Caelinn Leahy stands for presentation. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

 Bellis Farm rider Caelinn Leahy was on quite the hot streak during the final week of the HITS Chicago Lamplight Spring Classic, notching several top finishes. In the marquee event of the week, the $24,500 FarmVet Grand Prix on Saturday, May 25, 2024, Leahy secured a wire-to-wire win riding Zarkava. .

Caelinn Leahy and Zarkava. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

In a six-horse jump-off, Red Coat Farm’s Lisa Goldman-Smolen set a challenging pace to beat with Narcotique B, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (O’Splendido) owned by Stephanie St. John, finishing in 43.015 seconds. With Goldman-Smolen still to contest the short course with her second ride, Romeo B, Leahy knew she needed a quick and clear round. With a fast gallop across the middle of the arena and a sharp turn back to the last line, Leahy crossed the finish line fault-free in 41.589 to take the lead. Goldman-Smolen followed with Romeo B, her own seven-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Heartbreaker). Though she seemingly mirrored Leahy’s track and left all the rails intact, Goldman-Smolen couldn’t quite catch the time, stopping the clock in 42.611 seconds. In the end it was Leahy who led the lap of honor with Zarkava, Steve Schaefer’s 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Guidam x Sir Libero), while Goldman-Smolen claimed second and third places with Narcotique B, and  Romeo B, respectively.

Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Narcotique B. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

“I know that Lisa [Goldman-Smolen] is always fast, and she’s always such a great competitor, so it’s always fun when I’m in the jump-off with her,” noted Leahy. “Both of her horses are quicker than mine, so I always have to bring my A-game when I’m up against her!”

Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Romeo B. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

In addition to her $24,500 FarmVet Grand Prix win, Leahy also claimed first and third places in Friday’s Spotlight Event, the $5,000 Alliant Private Client 1.35m Jumper Classic, with Goldman-Smolen again taking second.

Caelinn Leahy and The Grey Man. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

This time, Leahy rode Steve Schaffer’s 16-year-old KWPN gelding, The Gray Man (Tjungske x Calando I), to victory with a clear jump-off time of 43.19 seconds. Goldman-Smolen delivered  the only other first-round clear to complete the three-horse jump-off, riding Barbra Disko’s six-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion, Solomon B (Cumano BD), to a time of 45.269 seconds. With her second mount in the class, Zarkava, Leahy shaved two seconds off her previous leading time, clocking in at 41.139 seconds. However, an unlucky rail at fence six resulted in a four-fault effort, placing her third.

Caelinn Leahy and Zarkava. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

Reflecting on her success, Leahy expressed excitement about closing out the Lamplight Spring Classic with another win.

Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Solomon B. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

“I love showing here and I plan to be back this summer,” she said. “I’m really enjoying the new management and the show looks beautiful; it’s back to the old Lamplight. More people are going to come out and watch these classes and be a part of it. It’s a beautiful venue and they’re just treating it really well, so I think that leads to great competition and great spectatorship.”

Caelinn Leahy stands for presentation. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

On Sunday, May 26, Leahy concluded her week with her third win in a showcase class, the $5,000 Horseflight Jumper Classic She piloted Hennessy, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Eldorado Van De Zeschoek x Verdi TN) owned by Andrew Bourns to a double-clear round and a winning time of 47.486 seconds. Leahy also took home the second-place prize on The Gray Man, delivering the second of four clean efforts in the class and a close time of 47.518 seconds. Red Coat Farms rider Adeline Rohrbach, on her own 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding Cooper 211 (Carinjo x Carlos DZ), rounded out the top three finishers with a faultless round in 49.633 seconds.

Caelinn Leahy and Hennessy. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

Although the Lamplight Spring Classic Series has concluded, the action at HITS Chicago will continue Wednesday, May 29, with the start of the three-week-long Lamplight Spring Spectacular Series.