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Kentucky Spring Classic Wrap-Up, May 19-23

Written by: Rebecca Walton
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC http://www.kentuckyhorseshows.com
Release Date: 2010-05-24

Lexington, KY - May 24, 2010 – Saturday night’s amazing finish in the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, will go down in history. The crowd went wild when Todd Minikus and Pavarotti crossed the finish line in an exciting 35.24 seconds to take over the lead during the jump-off, but when Cara Rather and Ublesco managed to stop the timers at the same 35.24 seconds the night became historical.

Todd Minikus never gives up without a fight and tonight he gave it everything he had aboard Pavarotti. They were able to jump into the lead when Pavarotti let out his stride to the final fence and stopped the clock at 35.24 seconds with all the rails in their cups. Minikus said, “I have gone fast once or twice before, and that felt fast to me.”

Cara Raether knew that she would have to leave strides out with Ublesco to win tonight’s class. “My horse is a little slower in the air, so the only way to catch anybody was to leave out strides,” she explained. “I think I did one less than Todd to the double combination and I turned really tight to the last vertical.”

The plan paid off for Raether when she crossed the finish line at 35.24 seconds with Ublesco, tying Minikus’ time to last one-hundredth of a second and earning both riders the first place honors. “It was crazy,” exclaimed Raether. “You never think about it happening in a grand prix, let alone for first place. It was crazy, cool, but crazy.”

Minikus commented, “Overall I think that it was a very fun class. There was a few more clean than I was expecting, but it made for a great jump-off. It started off with Norman [Dello Joio] going around nicely, and then it just kept getting faster and faster. I think people that were here watching got a treat to see it come down to a tie.”

Tonight’s class was dedicated to Mary Rena Murphy, who was very dedicated to the sport and the horse shows at the Kentucky Horse Park before her untimely passing. “I have been coming here for a long, long time and I am very proud to have been a co-winner of the Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix,” said Minikus. “We all need to thank Mary Rena because she really started the horse shows here at the horse park. It is because of Mary Rena that we have the beautiful facility here and the World Championships are coming here. She was a lovely lady and I think that everybody needs to recognize that it is because of Mary Rena that we all get to enjoy this facility.”

For more information on the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows please go to www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Jumper Highlights – Wednesday through Sunday

The skies were clear for the first day of the Kentucky Spring Classic at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park host of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. In the Main Stadium the top riders competed in the Open Jumper classes, where junior Reed Kessler vaulted to the top of the leader board with Mika in the 1.45m competition. Earlier in the day, Pablo Barrios had another top finish when he scored the first and second place ribbons in the 1.40m Open Jumper class with G & C Leroy and G & C Lepanto.

Three riders were able to complete the jump-off with all the rails in their cups. Pablo Barrios was the first to do so aboard G & C Napoleon, owned by G & C Farm, Gustavo & Carolina Mirabal. The pair picked up a quick pace to the first fence and was able to maintain it throughout the course. They left all the fences standing and stopped the timers at 38.550 seconds, which held up for the third place honors.

When Reed Kessler entered the ring aboard Mika she was not planning to go for the win, but as they jumped through the first round with ease Kessler decided to pick up the pace. They advanced to jump-off and Kessler stepped-it-up with her talented horse. They flew over each obstacle and galloped across the finish line in an exciting 37.819 seconds to take over the lead and eventually win the class.

“Initially I thought I was going to be schooling because he was kind of fresh, but he ended-up being so good that I just let him go fast,” explained Kessler. “During the jump-off, he jumped the first fence and cut really well so I decided I might as well try. He was fantastic!”

Aaron Vale was the final rider to complete a double clear effort during today’s class with Ubico- H, owned by Royal Farms, LLC. The duo made an excellent attempt to catch Kessler’s time, but they unfortunately lost some ground through the winding course and broke the beam at 38.259 seconds to pick up the second place prize.

Earlier in the day the 1.40m Open Jumper class was held in the Main Stadium with Pablo Barrios taking the top two spots. Barrios was the first rider in the ring with G & C Lepanto, owned by Gustavo & Carolina Mirabal. The class was scored under Table II.1, a time first round. The pair picked up a quick gallop to the first fence and easily cleared the bending portion of the course. They were able to continue their long stride throughout the round without accruing any faults. The duo tripped the timers at 58.528 seconds to set a difficult pace.

Barrios was still in the lead when he entered the arena aboard G & C Leroy, owned by Gustavo & Carolina Mirabal, 22 horses later. The top rider still pushed his mount and they were able to complete a clear round in an even faster time of 57.829 seconds. Their amazing effort garnered them the first place ribbon, while Barrios’ earlier attempt took second place.

The $30,000 Hagyard Classic was held Thursday night at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Kentucky Spring Classic, and with a 13 horse jump-off it proved to be the most exciting event thus far. Marilyn Little-Meredith raced to the top spot with Blue Curacao, beating Pablo Barrios and G & C LaGran by just tenths of a second. This event was the second competition in the Hagyard Challenge Series, which features a $50,000 Leading Rider Award.

When Pablo Barrios entered the ring with G & C LaGran, owned by G & C Farm, Gustavo & Carolina Mirabal, the crowd was waiting to see how the incredible speed pair would perform. They did not disappoint as they easily cleared all the fences and were ahead at the split. The duo continued their blazing pace and tripped the timers at 34.51 seconds to take over the lead, but the class was not over yet.

Marilyn Little-Meredith was completely focused on the task at hand when she stepped into the arena aboard her talented, young mount Blue Curacao, owned by Mary and Paul Lober. She was careful not to watch any rounds before her so that she would not be chasing anyone’s time. Meredith let Blue Curacao pick-up a fast gallop to the first fence and never let-up as they soared over each obstacle. Their speed was amazing and they dashed across the finish line in 34.35 seconds, beating Barrios by just 2/10ths of a second to the night’s victory gallop.

“Blue Curacao was on fire tonight; she was really amazing and it was an absolute blast,” smiled Meredith. “I did not watch anyone because I thought coming off of last Saturday would just go at the pace she seems comfortable with and be as fast as I can. She’s fast, but I think if I had to do it again I could not go any faster.”

Thursday night’s class was part of the Hagyard Challenge Series, which features five classes throughout the spring and summer. The final event, the $50,000 Hagyard CSI-W Lexington will be held August 20, 2010 during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. The rider who accumulates the most points during the Series will receive a $50,000 Leading Rider Award.

The rain stayed away for the third day of competition during the Kentucky Spring Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park. In the Main Stadium, the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers and the High Junior Jumpers rode for top prizes. Paige Johnson and Amagedon 3 were first in the ring during the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers, and they blazed the trail with a double –clear round in 35.064 seconds to take home the blue ribbon. Friday afternoon, Christina Kelly had an exciting one-two finish with Camirage and Creata in the High Junior Jumpers.

Paige Johnson led the way during the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers with Amagedon 3. The pair have been partners for six years and Johnson was confident that her mount could complete the task at hand. They made their way through the first round without fault and advanced to the jump-off. Johnson picked up a quick pace to the first fence and let Amagedon open up. The duo dashed across the finish line in 35.064 seconds with all the rails in their cups to take an early lead an eventually win the class.

“It seems like you rarely go first and win in this sport because so many people watch you and know what to beat,” commented Johnson after her win. “During the jump-off Nemo allowed me to open him up and he did everything I asked him to do perfectly.”

This afternoon in the High Junior Jumpers, Christina Kelly was the first rider to complete the opening round without fault and advance to the jump-off aboard Camirage. The pair had an amazing double-clear effort in 33.100 seconds to lead the way. Jazz Mace tried to catch Kelly’s time with Valentino. They also left all the jumps standing, but their time of 38.677 seconds would eventually earn them third place honors. Kelly finished another clear first round with her second mount Creata. She was able to duplicate her fault-free effort during the short course and stopped the clock at 34.142 seconds to take home the second place prize.

The final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic began with another exciting win for Cara Raether. She rode Lyoneell to a beautiful double-clear finish in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic and took home the first place prize. The class began at 8 a.m. with 36 competitors in the Main Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, host of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. Pablo Barrios was the only other rider to go clear aboard Flash and earned the second place honors, while Lauren Crooks had the fastest four-fault effort with Cincinnati La Silla for the third place ribbon.

Cara Raether was the first rider to complete a fault-free first round with Lyonell, owned by Trelawny Farm, and qualify to compete in the jump-off. The pair was focused on the task at hand when they entered the ring to blaze the trail during the short course. They took sharp turns and Lyonell was fast and accurate over all the fences. They crossed the finish line in 38.091 seconds with all the rails in their cups, setting the standard that would eventually win them the blue ribbon.

Pablo Barrios was able to advance to the short course with Flash after a flawless first round effort. Although he is often known for his speedy rounds in the jump-off, Barrios chose to be conservative with the young mount that he is preparing to become a grand prix horse. Flash was very careful not to touch any rails and stopped the clock at 40.892 seconds without any faults, earning the second place award.

On Saturday, Raether and Ublesco tied for first with Todd Minikus and Pavarotti during the $55,000 Rena Murphy Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. She was thrilled to have ended her stay in Kentucky on such an excellent note after winning today’s class as well. “It feels great,” she smiled. “It was a nice way to end the show and really nice to win both classes.”

Hunter Highlights –Thursday through Sunday

As the second day of Kentucky Spring Classic commenced the sun began to warm the show grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park, host of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. The professional hunter divisions concluded around 1:00 PM in the Stonelea Arena and championship tricolors and awards were presented. The last division of the day was The Regular Working Hunters where the championship ribbon was pinned on the bridle of Rock Star with Louise Serio in the irons. Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano earned the reserve championship honors with top ribbons in the Regular Working Hunters. Earlier in the day, the First Year Green Hunters, the Green Conformation Hunters, and the Second Year Green Hunters also completed their rounds with the top horse and rider combinations receiving championship awards.

The Regular Working Hunter division championship was presented to Rock Star, owned by Jennifer Burger/ Bright Star 158, LLC , and Louise Serio after the pair won a first and third place ribbon in the over fences on Wednesday, a second place ribbon in Thursday’s over fences, a second place ribbon in the handy hunter class, and a fourth place ribbon in the under saddle class. Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano’s performances earned them the reserve champion tricolor in the Regular Working Hunters today. The duo finished with a first place in the handy hunters, a third place in the over fences, and a fifth place in the under saddle class. First and fourth place ribbons in Wednesday’s classes garnered them the reserve championship. Jersey Boy is owned by Susan Schoellkopf/SBS Farms of Buffalo, New York.

In the First Year Green Hunter division Sandy Ferrell was aboard Showman, owned by Alexa Weisman of Sherborn, MA, and won the championship accolade with three first place ribbons in three over fences classes, one first place ribbon in the under saddle class, and a third place in the handy hunter class. The reserve championship rosette was acquired by Chris Payne and Righteous with two fourth place ribbons in the over fences class, a second place ribbon in the over fences, a first place in the handy hunter class, and a third place ribbon in the under saddle class.

The Green Conformation Hunter championship horse and rider combination was Morgan Thomas aboard Savant, owned by First Partners LP of Valparaiso, IN. The duo claimed four blue ribbons in every over fences class offered in the division. Combined with a second place in the handy hunter class and a fourth place in the model earned the pair their top ranking. Louise Serio aboard Quinnus attained the reserve championship ribbon in the Green Conformation Hunters. Serio and Quinnus won a first place ribbon in the handy hunters, two second place ribbons in two over fences classes, a second place ribbon in the under saddle class, a fourth in the over fences class, and a fifth place ribbon in the model.

Maria Rasmussen and Sandra Paulson’s horse, Viva, won the Second Year Green Hunter division championship. The ten-year-old gelding won a blue in the under saddle class today, two second place ribbons in the over fences classes, and a third place in the handy hunter class. Following for the reserve championship was Cool Boy and Abigail Blankenship. The duo won the over fences, received a second place ribbon in the handy hunter class, a third place ribbon in the over fences, and a fourth place ribbon in the under saddle class. Their sequential ribbons landed them the reserve championship rosette in the Second Year Green Hunters. Cool Boy is owned by Peter Pletcher of Magnolia, TX.

Equitation was the focus of the competitors at Kentucky Horse Show’s Kentucky Spring Classic on Friday. In the Stonelea Arena the final class concluded with top ribbons presented to the outstanding riders of the Pessoa United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Hunter Seat Medal class. Edging out the competition with their well-executed test was Lauren Tyree and Karnavall. In second place with a note-worthy finish were Eirin Bruheim and Say No More.

The Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal course was designed by Bobby Murphy and featured multiple turns and single fences. The USEF Hunter Seat Medal test course included five of the ten fences from the original course. The test started with a canter from the center line-up off the right lead over a single oxer. Then riders took a tight right turn and cantered two the second fence. Riders continued by transitioning to a trot over an outside vertical followed by a roll back on the right lead to a single fence followed by an broken line to a single oxer. Riders finished on the left lead and headed back to the line-up.

Four riders were invited back for the test starting with Sarah Van Der Walde and her mount, Dasilva’s Amore. Van Der Walde was the first to attempt the test course with great initiative. Unfortunately the pair left out the last oxer and wound up back at the line-up disappointed with fourth place overall. Next to follow was Alyssa Mansfield and Rebel De Sainte-Hermelle. They also had another strong attempt at the test but had to circle back for the last single oxer resulting in a third place finish. After watching the first two tests Eirin Bruheim with her mount, Say No More, chose their track. Bruheim chose an alternate route from her first two competitors and wound up back at the line-up feeling assure of the track she took. She excellent effort earned her the second place prize. Last to go was Lauren Tyree and Karnavall. The duo completed their round with no faults and Tyree Felt confident she had performed well. The final results were announced with Tyree garnering the top spot.

“The first course was good, it was kind of a nice course,” noted Tyree, “The course was good for Karnavall because it had some nice turns and that is his strong suit. The test was good and that last line kind of challenged you. Some people thought they should circle but I thought there was definitely a line there.”

The Kentucky Horse Park, host of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, was full of visitors for the Kentucky Spring Classic’s spectacular hunter competition. Championship ribbons and awards were presented to top hunter riders in the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions. Teri Kessler and Carita won the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunters, while the reserve championship accolade went to The Specialist and Meredith Lipke. In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division, Rachel Geiger and her long-time-mount Dream Date ganered the championship honors. Tracy Scheriff-Muser and Donovan took home the reserve championship honors for their excellent efforts in the division.

Today’s hunter rounds, designed by Bobby Murphy, consisted of an over fences class and a handy hunter round. The handy hunter round utilized many turns, open spaces, and beautiful fences. The championship rosette in the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunters was pinned on the bridle of Carita with rider Terri Kessler. The pair earned the blue ribbon in the handy hunter, a second place ribbon in Friday’s over fences, and a third place ribbon in the under saddle. Meredith Lipke and The Specialist were not far behind with a first in Friday’s over fences class, a second in the handy hunter class, and a third in Saturday’s over fences class. Lipke and The Specialist’s top ribbons earned the duo the reserve championship.

When Kessler entered the ring, a famous face accompanied her that has not seen the hunter ring in years: Katie Monahan Prudent. Kessler explained, “This is the first time Katie has trained me on Carita. She was nervous the first day because she had not trained at the hunter ring in a really long time. I told her not to worry, I have done this before. Katie was really excited today when she came back to the hunter world. Carita started jumping better, higher, and prettier.”

Earlier in the day, the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division championship awards were given to Rachel Geiger and Dream Date. The duo won Friday’s over fences class, Saturday’s handy hunter class, and Saturday’s under saddle class. The trifecta placed Geiger above the other competitors. Winning Saturday’s reserve championship rosette was Donovan with Tracy Scheriff-Muser in the irons. The pair earned two second place ribbons in Friday’s over fences class, a third in Saturday’s over fences class, and a third in Saturday’s handy hunter class.

Sunday was the closing day of the Kentucky Spring Classic at Kentucky Horse Park, host of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. Champions were crowned in the Junior Hunter divisions and awards were presented to each top horse and rider combination. Hayley Barnhill dominated the Junior Hunter division in the Stonelea Arena, winning championships in both the Large and Small Junior 16-17 Hunter division. Barnhill rode Breathtaking to the Large Junior 16-17 Hunter championship and Rio Renior to the reserve championship. In the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters she won the championship prize aboard Red Panda.

Barnhill has been very successful over this year winning multiple championships, riding many amazing horses, and performing consistently on each mount. In Sunday’s Large Junior 16-17 Hunter division her results earned her and Breathtaking, owned by Paula Lilliard of Lake Forest, Illinois, the championship rosette. Barnhill earned two second places in two of the three over fences classes, and won both blue ribbons in the handy hunter class and the under saddle class. Barnhill’s second mount, Rio Renior, owned by Brad Wolf of Memphis, TN, only competed in Saturday’s Junior competition. However, their results garnered Barnhill and Rio Renior the reserve championship ribbon, as the duo won both over fences classes and a second in the under saddle class.

The eight-year-Oldenburg gelding, Breathtaking, is just starting his hunter career. Barnhill commented, “He went really well today. He is still green and we have been trying to get him to that point where he would do his best. He was really good today.”

In the Small Junior 16-17 Hunter division, Barnhill entered the ring once again, but this time on Red Panda, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC of Nashville, TN. The pair won three first place ribbons in every over fences class offered. They also received a second place in the handy hunter class and a second place in the under saddle class, winning the championship ribbon. Following for reserve champion was Oksana, owned by Meg Mitchell, with Christina Kelly in the irons. Kelly and Oksana received two second place ribbons in Saturday’s over fences classes and then earned a first place in the under saddle, a first place in the handy hunter class, and a third place in SUnday’s over fences class.

Continuing the award presentations and championship ribbons was another talented junior, Shawn Casady who was showing Starbound, owned by Caroline Nicewonder of Bristol, VA. The pair won a first and second place in Saturday’s over fences, a first place in today’s handy hunter class, and a third in Sunday’ s over fences class. These winning results earned Casady and Starbound the championship accolade in the Large Junior 15 and Under Hunter division. Reserve champion in the same division was presented to Catherine Tyree aboard, First Partners, INC, Savant.

This was Casady’s first time on Starbound, but even thought the pair had not ridden together very long, their results tell a story of two strong athletes. Casady noted, “Everything went great this weekend with Starbound. I am so thankful to Starbound’s owners for having me come out to Kentucky this weekend and ride for them.”

In the Small Junior 15 and Under Hunter division, Tyree showed Concetto to top results. The duo won the championship award and prize because of their spectacular results. Three blue ribbons were garnered in both over fences classes and the handy hunter class. Then two second place ribbons were earned in the under saddle class and today’s over fences class. Tyree could not have been happier with her mount Concetto and their performance together. The reserve championship ribbon in this division was pinned on the bridle of Scout, owned by Mattie Worsham, with Shawn Casady at the reins.

 

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