Lexington, KY - May 19, 2008 - On Sunday, May 18, Margie Engle of Wellington, FL, led her third victory gallop in two weeks at the Kentucky Spring Classic. She piloted Hidden Creek's Pamina L to another incredible finish in the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI 3*, topping a field of 36 entries for the win. They took home top honors in the $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix CSI 3* on Thursday, May 15, and they sealed the win on Sunday, May 11, in the $55,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix CSI 3*.
The $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix was held in the indoor arena, and Guilherme Jorge of Brazil designed the course. Eleven horse and rider combinations qualified for the jump-off, which was held at the end of the class. Difficult parts of the jump-off included numerous tall single verticals, a long gallop to a large oxer by the in-gate, a one-stride combination, and an orange oxer with a panel as its front rail.
Mario Deslauriers returned aboard Obelix R, and they had a beautiful, polished trip, hustling home in a fast 40.00 seconds. Deslauriers rode Obelix R for owner Lisa Silverman of New York, NY. Jimmy Torano of Fort Lauderdale, FL, rode Caldam'Or next, and they had a bit of difficulty with the orange oxer. They came home with four jumping and two time faults, which would hold up for seventh place. Caldam'Or is owned by SCNC Investments.
Schuyler Riley accrued eight faults with LaPacco, owned by South Beach Stable of Wellington, FL, and Todd Minikus had an unfortunate rail with his mount Ultimo Van Ter Moude. Minikus resides in Loxahatchee, FL.
Engle and her mare Pamina L, owned by Hidden Creek Farm of Oak Creek, WI, were next in the order. Picking up an incredibly fast pace, Engle flew over the first vertical, made a tight, fluid right turn to the second vertical, and she opened Pamina's stride and thundered down to the oxer adjacent to the in-gate. Engle then asked her horse to speed across the ring once again, and the mare backed off perfectly for the vertical-to-oxer combination. Their momentum carried them through the next tight turn, over the orange oxer, and Engle floored it around the final turn to the last jump, a triple bar oxer. They stopped the clock in 38.90 seconds, edging Deslauriers into second place.
Brian Shook rode a safe, clean round aboard Courage 68, and they crossed the finish line in 42.27 seconds. Shook's horse is owned by Equestrian Endeavors of Fenton, MI. Up Chiqui and Kent Farrington were next to take on the short course, and Engle fans held their breath as one of the fastest horse and rider combinations received the tone. Farrington's mount sped around the course, arching over the obstacles, turning tightly, and making up time across the ground. As they jumped up over the orange oxer, Up Chiqui grazed the front panel and ticked it off the jump cups. Its thud revealed that Farrington would not surpass Engle. His time of 37.01 seconds was the fastest time of the day, but their four fault score would later result in a fourth place finish. Up Chiqui is owned by Boone, Dobbs, and McNerney of Carmel, IN.
Michael Morrissey lowered the height of one fence with his horse Crelido, owned by Eugene Mische of Bradenton, FL, and Angela Moore scored eight faults with her horse Claus. Moore's horse is owned by Stealaway Farm of Wellington, FL. Christine McCrea and Promised Land had eight faults as well, and they finished in ninth place. Promised Land is owned by Windsor Show Stables of East Windsor, CT.
Engle's outstanding ride held up for the win, and Hidden Creek's Pamina L added another grand prix victory to her recent list of successes.
"The course rode nicer than I thought," Engle grinned after her victory lap. "I thought there would be fewer clean. I think it was a little bigger than the other day, but now horses have been in there a bit. The last line rode a little technical; it was a triple bar to a very steady four to the last jump, a liverpool vertical."
"Every time I ride her, she feels like she learns something when she goes in the ring," she said of Pamina. "She feels like she gets a little bit better every time. I get temped to go too fast with her, but she doesn't seem to be getting backed off or scared. She loves going fast, and she's great going for the time. It's fun to have one that likes going fast again. She just amazes me," she revealed. "She really wants to learn, she's a competitor, and she enjoys what she's doing."
Engle described her jump-off round and how it felt with Pamina. "I galloped down to the oxer great, but then, when I went to turn left, she got a little bit tough to turn back to the double. I had one more [stride] there than I wanted to because I didn't get that turn as nice as I would have liked. I was worried about the last left turn, but she was great. She galloped up to the last triple bar and jumped it beautifully for me. She accelerates very quickly off the turns, and she felt super today."
Jumper Highlights Wednesday through Saturday
On Wednesday, May 14, the Kentucky Spring Classic launched into action at the Kentucky Horse Park. The 1.40m Open Jumpers were met with cold rain and wet conditions. Despite the storms, the Sheila C. Johnson Arena held up well, and Alison Robitaille took first and third place with her mounts Pourquoi and Garfield 211, respectively.
With a time allowed of 76 seconds, exhibitors participated in the 1.40m speed class over a course designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. Fifty horse and rider combinations were signed up for the class.
Robitaille of Upperville, VA, earned top honors with her mare Pourquoi after they executed a smooth, clear round, coming home in 62.273 seconds. Shane Sweetnam and Houston, owned by Casey Curtis of Palm Beach, FL, finished in second place with their quick time of 62.706 seconds, and Robitaille also captured the yellow ribbon with her second mount Garfield 211, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone. She guided Garfield home in 63.160 seconds.
"Pourquoi is an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare," smiled Robitaille. "I've had her since she was two, so we broke her and have done everything with her. She's just a real winner and a real competitor. She felt really good out on course. She doesn't mind the rain at all, and she loves to go fast, so she was up for it today."
On Thursday, May 15, the Kentucky Spring Classic held the $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix CSI 3* in the Indoor Arena. Originally scheduled for the spacious Johnson Arena, rainy conditions prompted management to relocate the class. Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L overcame the chilly weather and venue change and carried out a picture-perfect ride for the grand prix win.
Thirty-six competitors went to post for the class. In the jump-off, Kent Farrington and Up Chiqui were the first of nine to return to the arena. They executed an extraordinary round, tightly rolling back from the first vertical to the second. The pair galloped up to the oxers and took an inside cut to the second to last fence. When they soared through the air over the final oxer and tripped the timers, their fast time of 36.75 seconds set an exciting pace for the rest of the riders.
Engle and Pamina L were next in line, and they too made an unbelievably tight turn after the first element. Although they swung a bit wider back to fence 11, a natural oxer, they cut in to the vertical at fence 12 and then accelerated to the final obstacle. Their time of 35.32 seconds edged Farrington into second place.
Christine McCrea of East Windsor, CT, piloted Vegas in the jump-off, but they lowered the height of the first fence, a green and yellow vertical. They rode conservatively throughout the rest of the course and had an unfortunate refusal at fence 12. They came home with eight jumping and 22 time faults. Robitaille qualified her mount Intrepide Du Valon for the tie breaker, and they pulled a rail at fence 11. Their time of 37.87 seconds would hold up for sixth place.
Shane Sweetnam and Little Emir, owned by Spy Coast Farm of E Setauket, NY, captured four faults when they caught the rail at 8b. They crossed the finish line in 39.39 seconds. Michael Morrissey was the next rider in the line up, and he rode one of two mounts that he qualified for the jump-off. Aboard Scaraberas, Morrissey rode cautiously and finished with a clear round in 47.06 seconds. Scaraberas is owned by Eugene Mische of Bradenton, FL.
Todd Minikus and Sleepy P Ranch's Presidente came home with eight faults after they pulled the first rail and then caught four faults at fence 11. Minikus, who resides in Loxahatchee, FL, finished his round in 37.88 seconds. Ireland's Kevin Babington took a shot with Souvenir, owned by Barbara Wall Roux, and they successfully completed the course without fault in 39.10 seconds. Their clear, fast round put them in third place. Crelido and Morrissey were the final pair to take on the short course, and they met the first fence with a strong gallop. Crelido made excellent turns and was right on the winning pace. However, when the rail at fence 12 hit the ground, its descent revealed that Engle would add another grand prix win to her expansive history.
"Today was great," Engle grinned. "Pamina's getting really consistent, and she feels like she's learning her job. I'm thrilled to have a new horse that's competitive." Engle teamed with her winning mount earlier this year, and they won their first grand prix in April at the Tampa Equestrian Festival.
"I was early in the jump-off, which was the opposite of last week," she continued. "I got to watch Kent [Farrington], and Up Chiqui is one of the fastest horses we have in our country. That one is always hard to catch. I know Pamina has quick foot speed, so I figured I would have to turn a little bit sharper and hope she left them up, and she did." Engle added, "She was super. She turned really well, which was what she had problems with earlier in the season. Each time she goes in, she rides a little better and turns a little nicer."
On Friday, May 16, rain once again changed the plans at the show. Originally scheduled for the Johnson Arena, the $1,500 1.35m and the $5,000 1.45m Open Jumper classes were moved to the indoor arena.
The 1.45m Open Jumper course proved to be very difficult, with only six of the 23 entries qualifying for the jump-off. The jump-off was a tight, winding track with numerous inside options. The course, designed by Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England, was scored under a Table II.2(b) format.
Jimmy Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Ormsby Hill entered the ring ready for action. After a clear first round, they moved into the jump-off with confidence. Torano tightened the turns and took risks, and they paid off when he finished with a time of 35.905 seconds, only four one-thousandths of a second faster than Aaron Vale and Danacar's time of 35.909. Torano and Ormsby Hill remained victorious throughout the class.
After winning the class for the second time in two weeks, Torano said, "He was good. I'm actually just trying to get a lot of practice in the indoor because he's normally not a great indoor horse. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to do him in the classic or if I'm going to do the grand prix with him," he explained. "I did him indoors yesterday and he was fifth, so I wanted to get him in there again today. He jumped the first round really well and he was fast in the jump-off, so I was happy with him."
Torano and his family will return later this year for the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows. They are returning so that his wife, Danielle, can try to compete for the $50,000 Hagyard Leading Rider Bonus. She won the $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix CSI 3* at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show with her mare Marlo. The $215,000 Hagyard Challenge Series includes seven grand prix events, and the top competitor will be awarded a $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus. The bonus will be awarded after the $50,000 World Cup qualifying grand prix, scheduled for the Kentucky National Indoor Horse Show on Friday, September 26.
"I figure we might as well take another shot at a couple of those classes in the summer and see what happens. If all goes well, we'll come back in September," Torano revealed. "The bonus is a great incentive. When I read there was a $50,000 bonus, I was amazed. I couldn't believe it. That's really nice that they do that."
Torano was also victorious in the $1,500 1.35m Open Jumper class, this time aboard Magic Cruise, owned by SCNC Investments of Miami Beach, FL. The dapple gray mare crossed the jump-off's finish line in a smooth 31.673 seconds.
On Saturday, May 17, bright, sunny skies made for a perfect morning at the Kentucky Spring Classic, and show jumpers participated in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic in the Johnson Arena. 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, 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."
Later in the year, Barrios will represent his home country of Venezuela in the 2008 Olympics.
Hunter Highlights Thursday through Sunday
Rain showers continued throughout Wednesday and Thursday, causing a number of entries to scratch. Some chose to tough it out through the rain and performed beautifully.
On Thursday, May 15, the wet conditions were not going to stop Terry Brown and Showcase Limited's Tasty from earning their second championship ribbon in the Green Conformation Hunters. Brown, who resides in Canton, GA, had excellent trips both weeks on the 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood, who she purchased last August. The reserve championship trophy went to Amanda Lyerly of Adkins, TX, and Joy Ride, owned by Gayle Cox.
"Yesterday it was a little rough because of the rain, and the footing was a little mucky going. Today the rings were in excellent condition and my horse went beautifully. I was very pleased," grinned Brown. "I think he might be a mudder!"
Her spectacular week was unplanned. "Usually we travel with 12 or 15 horses," Brown explained. "We were coming to Kentucky to look for horses to buy. A friend had an extra stall, so we brought Tasty along. It's been nice. We've been on vacation, my partner and I, with our horse."
Kelley Farmer was victorious in the Regular Hunter divisions. In the Regular Conformation Hunters, she won the top tricolor aboard Clarity, owned by Larry Glefke of Keswick, VA, and the reserve championship on Rosalie Morton's Mio. Farmer then went on to take the Regular Working Hunter Championship on Mio, sweeping the division. Shane Sweetnam took home the reserve ribbon with Lismacbyran Junior, owned by Spy Coast Farm of E. Setauket, NY.
Despite inexperience and adverse conditions, Clarity proved he could handle anything. "He was great today, especially for these conditions. It's kind of gross out," Farmer laughed. "That's horse showing; sometimes it's going to be gross."
Thursday was Farmer's first time showing 9-year-old Mio. "He's a horse I just have to sell. He's done the Large Juniors and the Amateurs and is really simple and fun. He's a very cool horse," Farmer smiled.
In the First Year Hunters, the championship trophy went to Penny Lombardo and the 6-year-old Holsteiner Bring It On, owned by Ellen St. John of Delray Beach, FL. Will Roberts and Dubari, owned by Gayle Cox of Adkins, TX, garnered the reserve championship ribbon.
On Saturday, May 17, the sun shined at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Kentucky Spring Classic. The junior hunters appreciated the break in the clouds as they competed for championship and reserve championship awards in the Stonelea Arena.
Jennifer Waxman was the day's star when she won the championship and reserve championship tricolors in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters. Cento, owned by Golden Point Farm of Wellington, FL was champion for the second time in two weeks, while Theory, also owned by Golden Point Farm, was the reserve champion.
"Yesterday it was nice. Even with all the rain they had the night before, the footing was pretty good," said Waxman. "Both of my horses went well. It's hard for them to stay quiet when the weather changes."
Waxman loves Cento because of his wonderful personality. "He is very sweet and innocent. When we first got him, he didn't even know what a treat was, but we've spoiled him pretty fast," explained Waxman. "Theory is a horse with a heart full of gold who always tries hard and wants to do well."
In the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters, the championship award went to Unique, owned by Krestwood LLC of Pipersville, PA, and Kaitlin Campbell. Confidential, owned by Caroline Cramer of Pointe Vedra, FL, and Katherine Newman brought home the reserve championship trophy.
Earlier in the day Ande Farish and Capetown, owned by Lanes End of Versailles, KY, garnered the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under Championship. Colleen Lewis of West Chester, PA, piloted Captain Nemo to reserve champion.
Farish, as a Kentucky native, was excited to do so well at this show. "We live in Kentucky, so we come every year. It's close and my trainers live here too. We've been coming here forever."
The Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter division was next in the Stonelea Arena. The championship tricolor was awarded to Katie Dinan of New York, NY, for the second week in a row, but this time it was for her other horse Allejandro. The reserve championship ribbon went to Rio Roxanne, owned by Stepping Stone Farm of Ridgefield, CT, with Paulena Johnson in the irons.
On Sunday, May 18, the sun came out after a night of rain. Riders enjoyed the change of weather on the last day of competition, and the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions started the day in the Stonelea Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Top honors went to Gayle Cox of Adkins, TX, and Dubari when they took home the Amateur-Owner 35 & Over Hunter Championship award. John Ingram of Nashville, TN, and Pilgrim received the reserve championship ribbon after four beautiful trips.
"The courses rode really well," Cox beamed. "With all the rain and everything, the footing was still pretty good. I can't complain. My horse is just really soft, and she tries really hard. She's lovely to ride. Even bad trips don't feel that bad on her. She's so forgiving. She and I just really have a great bond together."
Although this is Dubari's first season in America, Cox is thrilled with the 9-year-old Westphalian mare's progress. "She was bought for me by Shane Jordan. He found her over in Europe. He called me and said, 'You have to have this one. This one is perfect for you,'" Cox explained. "I did a couple of adult hunter shows with her at the end of last year. She really has kind of come over and just fallen right into the whole hunter scene. They don't do the hunters over in Europe, so sometimes they come over and have a hard time adjusting. She's really starting to fit right into it and know what her job is. It's fun."
She continued, "I started riding with Will Roberts, who rode my mare in the First Year Greens. I started riding with him and Joan Waterman just this winter, and they've just been incredibly great about preparing us to move up to the 3'6''. It's been a lot of fun with them, and I want them have the credit for where she's going and how well she's doing. They've really been instrumental with me, taking an old event rider and making me a hunter rider," Cox laughed. "They're doing a great job, and I want to give them the credit they deserve."
The Kentucky Spring Horse Shows are one of Cox's favorite stops on the circuit. "I love coming here. There's just no doubt that this is one of the best places to show," she grinned. "There are very few places, given the two weeks of rain, where you can still enjoy yourself. This is one of them. The horses relax here. I've never had a bad show here." Cox hopes to continue on to Colorado, Culpeper, and the Indoors shows, where she has never shown before.
Earlier in the day, the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters competed. Dawn Fogel of Louisville, KY, and Grandeur earned the championship trophy. The reserve championship ribbon went to Clara Lindner and Hush, owned by All Seasons Farm of Wellington, FL.
The pony divisions also awarded championship and reserve championship tricolors. The Large Pony Hunter Championship went to Lulu Farish riding Royal Seven, owned by Lanes End of Versailles, KY. Emma Roberts of Houston, TX, and What-A-Bean were the reserve champions.
Northwinds Indian Summer, owned by Riverview Farm of Franklin, TX, was champion in the Medium Pony Hunters with Virginia Ingram in the irons. Meredith Darst and All About Me, owned by Megan Davis of Lutherville, MD, earned the reserve championship ribbon.
Finally, in the Small Pony Hunters, Aqua Bay Beach Baby, owned by Tara Spencer, and Katherine Johnson garnered the championship trophy. Uh Oh Spaggetti O's and Alexandria Lach of Cincinnati, OH, took home the reserve championship award.
For more information on the Kentucky Spring Classic, please go to http://www.kentuckyhorseshows.com
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/kentucky-springs-horse-wrap-may-05-08.html">Kentucky Spring Horse Shows Week 2 Wrap-Up, May 14-18, 2008, Kentucky Spring Classic</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com