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ATTACHED PHOTOS

Photo Credit: Debbie Stephens and Quik, winners of the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.

Click on the above photos for details and a high resolution version.

Photographs may be used free of charge only in relation to the PMG press releases they pertain to.

Debbie Stephens Rides Quik to Win $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Written by: Jacey Wilkins
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC http://www.kentuckyhorseshows.com
Release Date: 2007-08-02

Marilyn Little and Unika are a Close Second

Lexington, KY—August 2, 2007—As the sun was setting over the tranquil show grounds, 27 horses performed at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix. The event was a continuation of the Hagyard Challenge Series, which features the nation’s top competitors and offers $170,000 in prize money.

Stephens of Palmetto, FL, took the win on the Split Rock Farm’s Quik. Stephens, the rider and trainer of Centennial Farm, was one of only five riders to return to the jump-off, and one of only two riders to finish double-clear.

Course designer Ken Krome of Westminster, MD, set a challenging track in the Sheila C. Johnson Arena, incorporating open water with a pole on top, two double combinations, and the addition of a bank in the jump-off. Many horses were clear until the last obstacle, an airy vertical on flat cups, and others found a wide oxer at fence five hard to clear.

“The course was really fun,” beamed Stephens, who commented that Krome has “done a fabulous job this week.” When asked about the bank added in the jump-off, Stephens said that it “added a dimension so that Chris had a rail.” She also noted, “the dimension is something that we, as Americans, don’t get to jump a lot. I think it’s great that [Ken Krome] used that obstacle.” Talking about her strategy for the difficult track, Stephens relayed, “it rode a little harder than it walked. We walked it and thought it was a little soft, but with the heat and everything else, there was a lovely result.” As for the tricky bank jump in the jump-off, Stephens revealed that the key to its defeat was to “go slow, but just fast enough.” As the spectators held their breath as she approached the bank, Stephens “throttled down just enough to get over it and then picked it back up again.”

Chris Kappler was first to participate in the jump-off with Via Venetto, finishing up with a rail down at the bank in 45.271 seconds. Laura Bowery followed the Show Jumping Olympian on Indy Star II, but was unlucky at the final oxer to complete the round with four faults and just over Kappler’s score in 45.697 seconds. Sloane Coles, one of the youngest riders in the roster, showed Shadwell around the short course as a spirited crowd whistled her on. Despite four faults at fence 9a, she was the fastest of the four-fault scores, crossing the timers in a speedy 43.463 seconds. With no clear rounds before her, Marilyn Little piloted Unika to a fault-free finish in 45.710 seconds and set a Puissance standard for Stephens and Quik. As the crowd’s animated applause echoed throughout the Kentucky Horse Park, Stephens galloped through the timers in a rapid 42.476 seconds and clear.

“When you’re the last to go and there’s only one clean, my theory is ‘go for it’!” Stephens laughed. “Anything could happen, and you’d be mad at yourself if you jumped around slow to go clear. I’m from the old school, which says that if you go clean, go for it.”

Quik belongs to one of Stephens’ students, who “brought him up through the ranks” until Stephens began riding him in bigger classes in Florida. “He’s had the winter off, and has just started up again. He won the 1.45m class at Lake Placid, and I think he is obviously peaking.”

Stephens plans to compete here in Kentucky next week as well, before she heads to Holland and then The Hampton Classic. “The Hagyard Challenge Series is one of my favorites, and I think we need more series,” commented Stephens. “I commend Hagyard a lot because it gives you an incentive to go in the next grand prix and then the next grand prix and so on. They are a wonderful clinic, and the vendors giving back to the sport is exactly what we need.”

Stephens, who was ranked fifth in the Hagyard Challenge Series standings, hopes that her performance today will “skyrocket” her into a top spot.

In earlier classes today, Robert Kraut collected top honors in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper class aboard Meghan Moran’s Quarnak de Longpre, while Rory Grant guided Betsy Green’s Secret to the top position in the 1.35m Open Jumper class. Both classes were exhibited in the Sheila C. Johnson Arena, with Krome setting the track. Tomorrow, the expansive arena will hold the 1.40m and 1.35m classes, as well as the beginning of the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper divisions, as riders prepare for the featured $40,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix on Saturday evening at 6:30pm.

For a complete set of horse show results or to learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Results for $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix
1. Quik, Debbie Stephens, 0, 42.476
Split Rock Farm
2. Unika, Marilyn Little, 0, 45.710
Raylyn Farms
3. Shadwell, Sloane Coles, 4, 43.463
Wyatt Stewart
4. Via Venetto, Chris Kappler, 4, 45.271
Dammerman and Kamine Families
5. Indy Star II, Laura Bowery, 4, 45.697
J. Dimenna and Equuleus Farms
6. Hojagergards, Jeff Martin, 1, R1 88.453
Cynthia McWilliams
7. Qena Z, Colin Syquia, 2, R1 89.016
Ladson LLC
8. Graf Lando, Meghan Moran, 2, 89.334
Meghan Moran
9. Copado, Aaron Vale, 4, 82.167
M/M Ernest Oare
10. Palona, Laura Bowery, 4, 82.286
J. Dimenna and Equuleus Farms
11. La Pomme VDL, Manuel Lecuona, 4, 83.143
Manuel Lecuona
12. Linda Z, Tracey Weinberg, 4, 83.532
Tracey Weinberg

Photo Credit: Debbie Stephens and Quik, winners of the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix. Photo © 2007 Jacey Wilkins/Phelps Media Group. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.

 

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