Jensen has ridden Conthacco for about six months under Brennan and Clark, who won the $10,000 Trainer Awards. “We were mostly thinking of the time allowed when I went in,” Jensen said. “It really helps me set up the rhythm I need and keep it going.”
Jensen also won the $10,000 Beval Groom’s Award for his excellent care of Conthacco.
“Luke is such a wonderful student and horseman,” Clark said. “He takes care of Conthacco himself. The horse is owned by (Grand Prix rider) Schuyler Riley, who sent him to us toward the end of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Luke has had nothing but a winning partnership from him since the first weekend they rode together. We’re very fortunate to have such a wonderful horse in our barn, and we’re very thankful to Schuyler for directing him toward us.”
“Luke is such a hard, hard worker,” Clark added. “It always makes you want to be in his court. It’s such a great thing to have a kid that’s got talent and is willing to put in the work. We knew we could count on Conthacco, who’s a rockstar, so I figured if Luke could keep himself under the time allowed, his chances were as good as they get. And he got it done.”
Baylee McKeever of Brewster, N.Y., trained by five-time Olympian McLain Ward and riding Ward's Salvatore, earned 171.5 points for a second-place finish. Zayna Rizvi of Greenwich, Conn., also trained by Brennan and Clark, took third aboard Jordyn Rose Freedman’s Finnick with 167 points.
Later in the day, Audrey Schulze of Ridgewood, N.J., soared to victory with a jump-off time of 33.557 seconds in the $15,000 Benetti Junior/Amateur/Amateur-Owner 1.40m Jumper Classic aboard Mr. Cash, owned by Riverbrook Sport Horses LLC. Annie Phillips of Wellington, Fla., and Oakridge Farm’s Loukas De La Noue placed second with a time of 35.691 seconds. Also designed by Alan Wade, the full course included 15 jumping efforts.