Katy, TX – While an inside turn generally proves advantageous in a jump-off, this time, it was going around a fence that Brandon Howard credits with helping HF Costa Rica earn the win in the $10,000 Karinda K. Welcome Stake on Thursday, November 17 at the Great Southwest Final Chase.
“I decided to instead go around the jump,” explained Howard, who was one of nine entries from the 16-horse starting field to advance to the jump-off. “Watching everyone that went inside, they had to slow down so much, and it put them on such an angle to [the next fence] that they had to have a lot of scope to clear it to get down to the six-stride line. I opted to go around instead, which put me on a faster stride into that six-stride line down the middle. I ended up landing from the back of that line quicker than everyone else, and then went on the inside track.”
Howard and HF Costa Rica crossed the finish in 32.175 seconds, which would hold up for the win. Finishing in second place with a close time of 32.766 seconds were Avery Erickson and her own MTM Checco. Third place went to Joshua Tabor who finished in 33.676 seconds riding Calispera, owned by the Carat Group LLC.
“[Costa Rica’s] definitely got a lot of blood and a lot of heart,” said Howard of the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare, owned by Homeward Farms. “I don’t think I could put a jump in front of her that she doesn’t think she could jump, but she doesn’t have a lot of scope. She really just finds scope in her heart. I have to carry the pace to help her out with that.”
Howard bought HF Costa Rica in Europe when the mare was seven and has progressed her up the ranks to the 1.40-1.45m level since then.
“Originally, I got her as just a 1.30m horse to import and sell,” explained Howard. “Every time I put the jumps up, she kind of just jumped better and better. I leased her out for about a year and a half; I just got her back earlier this year.”
Also earning a headline jumper win during the Great Southwest Final Chase were Joshua Tabor and Concanto, owned by the Carat Group LLC. The pair topped a 19-horse field on their way to the win in the $5,000 1.25m Hygain Mini Prix on Friday, November 18.
For full results of both classes, click here.