October 5, 2013 -- A good crowd turned out at the Kentucky Horse Park Saturday to watch the marathon phase of the Kentucky Classic CDE. When the driving was done and the spectators had left Leslie Berndl had taken a big step into the lead in the single horse division. In the four-in-hand division, Chester Weber's path toward a tenth Four-in-Hand National Championship has become a little clearer.
USEF Single Horse National Championship
Berndl (Newcastle, Calif.) started off hot Saturday morning behind Dutch Warmblood gelding Uminco and her consistent driving over the entire course helped her take the lead in the division. Berndl was in second place coming into the day, having been bested by less than one point in the dressage phase on Thursday, and right away she looked to make up that difference. Of the eight hazards, Berndl was fastest through the first two and second best through another four. She finished the marathon in second place with an 84.24 score and now sits in first place with a total score of 130.53. 1999 National Champion Kimberly Stover (Smyrna, Delaware) is the closest to Berndl. She sits in second with 148.80.
Sara Schmitt (Flemington, N.J.) won the marathon driving Savannah and is now in fourth place overall.
USEF Four-in-Hand National Championship
After a narrow victory in the marathon, Chester Weber is poised to earn a record setting tenth National Championship. Weber (Ocala, Fla.) was first four-in-hand driver on the marathon course with the team of his own and Jane Clark's Boris, Splash, Boy W, and Ultra. To the delight of a flock fans following him from hazard to hazard, he proved to be the day's best. Weber's 98.40 gave him a slight edge over Jimmy Fairclough (Newtown, New Jersey), who finished with a 98.89 behind the team of Charlie Brown, Kavango V. Falkenstein, Valentino, and Zenden.
Thanks to a great score in the dressage on Thursday, Weber carries a significant overall lead into Sunday's final cones phase. His 132.14 score after two phases is more than 16 points ahead of Fairclough's 148.95 total score.
Casey Zubek (Manhattan, Ill.) is in third with a 261.80 score.
Full marathon results are online here.
See overall standings here.
Follow the U.S Driving team on USEF Network.