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Kentucky Spring Classic Wrap Up, May 13-17

Lexington, KY - May 18, 2009 - Mario Deslauriers and Vicomte D charged across the finish line to win Saturday night's $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, sponsored by Air 51 and Audi of Lexington, at the Kentucky Spring Classic. Deslauriers and Vicomte D had completed double-clear rounds during the past three grand prix classes held during the Kentucky series to earn top placings, but the fourth time was the charm. Four horse and rider combinations qualified for Saturday's jump-off round, held in the main outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, and all completed clear efforts. Deslauriers and Vicomte D were the last to enter the ring, but they laid down the fastest time to win the class over Todd Minikus and Pavarotti.

Todd Minikus, of Loxahatchee, FL, stepped into the ring aboard Pavarotti. Minikus spurred Pavarotti to the first jump and spun him through each turn. Pavarotti carefully lifted his legs over each jump with out touching a single fence. The duo galloped to the last oxer and stopped the clock at 40.89 seconds to set a blistering pace with little room to spare and his score would hold up for the second place award.

The final pair to make their bid over Palacios jump-off course would be Deslauriers and Vicomte D, owned by Jane F. Clark of New York, NY. Deslauriers knew he would have to go all out to beat Minikus, but he and Vicomte D had been preparing for this moment all week. The duo picked up their gallop and made their way to the first fence, clearing it easily. They quickly began to pick up pace and cut the turns. They had a fast gallop to the double combination but Deslauriers was careful to wait through the fences despite losing time. Once they had cleared both hurdles and were easily rivaling Minikus' time the crowd began to cheer and they sped to the final oxer. The pair galloped across the finish line in 40.03 seconds with every jump in tact, and was almost a full second ahead of Minikus to claim their opportunity to lead the victory gallop.

Despite the difficulty that tonight's jump-off round posed, Deslauriers was confident in his mount's abilities. "Every time we go in the jump-off we go for the win," he explained. "I'm starting to know this horse better now and he has a huge step. It's great because I can leave out strides where sometimes other people can't and he's quick. It was a long gallop all the way to the double, and it's a little tight in there, so I couldn't come in flat out. So I took him back and he was very nice to pat the ground at A and then to finish it off with his big step, so it was an easy enough task."

Vicomte D is an 11-year-old gelding and Deslauriers has high hopes for him. His top placings with Vicomte D during the first two $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic classes have made him the current leader in the 2009 Hagyard Challenge Series, sponsored by the Hagyard Medical Institute.

Deslauriers has been very happy competing at the Kentucky Spring Series and has been very impressed with the renovations that have been made to the Kentucky Horse Park. "It has been great here this year," he said. "Big things are coming here, especially WEG next year. This is the best facility we have in the United States now and it's fantastic."

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

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday - Sunday

Kim Prince and Superieur flashed through the finish line in a time of 63.392 seconds to win Wednesday's $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m class at the Kentucky Summer Classic. The pair beat out five other horse and rider combinations that completed clear rounds during Wednesday's timed first round class, held in the new outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. Prince and Superieur made sharp turns and kept a fast pace to give them the leading time and the day's win.

Prince and Superieur, owned by Kirsten Pollin of Washington, DC, entered the ring, and Prince was confident that her mount could handle the sharp turns and set a fast pace. The duo soared over each fence with ease, not touching a single rail, and glided around each turn. Prince and Superieur raced through the finish line in 63.392 seconds, taking over the lead and winning the class.

"I'm very excited," smiled Prince. "This horse has just started showing again because his rider is pregnant so he was kind of on hold. We did the 1.30m last week and he was great so we decided to try the 1.40m today. It was raining this morning but the sun came out for me and everything was excellent!"

Following Prince's win Henri Kovacs had his second victory in the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.45m class aboard Cermit, owned by Caroline Lloyd of East Hampton, NY. The pair was one of three horse and rider combinations to complete a clear first round and advance to the jump-off.

Kovacs and Cermit accumulated four faults during the jump-off when they had a rail at fence nine, the liverpool. The duo crossed the finish line in 35.716, which was the fastest of the day to win the class.

Henri Kovacs never stopped smiling as he completed the victory gallop for his second grand prix win aboard Sassicaia II following the $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at the Kentucky Spring Classic. On Sunday Kovacs had his first career grand prix victory during the $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, and today he was ready to meet the challenge again. The duo galloped through the finish line in 28.20 seconds after a double-clear effort, setting a pace that seven other fault-free pairs would not be able to catch during the twelve-horse jump-off in the main outdoor stadium at the spacious Kentucky Horse Park. Thursday's class was the second event in the Hagyard Challenge Series, sponsored by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.

Kovacs had a confident demeanor entering the ring for the jump-off, knowing the speed Sassicaia II possessed. He picked up a fast gallop to the first fence and sailed over it with ease. The pair was easily catching Beezie Madden's time but when Sassicaia II had a hard-rub at the first fence of the triple combination the crowd held their breath waiting to see if it would fall. The rail stayed put and Kovacs kicked Sassicaia II into high gear to the last fence, crossing the finish line in 28.20 seconds. The pair had won the class, setting a pace that no other entries would be able to catch.

"I'm very happy, it's amazing to win two grand prix classes in a row," beamed Kovacs. "We go to every show to win every class, that is Katie's [Prudent] philosophy. She always wants us to have success and win everything, but I've won four classes and I'm really happy with that."

The Hagyard Challenge Series is sponsored by the Hagyard Medical Institute, and concludes in September at the Kentucky National Indoor Horse Show. A $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus will be presented after the $50,000 CSI-W Lexington Grand Prix to the rider who accumulates the most points throughout the series.

Friday 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.

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 Beezie 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.

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."

The sun was shining during the final day of competition at the Kentucky Spring Classic, and for the second year in a row Pablo Barrios and LaGran were victorious in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic. Six horse and riders qualified for the jump-off during Sunday's class in the main outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park but only two completed double-clear efforts. Barrios and LaGran were able to set a time of 40.851 seconds to edge out Tiffany Foster riding Carlos De Noel, and win today's class.

Pablo Barrios, of Wellington, FL, and LaGran entered the ring first during the 2b jump-off portion of the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic. With four more riders to follow Barrios knew he would have to be clean with a fast time. He spurred LaGran towards the first jump and they sailed over it with ease. They quickly began to gallop across the course, easily leaving each jump standing. The pair galloped across the finish line in 40.851 seconds. Their fast pace and clear effort would be enough to take over the lead and win the class.

"I'm very happy," expressed Barrios. "I've been riding LaGran for a little over a year, and his first big victory was last year in this class. He's been doing really well since then, especially during WEF this year; he's coming along very, very well."

Earlier on Sunday the Amateur-Owner Jumpers and Junior Jumpers completed their third day of competition. Jennifer Waxman captured the High Junior Jumper championship award with Shakira, while Liberty Lady and Christina Kelly earned the reserve championship honors. Paige Johnson and La Martinee, owned by Salamander Farm of The Plains, VA, earned the championship tricolor in the High Amateur-Owner Jumper division, while Kristie Dobbs and Koltee tied with Brittany Sutton and Pim, owned by Geoff Sutton of Wellington, FL, for the reserve championship prize.

Hunter Highlights: Thursday - Sunday

SBS Farms' rider and trainer Jennifer Alfano won two championships and two reserve championships during Thursday's professional hunter divisions. Alfano showed in the Regular Conformation Hunters and won the championship tricolor with Sting, owned by Helen Lenahan. She rode Kid Rock, owned by Bright Star 158, LLC, to the reserve championship tricolor in the First Year Green Hunters, and would get both her second championship, as well as her second reserve championship wins in the Regular Working Hunters. Alfano won the division championship with Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms, Inc., and was awarded the reserve championship with Rockstar, owned by Bright Star 158, LLC.

Alfano's first championship win today came on Sting in the Regular Conformation Hunters. She was very proud of how well the nine-year-old gelding showed over both days of competition since he has had a lot of time off. "Sting was great. He didn't do a lot in Florida and I thought that this week he jumped amazing," she stated. "I was really, really happy with him."

Katherine Newman rode Daydream, owned by Mimi Able-Smith, to the reserve championship honors.

Although Alfano only came to Kentucky this week and is now driving back to New York to take a short break before the Devon Horse Show, she enjoyed her time competing at the Kentucky Horse Park. "I had a great time," she smiled. "The new footing is amazing. This is the first time that I have shown on it here and it is just unbelievable, for all of the rain that we have had, to have it be this nice."

Alfano was not the only rider to win two hunter championships today. Tammy Provost also had double wins in both the First Year and Second Year Green Hunter divisions. Provost and Sugar Boy, owned by Wendy Hofmeister, won the division championship in the First Year Green Hunters, and she also rode Momentus, owned by Alliy Moyer to the Second Year Green Hunter championship. The reserve championship honors in the Second Year Green Hunters were awarded to Corvino, owned by Rob Bielefeld, and ridden by Emily Wygod.

Another championship win for the day belonged to Louise Serio. Serio rode No Stranger, owned by Rachel Geiger, to the championship tricolor in the Green Conformation Hunters. Avery Dimmig rode Perfektionist, owned by Tracey Topping, to the reserve championship honors.

The Children's Hunter 14 and Under was first to compete in the Claiborne Ring Friday afternoon where the horses and riders each completed two courses over fences. Meehan Shirey of Lake Worth, FL, and her horse Hadij placed first and second in the two classes. Shirey and Hadij then went on to win the first place ribbon in the T.H.I.S. National Children's Medal later in the day.

Meehan Shirey has been having a very good two weeks in Lexington. The 11-year-old rider won the NAL/WIHS Children's Hunter Classic last week during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, and she has now earned a few more ribbons to take from the Kentucky Spring Classic.

Shirey trains with Tim and Kelly Goguen, and has now been riding with the couple for almost a year. She began riding when she was three years old.

The person that Shirey looks up to most is her trainer, Tim Goguen. "He is a brilliant rider," she smiled. "He is really good and I definitely want to be as good as him someday."

The Children's Hunter 15-17 division competed next in the Claiborne Ring, and after completing two rounds over fences, Haley Robinson and Watermark walked away with first and second place ribbons for the day's competition.

Haley Robinson is 15 years old from Palm Harbor, FL, and has been riding for nine years. Robinson recently began riding with trainer Donald Cheska, and her wins today were aboard Watermark, a nine-year-old Hanoverian that she has owned for three years.

Robinson has shown Watermark throughout the Florida horse show circuits, competing in Tampa, Palm Beach, and Central Florida. She also competes in the Children's Jumpers, and got her biggest win to date with a third place finish in the Kentucky Spring Horse Show's Children's Jumper Classic, which was held last week.

The competition kicked off Saturday afternoon with the Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under division, which was dominated by Caitlin Ziegler of Mequon, WI. Ziegler rides out of her family's Artisan Farms and shows her hunter horses under the instruction of trainer Cookie Beck. Ziegler won the division's championship tricolor with her eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding Winter Place, and was awarded the reserve championship honors with her seven-year-old gelding Safari.

Ziegler was very excited to have done so well with both of her horses during the two days of competition and explained how different they each are to ride. "We have had Winter Place for two years now and every time we show he keeps getting better," Ziegler smiled. "We have worked on staying more consistent each time we show. You have to keep him collected because he has a long stride, but he is really good."

Next to show in the Stonelea Ring Saturday afternoon was the Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under division, with the division's championship honors going to In the Black, owned by All Seasons Farm of Wellington, FL, and ridden by Hayley Barnhill. The reserve championship honors were awarded to Solitaire, owned by Sweet Oak Farm of Wellington, FL, and ridden by Abigail McArdle of Barrington, IL.

Fifteen-year-old Hayley Barnhill of Memphis, TN, got the catch ride on In the Black this weekend and has only shown the horse one other time, but did very well over the two days of Junior competition.

Following the younger divisions, competition continued in the Stonelea Ring with the two divisions of older Junior Hunters. The horses and riders were competing for championship honors today, and Jennifer Waxman of Chagrin Falls, OH, topped both divisions.

First to compete was the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, with the championship tricolor going to Jennifer Waxman and Cachet, owned by Cavallo Farms LLC and Caroline Spogli of San Diego, CA. Reserve championship honors were awarded to The French Connection, owned and ridden by Kathryn Haefner of Hamburg, NY.

Waxman followed that up with a win in the Small Junior Hunter 16-17, where she rode the top two horses in that division. Waxman and Davis Cup, owned by Paulexi LLC of Bristol, VA, won the championship tricolor, and she rode Red Panda, owned by John Ingram, of Nashville, TN, to the reserve championship award.

Kentucky Horse Shows LLC hosted the final day of competition for its spring horse show series Sunday as The Kentucky Spring Classic concluded. The last day of hunter competition in the Stonelea Ring featured the presentation of championship honors to the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions and the top awards were presented to Chris Brown and Early Winter and Dawn Fogel and Royal Oak in their respective age groups.

Chris Brown of Oakland, NJ, rode his six-year-old Wesphalian gelding Early Winter to the championship tricolor in the Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division after the two days of competition. Becky Gochman of New York, NY, rode Arabella to the division's reserve championship win.

Chris Brown has owned Early Winter for a year and a half and explained how proud he is of the young horse. "He has been a project that we took on from a baby and brought to this level and he is finally just starting to come into his own this year," Brown smiled.

Prior to Brown's win in the over 35-age group, Dawn Fogel of Louisville, KY, and her eight-year-old Westphalian gelding Royal Oak won the championship honors in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division. Emily Wygod and Corvino earned the division's reserve championship honors.

Dawn Fogel was excited to get her second championship win in a row with Royal Oak, who was champion of the A/O Hunter 18-35 division during last week's Kentucky Spring Horse Show as well. "I just got him in February of this year and we bought him from Sandy Ferrell," Fogel said. "He has been great; he has been champion three out of the four times that I have shown him."

Being from Louisville, KY, Fogel plans to show at the Kentucky Horse Park most of the summer. "We love showing here and the facilities are fabulous," she said. "The new footing is a phenomenal addition. We show here a lot, so we are excited that they made that improvement."

 

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