Fantastic Finish for Erynn Ballard in the Longines Speed Challenge28 April 2018 - EEM World
Canada’s Erynn Ballard (CAN) emerged victorious riding Fantast in the $100,000 Masters One Longines Speed Challenge on Friday evening at the Longines Masters of New York. It was an all-female podium finish as the women outran the men in one of the only Olympic sports where the sexes compete as equals. Contesting the identical track that riders faced in the Longines Masters editions of Paris and Hong Kong, Ballard’s speed prowess allowed her to take a two-second penalty for a dropped rail yet still emerge the champion with a time of 60.62 seconds. New York’s Brianne Goutal-Marteau (USA) kept all the rails in place aboard Fineman, owned by Rose Hill Farm, but finished more than a full second behind Ballard’s time, stopping the clock in 61.86 seconds. As the first rider on course, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) set the early pace with a time of 62.04 seconds that kept her on the podium in third place with Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili.
“I don’t think there’s anything better!” said Ballard of her Longines Masters debut. “I was excited to ride here tonight in front of a big crowd; they were cheering for you and cheering for Canada. As soon as you walk in the ring, you know it’s really momentous.”
On to key to her victory with the13-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Sagamore Farms, Ballard said, “I think the biggest difference is that my horse has so much natural speed. His legs are fast, he has a big-stride, and he can turn fast. I think we won from start to finish. He’s that fast!”