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Henri Kovacs and Cermit Dominate Kentucky Spring Classic

Lexington, KY - May 15, 2009 - Today marked the third day of competition for the Kentucky Spring Classic, where Henri Kovacs had his third victory aboard Cermit in the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.45m class during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show Series, produced by Kentucky Horse Shows LLC. Kovacs has been dominating the series and was just coming off his exciting win with Sassicaia II in last night's $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic sponsored by the Hagyard Medical Institute. Kovacs and Cermit were double-clear during today's class in the main outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. They set a time of 35.905 seconds, which would beat Beezie Madden and Desilvio, the only other combination to complete a fault free effort during the jump-off.

Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela was today's course designer for the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.45 class. The first round included 12 numbered obstacles and 15 jumping efforts. The course featured a triple bar, a skinny fence, an option fence, a liverpool fence, a double combination, and a triple combination. The jump-off round was a long winding course with eight jumping efforts and three new fences were added. First riders began over a bending line from a vertical to an oxer, and then made a sharp turn to another bending line beginning with an oxer and followed by a vertical. Riders then had to make a very sharp turn to a single brown vertical and chose to make another sharp inside turn to the double combination followed by the final liverpool fence. The double combination, followed by a choice of five or six strides to the final liverpool fence, proved to be the most challenging during the first round and the jump-off.

Beezie Madden and Desilvio would be the first horse and rider combination to complete a fault-free first round effort and advance to the short course. The pair picked up a gallop to the first fence and stayed steady through the jump-off round, leaving each rail in its cup. Madden and Desilvio stopped the clock at 38.135 seconds, setting the score for the course and placing second during today's competition. Mario Deslauriers was next to attempt the short course aboard Tigger, owned by Jane F. Clark of New York, NY, but the pair had a refusal during the sharp turn to fence 16, the single brown vertical, and also accumulated four faults at the last fence. Their refusal added two time faults to their score after tripping the timers at 48.816 seconds for a ten-fault total and fifth place honors.

Kovacs and his dynamic mount Cermit, owned by Caroline Lloyd of East Hampton, NY, would be the only pair fast enough and careful enough to catch Madden's score. Kovacs and Cermit began the course with a fast gallop and easily soared over the first fence. They made a sharp turn to make up time to the second broken line, and easily sliced the brown vertical. The duo galloped down the last line and sailed over the last fence without a rub, crossing the finish line in 35.905 seconds and winning the class for the second time this week.

Madden attempted to take back her lead with Exclusive, owned by Elizabeth Busch Burke and John Madden Sales of Cazenovia, NY, but they had an unfortunate rail at the first fence to earn a four fault score. The pair broke the beam in 37.621 seconds and garnered the third place ribbon. Amateur-Owner rider Tracey Weinberg of Baltimore, MD, was the next to compete over the short course with Cromwell. Weinberg wanted to win and took a risk when slicing the vertical to the double combination. Her bold maneuver cost her as she accrued faults at all three fences for a 12 fault score in a time of 38.759 to earn sixth place honors. The final rider to compete during today's jump-off round was Tiffany Foster riding Lennon, owned by Torrey Pines Stables of Schomberg, ON. The pair made it all the way to the last fence before a rail fell and they received a four fault score. Their time of 43.187 seconds would earn the fourth place ribbon and secure Kovacs' victory.

"It's amazing, this has been a great show," beamed Kovacs when asked how it felt to be doing this well. "I've had five wins, so this is my most successful show in America."

Kovacs was confident that his time would be hard to beat during the difficult jump-off. "I thought that there weren't going to be a lot of clears in the jump-off," he said. "I thought the riders might take some chances because I was clear and pretty fast and they might have rails because of that."

Kovacs plans to compete with Cermit during Sunday's $20,000 Bluegrass Classic. "I think we can go clear," he noted. "If I ride well he will give me everything he has. He's a young horse but he's really confident now and jumping easily. For a little horse he's really scopey and freaky careful."

Tomorrow the Kentucky Spring Classic will feature the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, sponsored by Air 51 and Audi of Lexington. The class will begin at 5 p.m. in the main outdoor stadium and will feature the nations' premiere horses and riders competing for top honors.

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

Photo Credit: Henri Kovacs and Cermit earned their third $5,000 Open Jumper 1.45m win today at the Kentucky Spring Classic. Photo By: Rebecca Walton Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.


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