until seven rounds later when Ryan Genn (USA) and Colora, owned by Wilhelm Genn, would cross the timers with all rails intact. Karolyi and Genn would be joined by just six other riders as the long list of entrants whittled away one-by-one: Sharn Wordley (NZL), Wilhelm Genn (GER), Kyle Dewar (USA), Sam Walker (CAN), Tanner Korotkin (USA) and last, but not least, McKean (USA).

Ryan Genn on Colora. Photo by Georgie Hammond/Phelps Media Group.

First in the ring for the jump-off was Karolyi who fell victim to both the time allowed and the shortened course, finishing his day on 5 total faults. Following Karolyi was Ryan Genn who set the pace with a clear round and a time of 42.10 seconds to take an early lead. Genn’s father, Wilhelm Genn, followed suit, determined to give his son a run for his money, but fell just shy of the required time to beat stopping the timers at 42.12 seconds. Eager to surpass the current leading time, Dewar and Walker would both deliver lightning-fast rounds, but their hopes of winning would topple as the top pole of fence seven hit the sand.

Wilhelm Genn and Van Gogh. Photo by Georgie Hammond/Phelps Media Group.

Two more clear rounds came from Korotkin and Wordley, both of which were unable to top Genn’s time. The last to give the jump-off a go was Texas native McKean aboard her own entry, Isabelle, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, McKean powered through the course shaving off an impressive one and a half seconds from Genn’s leading time to claim the victory. McKean left Ryan Genn in second place with Colora, followed by Wilhelm Genn in third place aboard Van Gogh.

Claire McKean on Isabelle. Photo by Georgie Hammond/Phelps Media Group.

The Rolex Stadium will resume jumper competition at 8:00am Friday morning, July 24 with the High Junior/Amateur Jumpers. Show jumping will continue at the Kentucky Horse Park throughout Sunday, July 26, with the $50,000 Rood and Riddle Grand Prix on Saturday serving as the week’s feature event.

Full Class Results – $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic:
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Isabelle / Claire McKean / USA / Claire McKean / 0  | 79.96 / 0 | 40.64
2. Colora / Ryan Genn / USA / Wilhelm Genn / 0  | 78.38 / 0 | 42.11
3. Van Gogh /  Wilhelm Genn / GER / Wilhelm Genn / 0  | 80.42 / 0 | 42.12
4. Country Boy / Tanner Korotkin / USA / Sandalwood Farm / 0  | 76.64 / 0 | 43.16
5. Barnetta / Sharn Wordley / NZL / Abrahamson Equestrian LLC and Sharn Wordley / 0  | 79.50 / 2 | 44.02
6. Kel’Star Du Vingt Ponts / Sam Walker / CAN / Castlefield Sport Horses Inc. / 0  | 79.76 / 4 | 41.45
7. Clever Van De Helle / Kyle Dewar / USA / Kyle Dewar / 0  | 76.63 / 4 | 41.80
8. Lincourt Gino / Alejandro Karolyi / VEN / Monica Carrera / 0  | 75.70 / 5 | 47.23
9. Dalida / Sloan Hopson / USA / Sloan Hopson / 2  | 83.72
10. Z Diamanty / Megan Bash / USA / Cleveland Equestrian / 3  | 84.559
11. Alejandro / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / Sweet Oak, Spy Coast and Seabrook / 4  | 76.37
12. Deauville S / Tanner Korotkin / USA / Castlewood Farm, Inc. / 4  | 76.53