Kent Farrington and Uceko to Defend Title at Gene Mische American Invitational

Kent Farrington and Uceko, winners of the 2011 Gene Mische American Invitational. PHOTO: ©Parker/Russell, The Book LLC

Tampa, FL – March 20, 2012 – Kent Farrington and Uceko, the winners of last year’s Gene Mische American Invitational, presented by G & C Farm, will be returning to defend their title when the “Super Bowl of Show Jumping” returns to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.

This year marks the 40th anniversary for this enduring classic and promises to be a thrilling night of show jumping as the world’s greatest riders and horses gather in the Tampa Bay area to decide the American Invitational title.

But for Farrington and Uceko to win a second time, much less in back to back years, the dynamic duo will have to defy the odds. Over long and storied forty year history of America’s greatest show jumping test, only two horses have ever put together back to back wins and only four horses in total have been able to win the event twice.

The first back to back winners were Michelle McEvoy (Grubb) and her flashy chestnut Sundancer in the second and third year of the event’s existence back in 1974 and 1975, and then illustrating the extreme challenge that the American Invitational provides, it was over a quarter of a century before that difficult feat was accomplished again, when Molly Ashe and Kroon Gravin won in consecutive years in 2001 and again in 2002.

So that’s the history and those are the long odds that Farrington will face when he returns to Raymond James Stadium in April – forty years of competition and only two back to back winners.

“It’s obviously one of the most prestigious classes in the world to win, and at the same time, it’s also one of the toughest to win,” Farrington admitted. “Big money, big jumps, big crowd, it’s a fantastic class and while the odds say it’s possible to win it in back to back years, because it’s such a difficult test of horse and rider, it’s not probable. That’s not to say we won’t be out there trying to become the third pair to ever do it,” he smiled. “That would be incredible.”

Farrington spoke of the honor in winning the American Invitational the first time.  “This is a class you really want to win. I grew up as child watching the great ones riding in this class. I have all of the old videos of the great riders like Ian Millar and Rodney Jenkins and Michael Matz winning this class, so to have my named added to that list of winners is very, very special,” he said.

Two other horses have won the Invitational twice, but not in back to back years. Seven Wonder was a winner with David Raposa in 1990 and then again with Olympic Gold Medalist Chris Kappler in 1995.

And then in 2005 and again in 2007, double Olympic Gold Medalist Beezie Madden and her Olympic partner Authentic led the victory gallop in Tampa.

With the 2012 Olympic Games on the horizon, this year’s American Invitational, presented by G & C Farm, becomes even more exciting and spectators at Raymond James will get a chance to see many of the top riders who have made their way on to the long list of qualifiers for London.

Over the years, the American Invitational has been recognized as the crown jewel of American show jumping, and year in and year out, has been one of its toughest tests. Often called the Super Bowl of Show Jumping, the event also offers one of the biggest purses in all of equestrian sport.

Tickets for this Saturday night spectacular are on sale now, online at:

The $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational takes place on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. The gates at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium open at 5:30 p.m. Included will be the always popular public course walk, plus fabulous opening ceremonies.

Tickets on sale now at

American Invitational Champions over the Years

1973 $15,000 American Invitational
Rodney Jenkins & Idle Dice
1974 $15,000 American Invitational
Michelle McEvoy & Sundance
1975 $15,000 American Invitational
Michelle McEvoy & Sundance
1976 $15,000 American Invitational
Robert Ridland & Southside
1977 $15,000 American Invitational
Terry Rudd & Mr. Demeanor
1978 $25,000 American Invitational
Norman Dello Joio &Allegro
1979 $30,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational
Rodney Jenkins & Third Man
1980 $35,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational
Bernie Traurig & Eaden Vale
1981 $50,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational
Buddy Brown & Felton
1982 $50,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational
Melanie Smith & Calypso
1983 $50,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational
Katie Monahan & Noren
1984 $100,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational
Leslie Burr & Albany
1985 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational
Katie Monahan & The Governor
1986 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational
Tim Grubb & Linky
1987 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational
Lisa Jacquin & For The Moment
1988 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational
Katie Monahan-Prudent & Special Envoy
1989 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational
Greg Best & Gem Twist
1990 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational
David Raposa & Seven Wonder
1991 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational
George Lindemann & Three’s & Seven’s
1992 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Ian Millar & Big Ben
1993 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Debbie Stephens & Volan
1994 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Michael Matz & Rhum IV
1995 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Chris Kappler & Seven Wonder
1996 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Harold Chopping & Brandy
1997 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Todd Minikus & Ravel
1998 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational
McLain Ward & Twist Du Valon
1999 $150,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Marley Goodman & Canyon *
2000 $150,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Schuyler Riley & Ilian
2001 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Molly Ashe & Kroon Gravin
2002 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Molly Ashe & Kroon Gravin
2003 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Chris Kappler & Royal Kaliber
2004 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Norman Dello Joio & Glasgow
2005 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Beezie Madden & Authentic
2006 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Rodrigo Pessoa & Baloubet De Rouet
2007 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Beezie Madden & Authentic
2008 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational
McLain Ward & Sapphire
2009 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Chris Kappler & VDL Oranta
2010 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational
Armani & Jeffery Welles
2011 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational
Uceko & Kent Farrington

Media Contact: Mason Phelps
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389  fax 561.753.3386

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