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Aaron Vale and Quidams Good Luck (Photo By Shawn McMillen)

David Beisel and Lavish

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Kentucky Spring Classic Wrap-Up: May 13-17, 2015

Written by: Rebecca Walton
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC
Release Date: 2015-05-18

Lexington, KY – May 18, 2015 – It was not chance Saturday tonight that secured the victory for Aaron Vale (USA) and Quidam’s Good Luck during the $127,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3*. That night, it came down to raw speed and power. Vale bested a field of 41 competitors during the highlight event, claiming his second consecutive Saturday night victory with a blazing jump off ride, breaking the beam in 40.96 seconds.

Thirteen horse-and-rider combinations were able to master Bernardo Costa Cabral’s opening course, moving into a jump-off that would rival the day’s earlier Preakness Stakes.

Abigail McArdle (USA), a young rider known for her speed and consistency, rode Cade, owned by David McArdle to a clean round just ahead of pathfinders Margie Engle and Royce in 44.08 seconds. Her lead would not hold long as Scott Keach (AUS) tripped the timers two seconds quicker with Fedor, owned by Southern Cross Equestrian of Reddick, FL, landing from the final obstacle in a clear 42.09 seconds.

Vale was next in the ring with Quidam’s Good Luck, and knew that he could leave nothing to chance. They dashed to the second obstacle of the course, a double combination in a speedy nine strides to shave the seconds, and compensate for the additional stride in Vale’s plan to be cautious at a tricky vertical set in the middle of the ring.

As soon as they landed from the vertical, at a 19-second pace, it was down to the wire, using the open space to the oxer to cover the ground. They made a tight left rollback to the signature sponsor fence of the class, the Hollow Creek Farms vertical, and raced for the final distance to jump the last fence of the class and trip the timers in 40.960 seconds.

Vale said, “I used his Thoroughbred quickness and hit the gas and made him run down to the oxer on the end. I wasn’t looking at the clock - sometimes you can look at the clock, but tonight there wasn’t enough time to do that. I caught a good spot there, and just wanted to make sure I didn’t do something too stupid at the last fence. About halfway down the line I could tell I was in a spot that he could jump it from.”

The only remaining rider to challenge Vale’s time was the 18-year-old Eugenio Garza (MEX) with Bariano. Garza did not hesitate to go for the time, and was able to claim the second place just behind Vale in 41.280 seconds.

The $127,000 Hollow Creek Farms Grand Prix CSI3* earmarked a page in history for the Kentucky Spring Classic, as it is the largest grand prix earnings offered during the series. For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday – Sunday

Each summer, Irishman Shane Sweetnam returns to the Bluegrass State with his string of top horses. It has become custom to see his name at the pinnacle of the ranks, and Wednesday afternoon, he topped the leader board once again during the opening day of the Kentucky Spring Classic. Sweetnam rode Cyklon 1083, owned by Spy Coast Farm, to the $34,000 Welcome Stake CSI3* victory, outrunning the competition.

Forty-five contenders gathered at the Rolex Stadium to compete in the opening FEI CSI3* competition, and with a start list of some of the country’s best riders, Sweetnam knew that it would be a dash for the cash.

Pablo Barrios (VEN) laid down an exciting speed round in 70.720 seconds with Zara Leandra, owned by the ZL Group, easily topping the previous times midway through the class. Eight trips later, Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20 climbed into the ranks with the time of 70.340 seconds, nearly 4/10ths of a second faster.

McArdle continued to hold onto the lead, even with the formidable Todd Minikus hot on her heels with Babalou 41, owned by Two Swans Farm. The pair finished just shy of McArdle’s time in 70.350 seconds.

Sweetnam was able to watch Barrios lay down his round, and opted to take a similar path by utilizing the inside turns. He raced inside the timers from fences 3 and 4 and kept a consistent pace across the ground, altering the plan only slightly to add down the final line to compensate his horse’s smaller stride.

McArdle finished in the second place position with Minikus picking up the third place. The fourth place was awarded to Barrios, while the fifth place went to Alise Oken and Kaid Du Ry, who laid down a clean round in a speedy 71.660 seconds, beating out sixth place finisher, Eugenio Garza and Lucca Toni. Luifer Larrazabal collected the seventh place award with Emanuel Andrade and ZZ-Top VH Schaarbroek Z rounding out the top eight.

The flashy 12-year-old chestnut gelding Clouwni has seen the world. He helped Brazil place fifth at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Caen, France and jumped double-clear at the 2013 FEI Furrisyya Nations Cup Finals in Barcelona. Thursday night, Clouwni showcased his speed and scope during the $34,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* with rising talent and new owner Emanuel Andrade (VEN), as the pair raced to the win with an untouchable 37.690-second jump off time.

“We just got him in December of last year,” Andrade smiled. “Clouwni is a very good horse, very competitive. In the beginning, I didn't know how to ride him; we needed to learn each other a little bit more. After a little time, I learned how to ride him and he's incredible; I'm very happy and proud of him.”

Out of a start list of 61 horse and rider combinations, only 17 were able to master Bernardo Cabral’s opening track to take on the seven obstacles in the speed course. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Chaqui Z, owned by Spy Coast Farm, LLC of E Setauket, NY, were the first to break the 40-second pace set early by trailblazer Eugenio Garza and Bariano, owned by El Milagro of Hickory Creek, TX, stopping the clock in 39.870 seconds.

Fellow Irishman Kevin Babington challenged Sweetnam with Shorapur, owned by Shorapur LLC of Antioch, IL, slicing the turns and racing to the time of 38.540 seconds.  Andrade began the course with a speedy opening line where he left out a stride, doing six instead of seven to the oxer. He was on pace with Babington throughout the course until he landed from the vertical and saw the distance that would make the difference.

Andrade landed from the signature Hagyard Lexington oxer in a much quicker 37.69 seconds, a time that the remaining five riders could not touch. Andres Rodriguez and Fifty Fifty 111, owned by ARAO Enterprises LLC of Wellington, FL, broke the beam in 38.860 seconds, but were still more than a second from catching Andrade’s time.

David Beisel was one of the last to challenge with the little 10-year-old stallion Amaretto, who set off down the first line, bucking and kicking out as they approached the first fence of the jump-off track. Although doing seven down the first line may have lost Beisel the time he wanted, his time was impressive enough to take over second place in front of Babington with 38.110 seconds.

Speed was the name of the game Friday afternoon during the $20,000 1.45m Bluegrass Classic. Forty-seven horse and rider combinations entered into the speed class during the Kentucky Classic. It came down to a foot race with Todd Minikus and Cordonos, owned by Matthew de Grande of Long Valley, NJ, taking the victory in a wire-to-wire speed round, beating out Shane Sweetnam and Beluga for the blue ribbon ride.

Capturing a ribbon during the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic was no easy feat with only 11 of the 47 entries jumping Bernardo Cabral’s course without error. Shane Sweetnam was only the third to take on the track, executing his plan perfectly to set the pace as the trailblazer. Sweetnam and Beluga, a 10-year-old mare owned by Spy Coast Farm, LLC of E Setauket, NY, opted for the inside track, a decision that only four other riders would take.

Sweetnam exited the ring, happy with his time of 62.530 seconds, but had the inkling that it would not hold for the first place finish. He had stuck to the regular number up the first line, as well as through the double combination, leaving a window for defeat.

His time to beat would continue to hold for 40 trips, with riders compensating accuracy for speed and pulling rails in an attempt to catch the Irish rider. Roberto Teran and Farina, owned by Ark Partners LLC of Wellington, FL, put in a clean round in a quick 63.168 seconds, but the 6/10ths of a second would put him just behind Sweetnam.

It was not until Todd Minikus and Cordonos, the second to last combination to take on the track, gave it a shot, that defeat seemed plausible. Minikus left out a stride down the first line, as well as through the combination, using pure speed rather than the inside options to take the victory away from Sweetnam. They tripped the timers in a blazing 60.766 seconds.

Andres Rodriguez left no door open during the Sunday finale of the Kentucky Spring Classic, riding his own Darlon Van Groenhove to the $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix winged victory in an untouchable 43.193 seconds. Ireland’s Kevin Babington captured the second place just behind Rodriguez with Mark Q, while Todd Minikus (USA) closed out the competition in the third place.

The rider from Venezuela has been knocking on the door throughout the Kentucky Spring Series, riding to the second place during the $34,000 Hagyard Challenge Series at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, and consistently putting in clear rounds during the second week of competition. As the third in the order Sunday of 14 to return for the jump-off, he knew he would have to put on the pressure to keep competitors on their toes in an attempt to catch his trailblazing pace.

The eight strides to the final oxer was not the only move that Rodriguez made to secure the win. He also left out a stride down the first line, clearing the second obstacle in only six strides, setting a pace that second place rider, Kevin Babington (IRL) admitted that he knew he could not catch.

Four riders attempted to leave out the stride down the opening line, but only Rodriguez succeeded with the leave-out, seeing either the first or second obstacle fall in a shot to catch his pace. The pressure to catch Rodriguez during the first half of the course caught Shane Sweetnam, Richie Moloney and Roberto Teran.

Pablo Barrios and Zara Leandra attempted to angle the penultimate obstacle in the same fashion as Rodriguez, but the Audi-vertical fell in their haste.

Minikus was able to lay down a clean and quick jump-off round in 45.171 seconds with Con Capilot, but the time was not enough to catch the Venezuelan, falling short with a 1.97 second differential.

“When I heard that Andres had made his move down the first and last line, and how fast his ride was, I knew I was riding for second,” Babington laughed. Babington and Mark Q tripped the timers in a clear 44.835 seconds to take the second place.

Hunter Highlights: Wednesday – Sunday

After dominating the top two spots in Sunday’s USHJA International Hunter Derby, Jennifer Alfano and her stunning lineup of hunters started day one of the Kentucky Spring Classic with a bang.

The chilly Wednesday morning began in the Stonelea Ring with the First Year Green Hunters, as Alfano piloted the flashy Me Again, owned by Helen Lenahan, to first and second place finishes. Rounding out the division, Havens Schatt took the blue atop Custom Made in the first over-fences class and finished third in the second class.

The day continued with the Green and Regular Conformation Hunters. Russell Frey, in the saddle on Saville Row, delivered two smooth rounds to capture first and second place.

The Second Year Green Hunters were next to show, with Alfano back in the saddle on her horse Candid. The big bay gelding, who goes by Sheldon in the barn, impressed the judges with his performances. The duo swept the first day of the division, taking home two blue ribbons. Schatt was hot on Alfano’s heels, and the judges awarded her and Deborah Perkins’ Set to Music’s efforts with second place ribbons in both classes.

The first day of the Kentucky Spring Classic wrapped up with the High Performance Hunters, where Alfano showcased the ability of Billie Steffee’s horse, Maggie May. The pair won both classes, ending Alfano’s show day on a high note. Once again, Schatt followed closely behind, putting in two great trips and earning two second place ribbons atop Mostly Sunny, the big chestnut owned by CH Farm LLC.

Havens Schatt and Jennifer Alfano, the two friendly leading riders, and their horses were back it Thursday, eventually tying for the grand championship.

Beginning with the First Year Green Hunters, Schatt demonstrated her determination atop two entries, Custom Made and Capital City. In the over-fences class, Schatt piloted Custom Made to a first-place finish, ending up second in the handy and first on the flat to earn the division championship. Schatt and Capital City were awarded the reserve championship for their winning handy round combined with a third-place and finish over fences.

The Green and Regular Conformation Hunters were the next to show, with both Kelley Farmer and Peter Wylde in contention for the top spots. In the over-fences class, Farmer took home the blue atop Back Story, the big bay gelding owned by Tia Schurecht. The pair finished third in the handy and first on the flat, racking up enough points for the division championship. Wylde and Levland, the 8-year-old entry owned by The Levland Group, were hot on her heels, taking home first place in the handy and coming in second to Farmer over fences and on the flat. The duo earned the division’s reserve championship for their efforts.

The day continued with the Second Year Green Hunter division, with Alfano and Schatt returning to face off once again. Schatt and Set to Music, owned by Deborah Perkins, improved from Wednesday’s second-place finishes, delivering three winning rounds to sweep day two and earn the division’s championship. The duo also accumulated enough points to tie Alfano and High Performance Hunter Maggie May for the overall co-grand championship. Rounding out the Second Years were Alfano and Candid, the previous day’s victors. The pair finished second over fences and third on the flat, earning the reserve championship.

It was Alfano’s time to shine in the High Performance Hunters with Helen Lenahan’s Maggie May. The mare won four out of the division’s five blue ribbons, earning the championship and joining Schatt for the overall co-grand championship. The division’s reserve champion award went to Schatt and Mostly Sunny, the flashy chestnut owned by CH Farm LLC. At the end of the day, both Alfano and Schatt were happy to share the Grand Championship honors.

Annabel Revers has become a familiar face in equitation ring, and Friday the 15-year-old rose to the top in a field of 29 entries, taking home the blue ribbon in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Class at the Kentucky Spring Classic.

The young talent from Weston, Massachusetts placed fourth last week, but came back this week with Quax ready to win. The pair impressed the judges with a smooth trip around Bobby Murphy’s course, which included an in-and-out to a single on a bending line, rollbacks and a brush jump.

Revers’ equitation also stood out on the flat, where the judges asked the riders to show at the walk, working trot, sitting trot and canter.  Coming in second place behind Revers and Quax were Sophie Simpson and Clifford, an entry from Blue Hill Farm LLC of Wellington, Florida.

Third place went to Martha Ingram and Tenacious, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram from Nashville, Tennessee. Helen Voss and Mark Bone’s Cashmere took the fourth-place spot, with fifth place going to Elizabeth Bailey and her horse Acido 7. Rounding out the top six were Anna Bremermann and her horse Pretentious K.

David Beisel was not going to let the pouring rain stop him and Lavish from wowing the judges during the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Spring Classic on Saturday.

Beisel and Lavish, the 10-year-old gelding owned by Phyllis Harlow, shot to the top of the leader board during the classic round, taking all four of the high options along Bobby Murphy’s course to earn a score of 89.

The pair excelled in the handy round, once again taking all of the high options and topping the charts with a score of 94. Beisel said that this is only the gelding’s fifth time showing this year, and he just comes out to play for the derbies.

“He has a great life, he’s spoiled and loves peppermints,” Beisel said. “I think he did some really nice turns today, and I felt like he did a really nice hand gallop. I thought he balanced up really nicely and stayed soft for the next couple of jumps that followed.”

The second-place ribbon was awarded to Kelli Cruciotti and Totem Pole, who coincidentally finished second in last week’s derby, too. In the classic round, Totem Pole showcased his newfound mature side. The duo got a break from the rain, taking the course’s high options to earn a 90, beating Beisel in the first portion of the division.

The pair returned for the handy, receiving a score of 91, including the added points for all four high options. Cruciotti and Totem Pole ended up settling for second with a two-point differential.  

Third-place finishers Steve Heinecke and So Lucky were hot on the leaders’ heels, missing second place by only two points.  Heinecke and Jane Olsen Fisher’s So Lucky took the high options and were awarded a score of 89.5 in the classic round, also beating Beisel’s initial score of 89.  The pair returned for the handy, earning a 90 with the high options to secure the third-place ribbon.

Fourth place was awarded to Emma Kurtz and Scott Stewart’s VIP Z, earning scores of 87 and 85. The fifth-place ribbon went to Helen Voss and Cashmere, who earned scores of 85 and 86. Rounding out the top six were Lilly French and Candor, with their scores of 76 and 89.

The Hallways Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is a five-part series that has become a staple at the spring shows and will continue into the summer series. The leading riders will be presented with the cash prizes at the end of the Bluegrass Festival on August 16, 2015.

For 17-year-old Vivian Yowan, Kentucky is home. The local resident of the Bluegrass State has captured multiple wins over the years, from the ponies to the Junior Hunters, as well as even riding to the top of the Junior Jumper leader board. Sunday, in the Stonelea Arena on the final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic, Yowan once again impressed the judges to capture three tricolors in the Large and Small 16-17 Junior Hunter divisions, as well as the Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Championship, sponsored by Visse Wedell of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Yowan showed Ransom to two blue ribbons on Saturday during the Small 16-17 Junior Hunter division, and duplicated her efforts Sunday to take the first place finish in the handy and the under saddle with her talented mount.

Ransom was not the only horse that impressed the judges over the two days of Junior Hunter competition. Yowan also rode a new horse, Rookie, owned by Belhaven Stables LLC of Wellington, FL, to the reserve championship behind Ransom. Although the pair is a relatively new partnership, they claimed two second place ribbons on Saturday and returned on the final day of competition to close out the show with the first place over fences and the second in the handy round.

During the Large 16-17 Junior Hunters, Yowan rode Character, owned by Belhaven Stables LLC, to the reserve championship with the first and two third place finished over fences, as well as the first place finish in the handy. It was 16-year-old Tyler Petrie of Moreland Hills, OH, who rode to the division’s top honors to secure the championship tricolor with Quite Ruffy 840.

Earlier in the day it was Annabel Revers and Kingpin who took the Small 15 and Under Junior Hunter Championship, while Emma Wujek and Chabilano Z finished out the week with the reserve championship. In the Large 15 and Under Junior Hunters Emma Kurtz and Fredrick were awarded the champion rosette, while Revers and Diplomat finished as the reserve champions of the division.

The final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic concluded the two-week spring series with the Pony Hunter Grand Championship, sponsored by Visse Wedell of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Emma Seving was awarded the Pony Hunter Grand Championship for her efforts in the Medium Pony Hunter division with her own Sassafras Creek.


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