Linda Radigan and Balveneur Z Rule the $50,000 Purina Grand Prix at Lamplight Equifest II
Wayne, Ill. – August 6, 2023 – Spectators gathered at the Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Ring at HITS Chicago on Sunday morning to watch some of the nation’s top riders battle it out for winning honors in the $50,000 Purina Grand Prix. With an extremely competitive lineup, it was Linda Radigan and her veteran partner, Balveneur Z, who claimed the top prize once again. Nicolas Gamboa guided NKH Mr. Darcy to second place, while last week’s winners, Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Sovereign, rounded off the top three.
“Balveneur just turned 15 and we've been together for almost 10 years now. He's the best. He absolutely loves what he does and he always gives me 110% every day,” explained Radigan after her win. “I love him. We've been together so long that we know each other so well, and sometimes I think we know each other a little too well. I always know that no matter what happens, he's going to try his heart out for me every time.”
LInda Radigan and Balveneur Z in the Winner's Circle at HITS Chicago
The initial round consisted of twelve obstacles on a long track with lots of short approaches as well as three separate combinations before finishing on a large oxer towards home. After some jumps were removed from the field, the jump-off gave riders the opportunity to take tight turns and galloping approaches making it a close match for the top placings.
Being the tenth team in the order-of-go, Radigan was the first to produce a clear round and the first to advance to the jump-off. As the jump-off’s pathfinder, Radigan was quick and accurate, earning herself the quick time of 39.485 seconds to remain in the top spot. Falling just short of Radigan’s time by a very narrow margin was Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy who clocked in at 39.649 seconds. Rounding off the top three was Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Sovereign with a double clear, finishing right on Radigan’s and Gamboa’s heels with a time of 39.748 seconds.
Linda Radigan and Balveneur Z
“We’re going to head up to HITS Saugerties for a little bit now and do some of the prix there. Then we'll start aiming for HITS Ocala and hopefully have him ready to jump some of the prix down there. My main goal for now is to just keep him happy, healthy and fit,” said Radigan.
Balveneur Z has a very special part in Radigan’s heart as she has worked hard bringing up the gifted mount. “He jumped his first Grand Prix when he was 8 and he’s always done really well,” she noted. “Today’s course was very technical and the time allowed was tight. Being 10th in the order and nobody had gone clear, so I wanted to be quick in case I had a rail, but as quick and efficient as I could, in hopes that all the jumps stayed up.”
Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy
Being Radigan’s second time at HITS Chicago, she enjoyed her experience at the boutique venue, concluding, “We love being here! Especially in these classes, everyone's so friendly. We all help each other. There's such good comradery that it's really fun to compete and cheer each other on! ”
One more week of show jumping action remains at HITS Chicago for the Lamplight Equifest show. Next week’s competition will feature the $50,000 Summit Max Grand Prix, as well as Friday’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby and $25,000 HITS Grand Prix.