Wellington, FL — January 16, 2019 — The second week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) kicked off on Wednesday, January 16, in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL with a win for Ireland’s Darragh Kenny aboard mount Billy Dorito. The pair went early in the lineup and held the lead all the way through in the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Open Jumper class.
WEF continues with 12 consecutive weeks of world-class competition through March 31, 2019. The second week of competition at WEF is sponsored by NetJets and features the $72,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2* during “Saturday Night Lights” on January 19 at 7 p.m. in the International Arena. The week will also host a variety of other FEI-rated two-star events in jumper divisions, along with top hunter and jumper competition.
Wellington, FL — January 11, 2019 — Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and his mount, Billy Dorito, bested a field of 68 entries to win the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge by a margin of more than three seconds on Friday, January 11, during the first week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
In Friday’s featured $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge, Kenny and Billy Dorito were the seventh entry to contest the Eric Hasbrouck-designed track, stopping the clock in a quick and clear 71.221 seconds. While 21 entries would jump clear throughout the class, none would catch the early time to beat set by Kenny and the nine-year-old bay Anglo European Studbook gelding (Billy Mexico x Vechta) owned by Vlock Show Stables LLC.
Laurie Stevens and Santiago Return to WEF to Win Adult Amateur Hunter Older Grand Champion
After a year-long hiatus from the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Laurie Stevens and her own Santiago returned ready to win. The pair performed consistently throughout the division with two firsts, a second, a third, and fifth to capture the grand championship title during Week 1 of the Winter Equestrian Festival.
“Two years ago, I was reserve champion for the entire circuit, but then I had an accident in July of 2017 that forced me to take the entire last year off,” Stevens said. “So, I haven’t even been in this ring in two years.”
The pair made their first debut back into the Adult Amateur division in July and have been working hard to be ready for the winter season since.
Day three of Olympia, The London International Horse Show attracted a sell-out crowd for The Cayenne Puissance, one of the star attractions of the week-long event. The Puissance title was eventually shared by Great Britain’s Guy Williams (Mr Blue Sky UK) and France’s Mathieu Billot (Dassler), after both pairs cleared the formidable 7ft 4in (2.23m) high ‘red wall’ in the fifth and final round.
The opening day of the Show Jumping competition was certainly one to remember for Darragh Kenny. The 30-year-old Irishman (Cassini Z) first pipped Great Britain’s Robert Whitaker (Catwalk IV) by just one hundredth of a second to take top spot in The Santa Stakes supported by Olympia. Kenny then made it a memorable double after he and his 10-year-old bay gelding, Carlson, fought off a valiant effort from Great Britain’s William Funnell (Billy McCain) to take the honours in The Musto Inside Edge Stakes. The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Meredith Reader-Smith and Holydell Poseidon, while the evening performance was won by Poppy Dadson and Merkisayre Sea Duble.
Katie Bradburne Scores a Runaway Victory
British international rider Holly Smith (Grennanstown Sarco Lux Hill) and 10-year-old Katie Bradburne (Runaway Dolly) won the ever-popular Pony Club Mini-Major from the front.
After Smith’s faultless start, Bradburne raced against the clock with the Irish-bred pony her brother, Thomas, had finished third with in this class last year.
“Holly advised me to try not to let my nerves get to me, and act like I was at home… but go a bit faster,” said Bradburne, a member of the Old Berkshire Hunt branch of the Pony Club.
However, Bradburne is well bred when it comes to jumping at speed over fences. She comes from a family steeped in racing history. Her parents are successful former jockeys, Gee Armytage and Mark Bradburne, with her uncle being 1990 Grand National winner, Marcus Armytage.
The Cayenne Puissance
A thrilling Cayenne Puissance class had the crowd roaring with excitement at Olympia, The London International Horse Show when four riders took on the 7ft 4in wall in the fifth and final round.
Only two, however, managed to leave all the bricks intact: Britain’s Guy Williams on Mr Blue Sky UK and French rider Mathieu Billot on Dassler, a horse jumped in the 2017 Cayenne Puissance by Louise Saywell.
The wall was at its highest since 2006, when John Whitaker, Robert Whitaker and Markus Fuchs shared first prize, also at 7ft 4in. Coincidentally, Williams, who lives in France, and Billot had shared the spoils in a puissance class in Rouen recently, jumping the same height.
“C’est magnifique!” said an elated Billot, who was paying his first visit to Olympia.
Williams is considering trying for a record on Mr Blue Sky because he jumps so smoothly. The horse has been taken slowly because of his height and has had some dressage training to calm him. “He makes it look easy but he’s actually quite sharp and nervous and he becomes strong to ride,” Williams explained.
Young rider Alfie Bradstock, riding H.d’Or, and regular puissance specialist Karline de Brabander from Belgium (Fantomas de Muze) also reached the final round but Bradstock hit the wall and de Brabander suffered an unfortunate fall.
Darragh Kenny’s Olympia got off to a splendid start with a double of victories. The Netherlands-based Irishman took the Santa Stakes on Cassini Z and set an unmatchable target of 48.56 seconds on Carlson in The Musto Inside Edge Stakes, a speed class. For good measure, he was also second in the opening Welcome Stakes on Billy Dorito behind Dutch rider Doron Kulpers on Freestyle. “It’s been a great day – it’ll probably all go downhill from here on,” he joked.
Kenny plans to ride Cassini in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ on Saturday, but might consider Carlson, a new ride, in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix on Sunday: “He’s a special horse, competitive and brave. I think he’ll be good.”
The Pony Club Mini-Major, a special class in which Pony Club members have the unforgettable experience of being paired with senior riders in Olympia’s atmospheric arena, was won by Holly Smith and Old Berkshire Hunt member Katy Bradburne, whose parents, Mark and Gee (Armytage), were successful National Hunt jockeys.
Harry Charles may not have won a class, but he collected two awards for the most promising under-25 rider: The Raymond Brooks Ward Trophy, presented by brothers Simon, James, and Nick Brooks-Ward in memory of their father, and a saddle from the Worshipful Company of Saddlers as voted for by members of the British Equestrian Writers’ Association.
Lexington, Ky. – May 19, 2018 – Saturday of the Kentucky Spring Classic closed with the week’s highlight event, the $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, honoring the late Mary Rena Murphy. Forty-one horse-and-rider combinations were tested over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) 16-effort course which saw 11 athletes finish clear to move into the jump-off round, but once again Ireland’s Darragh Kenny was unstoppable to claim the Saturday night victory under the lights on the second week of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show series, this time with brand new mount, Balou du Reventon.
Kenny and Ann Thompson’s Balou du Reventon just started showing together two weeks ago, but they are on an impressive streak after finishing second in Thursday’s $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* and jumping to a number of clear rounds during their new partnership in Kentucky. Saturday night amplified their success as they flew to a clear round in 41.54 seconds to capture the featured grand prix victory. The 12-year-old Oldenburg stallion is already showing promise as an option for Kenny in this year’s World Equestrian Games.
Early pathfinder Margie Engle (USA) was the first to produce a clear round with long-time partner Royce, and first to return for the jump-off round. She and Gladewinds Partners, LLC’s 14-year-old Oldenburg stallion put on the pressure with a clear round in a time of 42.08 seconds, but their time was just overtaken by Kenny and the pair finished in second place.
Rowan Willis (AUS) and his own Blue Movie, an 11-year-old Anglo European Warmblood mare, followed with a clear jump-off round in a time of 42.55 seconds, speeding to a third place finish. The pair recently traveled to the United States in February to capture a notable victory in the $265,000 Longines Grand Prix CSI5* at HITS Ocala.
The Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix is held every year in honor of the late Mary Rena Murphy, an important part of American horse show history. Murphy was known for helping many top hunter and jumper professionals begin their careers, in addition to being a successful horse show organizer. She began her career in her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. She is most known for promoting the Kentucky Horse Park and helping shape the park into what it so well-known for today, world class hunter and jumper shows that not only cater to world class competition, but also to all levels of the equestrian sport.
Emma Wujek and Augusta Iwasaki Lead Day One of Large Junior Hunters
The Kentucky Spring Classic’s junior riders braved Saturday morning’s rainy weather to compete in the Large Junior Hunter divisions, which are divided by age into the 16-17 and 15 and under. After two over fences classes in the 16-17 division, it was Emma Wujek who took the lead with Carento after placing first and third. Directly after, the 15 and under juniors took to the ring to see Augusta Iwasaki top the lead by placing first and second in the over fences rounds with Small Occasion.
Wujek and Carento just began their partnership together last week, while showing at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Their compatibility showed in the ring after producing two solid over fences rounds which placed them as the top contenders for Sunday’s champion ribbon. Carento showed successfully throughout the duration of the Winter Equestrian Festival with owner Erika Luter. Wujek also placed second and fourth with her other mount, Puppet.
Iwasaki is no stranger to the winner’s circle at just 14 years old, with big wins at USEF Pony Finals in 2017 and USHJA National Hunter Derbies. Her partnership with Small Occasion began during the summer of 2017 and the pair plan to continue to show in the Large Junior Hunters, with high hopes of capturing the championship ribbon. Iwasaki is also entered in the division with another mount, Small Anecdote, where they placed second and third in Saturday’s over fences classes.
Lexington, Ky. – May 12, 2018 – The evening awards ceremony of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show closed in a familiar fashion as the sun set on a victorious Darragh Kenny (IRL) who led the victory gallop around the Rolex Stadium aboard Babalou 41. On Saturday night, the pair claimed an exciting win in the $131,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3*, just after capturing Thursday’s $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* at the Kentucky Horse Park.
With a starting list of 36 horse-and-rider combinations, Alan Wade’s (IRL) technical 17-effort track only produced four clear rounds for a thrilling and competitive jump-off. Todd Minikus (USA) and Quality Girl also returned to Saturday night competition in top form, delivering the long-awaited first clear round to the delight of the audience. Minikus and the 15-year-old Oldenburg mare, owned by the Quality Group, returned first in the jump-off to set the pace with a blazing time of 36.050 seconds, but were just overtaken by Kenny in the end. However, Minikus and Quality Girl still managed another top award, finishing in second place and adding to Wednesday’s $35,000 Welcome Speed 1.45m CSI3* victory.
Eugenio Garza (MEX) and El Milagro’s Armani SL Z were the ones to guarantee a jump-off in round one as they produced the second clear effort of the evening. Garza and the 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding returned for a clean and careful jump-off in 40.160 seconds to earn the third place award. The team is no stranger to the winner’s circle at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show series upon claiming last year’s $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* at the 2017 Kentucky Spring Classic.
Once again though, it was Kenny and Jack Snyder’s Babalou 41 who claimed the fastest double-clear finish of the night, flying to a time of 35.500 seconds for the victory. Kenny and the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare are already on the fast track to success with notable FEI wins in this week’s Kentucky Spring Horse Show as well as top placings at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival.
Stephanie Danhakl and Enough Said Steal the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion
The Amateur-Owner divisions wrapped up in the Stonelea Ring on Saturday with the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion being awarded to the rider who acquired the most points over the course of competition on Friday and Saturday. The divisions saw a high number of entries, but despite the tough competition, it was Stephanie Danhakl and Enough Said who captured the top award at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
Danhakl and Enough Said have been a team for five years and their experience showed during Friday and Saturday’s competition. The pair accumulated scores in the high eighties during Friday’s Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter division and they remained consistent in Saturday’s competition as well. During the first round of the division the pair were the only competitors to receive a score in the nineties, which put them in a good position to claim the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion title.
Lexington, Ky. – May 10, 2018 – The Rolex Stadium welcomed its first evening event of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows with the opener of the seven-part Hagyard Challenge Series, the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*, sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Out of a substantial starting list of 53 horse-and-rider combinations, it was Darragh Kenny (IRL) who emerged triumphant, riding Jack Snyder’s Babalou 41 to the fastest double-clear finish in 44.22 seconds.
Designer Alan Wade (IRL) challenged contenders over 16 efforts with a tight time-allowed of 79 seconds and spectators were not given a clear round until one fourth of the way in when Fabio Leivas Da Costa (BRA) entered the ring aboard the 11-year-old Selle Français mare, Tosca De L’esques, owned by Bonne Chance Farm LLC.
Hardin Towell, Darragh Kenny, Kevin Babington, Charlie Jayne, Lorcan Gallagher and Leslie Howard followed respectively with additional clear rounds to yield a thrilling 7-horse jump-off. Returning first in the second round, Leivas Da Costa set the pace with a swift, clear round in 44.44 seconds, but it was just two-tenths of a second shy of the winning time and the pair took home the second place award.
Gallagher and the Dacantos Group’s Hunters Conlypso II also put in two clear jumping rounds, but Kenny could not be caught as the duo ended on a time of 45.81 seconds. The Irish still added another name to the leaderboard as Gallagher was quick enough to capture third place aboard the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding.
Kenny and the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare share a new partnership as they have only been a team for less than three months, but already show promise following tonight’s success building off of a win in their first 1.50m class together, the $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m National Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in March.
The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven show-jumping events held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington throughout the 2018 show season with the second leg of the series, the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, to occur next week during the Kentucky Spring Classic on Thursday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Rolex Stadium. The following four shows to host a Hagyard Lexington Classic event include the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, the Kentucky Summer Classic, the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show and the KHJA Horse Show. The series will culminate during the Kentucky National Horse Show at the end of September, where the rider who accumulates the most points in the series will receive a $50,000 Leading Rider Award, presented upon completion of the seventh event, the $65,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic.
Scott Stewart and Harvard Hall Claim Grand Hunter Champion Award
Hunter competition resumed in the Stonelea ring earlier in the day with the Grand Hunter Champion title being presented to the rider who accumulated the highest scores throughout competition on Wednesday and Thursday at the Kentucky Horse Park. Despite numerous veteran hunter riders putting in their best efforts, it was Scott Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Harvard Hall who claimed the Grand Hunter Champion prize.
Stewart and Harvard Hall captured the award by acquiring the most points from competing, and earning champion, in the Green Conformation Hunters. On Wednesday, the pair claimed first place in both over fences classes with scores of 87 and 81 in addition to first place in the under saddle portion of competition. They continued to dominate Thursday’s Green Conformation Hunters with scores in the 80s. Stewart and the 7-year-old KWPN gelding, Harvard Hall, have proven themselves to be a great team, having won numerous champion titles during the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida. Harvard Hall was purchased by Dr. Betsee Parker in the beginning of the 2018 WEF circuit.
The Grand Hunter Champion award is presented each year by Visse Wedell. Wedell has been a continuous great supporter of the Kentucky Horse Shows by sponsoring grand championship prizes in multiple divisions every year.
Wellington, FL – March 2, 2018 – Twenty-four-year-old Lacey Gilbertson (USA) claimed a victory in the $35,000 Hermès Under 25 Semi-Final Grand Prix riding Baloppi under the lights in the International Arena on Friday, March 2, during week eight of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
In Friday night’s class, 47 starters jumped the first-round track set by Ken Krome (USA) with seven pairs advancing to the jump-off. The top three finishers all posted fault-free rounds, making foot speed the deciding factor for the final placings. Gilbertson and Baloppi, an 11-year-old Danish Warmblood mare owned by Seabrook LLC, crossed the timers in a blistering 40.21 seconds for the win.
Second-place finisher, Ailish Cuniffe (USA), returned first in the jump-off to lay down an early pace in 41.70 seconds aboard Baloucento 2, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare (Baloubet du Rouet x Cento) owned by Whipstick Farm, Ltd. Third place went to Ransome Rombauer (USA) and her own Emorkus RE, a nine-year-old KWPN gelding (Quasimodo van de Molendreef x Haarlem).
Kenny and New Mount Babalou 41 Capture Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m National Grand Prix
A new combination in the ring went to the winner’s circle in the $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m National Grand Prix over 34 other competitors. Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Babalou 41, owned by Jack Snyder, were the only double clear in the class, winning on a time of 39.945 seconds.
Second place went to Rodrigo Lambre (BRA) and Mario Onate’s Chapilot, who had four faults in 38.513 seconds. Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Bardolina 2, owned by Wishing Well Farm LLC, were third with four faults in 39.778 seconds.
Annabel Revers and Quax Awarded Blue Ribbon in Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 3*
Friday’s competition began in the DeNemethy Ring with Annabel Revers and Quax, owned by Beechwood Stables, LLC, claiming the blue in the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 3* class. The pair aced the open water jump and challenging course of bending lines and returned as one of the top 12 competitors to impress the judges in the flat test. Ava Stearns was close behind with a second-place finish aboard her mount, Mac One III, owned by Lauren Hough, and Emma Kurtz took third aboard Carl, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker.
Wellington, FL – January 27, 2018 – The highlight class of the third week at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) was the $132,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3*. Victory in the “Saturday Night Lights” event went to Ireland’s Darragh Kenny on Cassini Z, owned by Bowers Cone, LLC.
Saturday night’s grand prix had 45 entries over a course designed by Peter Grant of Canada. There were 16 clears, making for a very competitive and fast jump-off. The best of the bunch was Kenny on Cassini Z, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Cassini II x Capone. They went 12th in the jump-off and were chasing a time of 39.36 seconds set by Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Cristalline.
Kenny and Cassini Z were fast from the start and never let up to finish with a winning time of 38.21 seconds. Sternlicht and Cristalline finished in third. Slipping into second place just 2/100ths of a second slower than Kenny was Jessica Springsteen (USA) on RMF Swinny du Parc, owned by Rushy Marsh Farm LLC, in 38.23 seconds.
Lindsay Maxwell Pilots Belgravia to Championship Win in Adequan® Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 3’3” Division
Lindsay Maxwell made a smooth comeback on Saturday afternoon in the Rost Arena with her mount of almost a year, Belgravia, in the Adequan® Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 3’3” division. The duo, who were seventh in Friday’s under saddle, did not place in the division’s first two jumping classes. However, they returned on Saturday in full force to take both remaining blue ribbons over fences.
Wellington, FL – January 24, 2018 – The third week of the Winter Equestrian Festival began on Wednesday, January 24, and Ireland’s Darragh Kenny celebrated his 30th birthday with victory in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic with Important de Muze at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.
The third week of WEF, sponsored by Adequan®, runs January 24-28 and features the $132,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, January 27, at 7 p.m.
The $35,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic had 53 entries competing in a two-phase power and speed format over a course designed by Peter Grant of Canada.
Kenny and Important de Muze, a 10-year-old BWP gelding by Erco van’t Roosakker x Nabab de Reve owned by Kerry Anne LLC, were the fastest clear in the second round with a time of 30.98 seconds.
Parot Wins Douglas Elliman 1.45m; Jimmy Torano and Pure Imagination Triumph in Marshall & Sterling Insurance Performance Hunter 3’3″
Wellington, FL – March 30, 2017 – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny triumphed in the $86,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 on Thursday, March 30, riding brand new mount Billy Onslow at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) set the course for 70 entries in Thursday’s Challenge Cup and yielded 21 clear rounds. With two entries opting out of the jump-off, 19 continued on, and nine were able to clear the short course without fault. Second to go in the jump-off, Darragh Kenny went full speed with Billy Onslow to put the pressure on the remaining competitors. His time of 33.33 seconds held up for the win.
Margie Engle (USA) and Gladewinds Farm’s Royce finished second in 34.22 seconds. Nicole Walker (CAN) and Falco van Spieveld placed third in 36.23 seconds.
“He is such a cool horse,” Kenny said of the 11-year-old Anglo European gelding (Billy Congo x Iroko) that he purchased from Great Britain’s William Funnell. I just got him three weeks ago when I was in Europe. He did a 1.40m class yesterday, and then this today. Obviously, I do not really know him so well, but he tries so hard and he is super easy to ride.”
Remarking on his jump-off, Kenny stated, “I know he is really brave, really careful, and really scopey, so I just went as fast as I could go. There were 17 people after me, so I knew that if I left the door open at all I would have no chance. He has a massive stride. I did eight strides to the second to last fence and I did eight strides to the last, which nobody else did. I also did an inside turn to the double, which in hindsight probably was not the smartest thing.
“I did the first line, and I knew he had a big stride, but I did not realize just how big,” Kenny detailed. “I did the seven strides really slow and I thought I must have miscounted and done eight, so then I panicked and I thought I had to do something really special to try to win. He was just amazing. He was brilliant. He should not have jumped the double from where I turned back at all. He is so brave and careful. You turn back and you don’t even have to worry. You know he is going to do his best to leave the jumps up.”
Parot Notches Another WEF Win
Beginning competition in the International Arena at PBIEC on Thursday, Chile’s Samuel Parot jumped to victory in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m speed class riding his 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding Quick du Pottier (Hurlevent De Breka x Cuba).
Fifty-two entries started over Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s first-round course and 15 cleared the track without fault. Parot and Quick du Pottier went fifth in the order, setting an uncatchable time of 59.14 seconds for the win.
Lisa Goldman (USA) and Barbara Disko’s Sovereign finished second in 62.60 seconds. Conor Swail (IRL) crossed the timers in 62.82 seconds to place third riding Vanessa Mannix’s Rubens LS La Silla. Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Everlong LLC’s Diamond D took fourth place in 63.64 seconds.
Speaking of his winning round, Parot stated, “Yesterday I went really fast and I had one down, so today I did not want to go as fast because the course was very careful. I went in the first five, and I thought I went fast, but not that fast. I thought somebody would catch me, but the course was very careful and it caught people.
“This horse is very fast,” Parot continued. “I thought I would maybe be in the top three with this time, but I was lucky that I ended up winning it.”
Parot has had great success throughout the 2017 circuit, winning week four’s $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m riding Dazzle White, topping the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup in week six with Atlantis, winning week seven’s $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic aboard Quick du Pottier, and also taking week eleven’s $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m riding Couscous van Orti.
Remarking on his winter, Parot smiled, “It has been a really fantastic season. I think this is the best circuit I have had here. I had a really good summer and then the horses came in to the winter really good. They have stayed really sound and they are all in great shape. This horse is done for the circuit. He was really good all winter and it is nice for him to go out with a win. He and the others will all have a nice vacation until we go to Tryon in May.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, the Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Developing Jumpers completed their Power and Speed class with a win for Andres Soto (COL) and Julia Tedesco’s X-Lady.
Jimmy Torano and Pure Imagination Triumph in Marshall & Sterling Insurance Performance Hunter 3’3″
Jimmy Torano of Wellington, FL and Pure Imagination, owned by Ponies & Palms Show Stables, LLC, topped a competitive field of 37 horse and rider combinations in the Marshall & Sterling Insurance Performance Hunter 3’3″ division on Thursday. The pair only showed in two classes, but after winning an over fences round and placing third in the stake, they earned the championship ribbon.
Torano, who had never ridden the coming nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Ars Vivendi before, showed him as a favor to friend Joey Currais, trainer of Hunters Landing.
“We just got Pure Imagination to do the Junior Hunters with one of my clients, Isha Swani,” explained Currais. “Honestly, I have had him for four days. I wanted to put Jimmy on him to get a feel of the horse because the horse is going to do the 3’6″ this weekend. I’m beyond words, the trips were beautiful and having somebody of that caliber like Jimmy Torano, it was just a beautiful picture.”
While Currais has only had Pure Imagination in his barn for a short time, he speaks highly of the gifted gelding.
“This is a horse I picked for my client because of his personality, he is kind and forgiving, he has a great record, and a beautiful and quality jump,” continued Currais. “Working with a talented animal like Pure Imagination is a pure privilege.”
Elizabeth Boyd of Camden, SC and Hide Away, an entry owned by Looking Back Farm, captured the reserve honors, only two points overall behind Torano. Boyd and Hide Away won the handy trip and placed fourth in the stake round.
Competition continues on Friday featuring the $10,000 Gut Einhaus Five-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic, the $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic, and the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Seven-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic in the International Arena. The $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby will determine a winner in the Derby Field at the Equestrian Village (AGDF show grounds). For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.