Peter Leone of Greenwich, Conn., rode Select to victory in the $7,500 Open Jumper, Time-First Jump-off Tuesday evening during the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.
Only two horses qualified for the timed jump-off, and Leone, going second, had the advantage of seeing the round of his opponent, Ragan Roberts, on Quipit L.F.
Roberts was clean in 37.015 seconds.
"Tonight was a chess game," Leone said. "No poker involved. I knew exactly what I had to do. There was no bluffing, no guesswork.
"I had watched Ragan very carefully," Leone said. "I left out a stride on one line, and coming to the last fence, the scoreboard was directly in front of me, so I knew I could hold up and had time to add a stride."
Leaving out a stride can make a horse flatten out and possibly hit the fence and knock down a rail, so adding a stride can help.
"Select is like riding an equitation horse over 1.60-meter fences," Leone said. "He's a lovely ride, very brave and classical.
"He's like the Geico horse," he quipped. "So easy a caveman could ride him."
Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, N.J., rode Valentia, owned by her mother, Mary, to win the Seven/Eight-Year-Old Young Jumper class in the afternoon, beating a field of 21 starters.
Eight horses were clear in the first round to qualify for the timed jump-off.
Chapot's time of 30.456 was more than a full second faster than that of second-place Lisa Jacquin on Casa Blanca La Silla. Jacquin, who lives in Wayne, also placed third on Chapel Z.
The great stallion Royal Kaliber, ridden by Chris Kappler to an Olympic team gold medal and an individual silver medal, sired only three foals before he had to be put down after the Athens Olympics because of bowing his tendon while jumping off for the gold medal.
Two of those foals, now 6-year-olds, placed first and second in Six-Year-Old Young Jumper.
Laura Chapot rode Mary Chapot's Zealous to a double clear round with a jump-off time of 33.612 to win against Laura Chapot and Barbara Rochford's Elizabeth R, ridden by Jimmy Fairclough, also double clear but in a slower jump-off time of 35.255.