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Photo: La Gran and Pablo Barrios triumph for the win in $20,000 Bluegrass Classic. Photo © 2008 Rebecca Walton. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.

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Pablo Barrios Guides La Gran to Great Victory at Kentucky Spring Classic Horse Show

Written by: Jenny Ross Koning
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC
Release Date: 2008-05-17

Lexington, KY – May 17, 2008 – Bright, sunny skies made for a perfect morning at the Kentucky Spring Classic today, and show jumpers participated in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic in the Sheila C. Johnson Arena. Despite recent rain showers, the footing was outstanding, and the course, designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, rode smoothly for competitors. Out of 36 starting entries, 12 horse and rider combinations qualified for the jump-off. Pablo Barrios of Venezuela piloted La Gran to first place after they executed a successful and speedy round in the tie breaker.

Of the twelve riders in the jump-off, Venezuela’s Leo Paoli had four faults with Remonta Escopil, Lisa Jacquin pulled a rail with Amis De Kannan, and Aaron Vale of Ocala, FL, accrued four faults aboard Sinatra. All three riders pulled a rail at fence 7, a large brown and tan oxer. Amis De Kannan is owned by Arlette Johnson and Trestle Tree Farm in Dowingtown, PA.

Brian Shook also scored four faults when his horse Reno lowered the height of fence 14, a green vertical. Reno is owned by Equestrian Endeavors of Fenton, MI. Jacquin retired while on course with her second mount, Flintwood Farms’ Obourg, and Margie Engle had an unfortunate refusal with Hidden Creek’s Coroya Z, owned by Hidden Creek Farm of Oak Creek, WI.

Six riders came home with double clear rounds today, and the first to master the short course was Robin Sweely on Carlow Clover, owned by Acorn Hill Farm of Madison, VA. They crossed the finish line in 43.429 seconds. Sixteen-year-old Jennifer Waxman was the next to go penalty free with her horse Venturo. With a solid pace, they cantered around the course and jumped sky-high over the obstacles. They made a tight inside turn to the last oxer and tripped the timers in 39.811, topping the leader board. Waxman resides in Chagrin Falls, OH.

Cara Cheska of Waukesha, WI, guided King to a clear round as well, and they came home one second slower in 40.969 seconds. Jonathan McCrea returned to the arena next, and he surpassed Cheska’s time with his clean ride on Costa. Stopping the clock in 40.065 seconds, they would finish in third place. Costa is owned by Windsor Show Stables of East Windsor, CT. Sweely showed Acorn Hill Farm’s Discovery, and they secured the fifth place ribbon when they jumped around clear in 42.393 seconds.

After entering the arena, Pablo Barrios accelerated into a gallop with La Gran, and they made a tight turn from the first vertical to the orange and black one stride combination. They made up time across the ground to the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute vertical and flowed four strides to the liverpool oxer. After they turned left and flew over the brown oxer, they went directly to a green vertical and took a longer approach to the final oxer. They broke the beam in 38.112 seconds and edged Waxman into second place. Their quick time held up for the win, and the blue ribbon was placed on La Gran’s bridle for the victory gallop.

“La Gran felt very good,” grinned Barrios. “He’s a little spooky, so I was having a little trouble in the indoor [arena] earlier this week. He was fifth last week in the derby, so he definitely likes it better outside. I promised my horse that, if he was in the top three, he wouldn’t have to show tomorrow in the grand prix.” He laughed, “I think he understood that and was fast.”

“He’s a new ride for me, and this is my third horse show with him,” he explained. “I just bought him about three months ago, and he’s been amazing. He won a grand prix in Ocala right after the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). He’s very fast and careful. I’m having so much fun with him.”

“The course was different because we were in the indoor all week, and I think the horses were a little fresh for everybody,” he noted. “I thought the course was technical enough and the height was nice. I think it was a great class.”

He discussed his strategy for the jump-off. “I saw the girl who was winning the class, and I tried to do the first part faster than her. I was a little concerned about the inside turn there. That’s why I wanted to be faster in the beginning, take my time to the last fence, and then go around and still beat her time. It worked well.”

Barrios has attended the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows for the last six years, and he enjoys showing at the Kentucky Horse Park. “I think the horses love this ring. This week wasn’t the best weather, but it’s still beautiful, green and a great facility. This is my first horse show after WEF, and I really enjoy my time here.”

He will show his second mount, Sinatra, in the grand prix tomorrow. Later in the year, Barrios will represent his home country of Venezuela in the 2008 Olympics.

The Kentucky Spring Classic will conclude tomorrow at the Kentucky Horse Park. Tomorrow’s highlight will be the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI 3*, a member event of the AGA Grand Prix Series.

For more information on the Kentucky Spring Classic, please go to

Results of Bluegrass Classic II, SEC 2(a)
T/A: 77.00 T/A: 47.00
1 553 LAGRAN PABLO BARRIOS 0.00 69.866 0.00 38.112
2 540 VENTURO JENNIFER WAXMAN 0.00 72.822 0.00 39.811
3 618 COSTA JONATHAN MCCREA 0.00 75.497 0.00 40.065
4 676 KING CARA CHESKA 0.00 73.425 0.00 40.969
5 386 DISCOVERY ROBIN SWEELY 0.00 73.565 0.00 42.393
6 390 CARLOW CLOVER ROBIN SWEELY 0.00 71.055 0.00 43.429
7 460 SINATRA AARON VALE 0.00 73.974 4.00 37.738
8 1250 REMONTA ESCOPIL LEO PAOLI 0.00 74.115 4.00 42.349
9 383 RENO BRIAN SHOOK 0.00 72.907 4.00 42.489
10 206 AMIS DE KANNAN LISA JACQUIN 0.00 73.556 4.00 45.414
11 1208 HIDDEN CREEK'S COROYA Z MARGIE ENGLE 0.00 74.271 17.00 59.489
12 202 OBOURG LISA JACQUIN 0.00 76.671 ret.

Photo: La Gran and Pablo Barrios triumph for the win in $20,000 Bluegrass Classic. Photo © 2008 Rebecca Walton. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.


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