Lexington, KY (May 23, 2017) – It was a rewind of the previous week at the Kentucky Horse Park with Todd Minikus in the money and in the top ribbons again on multiple mounts at the 2017 Kentucky Spring Classic, May 17-22. Minikus again started early with an impressive first place win after an outstanding go on Alex Verlooy’s Carvelo Z in the 135m class.
Once again Minikus was on the move riding a bevy of horses. He piloted Elarina owned by the CoverBoy Group to top placings in both the 7-year-old jumping classes. Minikus wrapped up the weekend with a series of successes on clients’ horses as well as a few of his own, including the 8-year-old bay mare JuJu VDM and 9-year-old I Dottori VD Richter owned in partnership with Brems Sport Horses, the striking bay gelding, VDL Excel owned by the CoverBoy Group, and Alice Lawaetz’s chestnut gelding Incitatus — all finishing in the money for their primo performances in the jumper ring.
And Minikus’ own bay gelding Exceptional continued demonstrate his promise in the hunter ring by earning three second place ribbons in Green Hunter 3’3’ classes. “He is going to make someone an outstanding hunter mount,” Minikus said of Exceptional. “He really lives up to his name and he just a fun horse to show.”
Next Team Minikus heads south to Tryon International Equestrian Center, North Carolina, to get the jump on summer circuit.
When not competing nationally and internationally, Todd Minikus offers sales and training services in Wellington, Florida. Minikus, a FEI Nations Cup veteran, is also a U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist. Be a part of the action by following Team Minikus on Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.
Lexington, KY – May 21, 2017 – The Kentucky Spring Classic came to a close with a full day of Grand Prix show jumping action in the Rolex Stadium. The final day of competition held not only the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Hollow Creek Farm, but also the $40,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, presented by Audi of Lexington as well as the jump off round for the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy CSI3* Grand Pix. Alex Granato was the quickest ride in the jump off class, earning him the win in the event that was originally scheduled to be held on Saturday evening after the Preakness Stakes. Eugenio Garza took home the blue ribbon in the Under 25 Grand Prix and Santiago Lambre stole the win in the Bluegrass Grand Prix to finish two weeks of top notch hunter and jumper competition. Lambre was also awarded the Kentucky Spring Classic Leading Rider Award, presented by Envisian Products, LLC.
D’Artagnan, the 9-year-old KWPN gelding who helped Lambre fly to the win in the $40,000 1.45m Grand Prix with a time of 30.592, is part of a newer string of horses for the Brazilian athlete. The pair has previously won several 1.40m and 1.45m classes during the Winter Equestrian Festival as well as at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, before making their way to the Kentucky Horse Park. Lambre, who has spent a good portion of his career competing in Europe, recently transitioned to the United States full time to live in Wellington, Fla. The 2017 Kentucky Spring Series marked the first time Lambre had competed at the Kentucky Horse Park and after his numerous successful rounds of the past two weeks, the Brazilian athlete is looking forward to more trips to the area.
With a full roster of thirty-nine horses, the $40,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix only saw eight clear rounds to return for the jump-off. Although French National Champion Eric Navet held the early lead on Basimodo with a clear time of 31.661, Luis Biraben and Colorado 210 eventually stole the second place honors by putting in a faultless effort and time of 31.557, sending Navet home to California with a third place ribbon.
Earlier in the afternoon, Eugenio Garza piloted his own Barino to the top of the leader board in the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Hollow Creek Farms, with a double clear ride and jump off time of 41.675. Garza, who won big on Friday night in the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix on Armani SL Z, was the fastest of twenty-two starters in the class. Mavis Spencer and Chacco were second with a double clear effort and a jump off time of 41.834.
The highlight event of the Kentucky Spring Classic, the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, was won by American rider, Alex Granato and Carlchen W with faultless jump off round and a time of 41.73. Granato competed against forty-eight other riders during a class that was split between Saturday night and Sunday morning due to unexpected storms. Aaron Vale and Finou 4 finished just off the lead time in 42.36 and Michael Morrissey and Chance Ste. Hermelle rounded out the top three spots with a clear round and time of 43.45.
The Kentucky Spring Horse Show Series saw awards go to athletes from all over the world who gathered in the Kentucky Horse Park for the annual event. Professionals and amateurs alike were able to compete in top level hunter and jumper classes, all while enjoying the world class facilities at the of the Kentucky Horse Park. Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC is looking forward to hosting their competitors again during their Summer Series that will take place from July 26, 2017 – August 6, 2017.
Emma Kurtz and Dedication Declared Grand Junior Hunter Champions
On the final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic, talented junior rider Emma Kurtz claimed the Large Junior Hunter division championship as well as the Grand Junior Hunter Champion title aboard Dr. Betsee Parker’s Dedication. Accumulating 46 points with the judges, Kurtz consistently placed at the top of the leaderboard on multiple mounts in the Stonelea ring and won the championship sponsored by Visse Wedell of Wedell Real Estate.
On Saturday, Emma Kurtz of Hudson, Ohio executed two precise rounds in the Large Junior Hunter classes, landing Dedication, a bay Holsteiner, in second place after the first day of competition. Showcasing his reliability to perform well in the show ring, the 12-year-old gelding returned on Sunday and jumped his way to second place in the over fences classes, coming in third in the under saddle class.
Although the pair had not shown together since the Winter Equestrian Festival where they regularly ribboned in the large junior hunter classes, the break between Florida and Kentucky did not prevent them from outshining the competition across the division. In addition to Kurtz, Dedication has also been shown by top hunter athletes Scott Stewart and Victoria Colvin in the professional and junior divisions.
Competitive National and International hunter and jumper competition will resume at the Kentucky Horse Park in July with the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, presented by Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC.
Lexington, KY – May 19, 2017 – Alma Bjorklund and her own S.I.E.C. Contessina sped past the competition in Friday’s High Junior/Amateur-Owner speed class during the Kentucky Spring Classic. Out of 33 total entries, Alma was one of only four riders able to navigate the speed course without accruing any faults. Her clear time of 61.477 seconds scored the blue ribbon for the day.
Lacey Gilbertson, who won this same class a week ago during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, showed Bizonder to the second place position with a time of 64.900 seconds. Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur rounded out the top three spots with a clear round and time of 65.130 seconds.
Bjorklund, who hails from Sweden, has been competing with her brother Viggo at the Kentucky Horse Show, LLC events over the past two weeks under the watchful eye of Irish rider and trainer Eddie Macken. In much the same way as Macken has helped Mexico’s Eugenio Garza, the winner of the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3*, develop his string of competitive horses, he has also guided the Bjorklund siblings to top placings. Bjorklund specifically appreciates Macken’s quiet support and humble demeanor.
The 23-year-old University of Miami student will enter the Rolex Stadium Saturday in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic on another of her talented horses. After the Kentucky Spring Classic wraps up, she will move on to the first event of the 2017 Split Rock Jumping Tour, also held in Kentucky.
FEI jumper competition continues with the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, which will be held after the Preakness viewing Saturday evening in Rolex Stadium. Saturday will also feature “A Day in the Park” to honor Ellen Veitch, a beloved member of the Kentucky Horse Show, LLC family who unexpectedly passed away on February 9, 2017. Exhibitors are encouraged to braid with blue yarn and wear a blue ribbon in loving memory of Ellen. All material is available in the show office for competitors to participate including braiding yarn, ribbons, and pins. Running from noon until 2pm, there will be a Kids Korner children’s party that will be held at the end of vendor row adjacent to Murphy Ring. The entire family is invited for the afternoon featuring horseless show jumping, face painting, and an ice cream social. The $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix will finish out competition in this year’s edition of the Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC spring series on Sunday afternoon.
Lindsey Tomeu Captures Ariat National Adult Medal aboard Red Drum
Lindsey Tomeu returned to the Claiborne Ring prepared to win the Ariat National Adult Medal Friday morning of the Kentucky Spring Classic. During last week’s Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Tomeu of Wellington, Florida and Elm Creek Holdings, LLC’s sale horse Red Drum competed together for the first time in the same class, scoring third place honors. In the first round exhibitors were asked to show over an eight fence course designed by Danny Moore. The top four combinations scoring an 80 or above to advance for additional testing.
Tomeu executed a smooth first round, receiving a high score of 83, which put her into second position behind Lizzie Van Der Walde who scored an 85 aboard Sarah Turner’s Holsteiner gelding Cacadu just before the test. In reverse order, riders were instructed to step forward from the line and canter to fence eight, trot fence two, canter fence six, counter canter fence seven, and return to the line in sitting trot.
Tomeu was impressed with the ease in which the Hanoverian gelding Red Drum completed the lead change and the pair made an impression on judge Bobbie Reber, resulting in a favorable adjustment in the standings. With the impressive performance Red Drum and Tomeu claimed the blue ribbon while Van Der Walde placed second. Lyriss Jaeger of Georgetown, Kentucky piloting her own Catanova rounded out the top three.
Tomeu has competed in equitation for four years, and is an accomplished jumper athlete, training with Shane and Ali Sweetnam at Sweet Oak Farm in Wellington, Florida. She can be seen at world-class venues across the country including the Winter Equestrian Festival, the Longines Global Champions Tour, the Devon Horse Show and the American Gold Cup.
Lexington, Ky. – May 18, 2017 – The atmosphere at the Kentucky Horse Park was electric on Friday night as fans came out to watch the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* as part of the Kentucky Spring Classic Horse Show. Sixty-four riders competed their horses for a chance to not only win the 1.45m class, but also earn valuable points towards winning the Hagyard Challenge Series. Eugenio Garza, of Mexico, was victorious aboard Armani SL Z even though Roberto Teran of Colombia and Il Rubacuori held a seemly unbeatable lead until the very end. Santiago Lambre and Dingeman finished in a close third place.
Armani SL Z, a 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding, has been a part of Garza’s program for three years. Garza, who is trained by the famed Irish rider and coach, Eddie Macken, has been careful to bring the striking grey gelding along thoughtfully, in hopes of achieving the moment that came in the ring tonight. The class saw very few clear rounds in the first half of competition, but by the time Garza had entered the ring, eleven other riders were waiting to come back in the jump-off. Aaron Vale, of Ocala, Fla., had even qualified all three of his rides for the short course.
Teran was the first rider to produce a clear first round on Il Rubacuori and he came back for the short course, ready to win. Internationally recognized as a fast rider, he clocked in a time of 40.29. Santiago Lambre, also of Mexico, came the closest by producing a clear round in 40.570. While Garza was schooling for the jump off, he could hear the cheers and gasps from the crowd in the Rolex Stadium and knew that he would have to put in an incredibly fast round to overcome Teran’s early lead. Armani SL Z performed like a Grand Prix veteran and crossed the times in 39.330, giving Garza the definitive win.
Not only did Garza go home with the commemorative cooler and blue ribbon, but he also earned valuable points towards the Hagyard Challenge Series. The series consists of seven grand prix classes that are held during the 2017 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series. Garza is now tied with Eve Jobs, who won the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
Tim Goguen Earns Grand Open Hunter Championship aboard Expression Z
After two days of competition in the Stonelea Ring to kick off the Kentucky Spring Classic, Tim Goguen beat out close competitor Kelley Farmer for the coveted title of Grand Open Hunter Champion on Thursday afternoon. Scoring four out of five blue ribbons in the High Performance Hunter Division, Goguen sealed two division championships, the High Performance and Green Hunter 3’6, and ultimately the Grand Championship aboard 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Expression Z.
Sponsored by Visse Wedell of Wedell Real Estate, the Grand Open Hunter Championship is awarded to the combination that receives the highest number of points in their respective division. Posing the greatest competition for Goguen’s chance at the title was Kelley Farmer who had top placings with Discretion in the Conformation Hunter and It’s Me in the Green Hunter 3’9.
Goguen and Belhaven Stables, LLC’s Expression Z both stood out and received praise from respected hunter judges Rob Bielefeild and Shane George for their consistency in the High Performance and Green Hunter 3’6 during the Kentucky Spring Classic. The pair produced memorable and beautiful performances in each round, capturing top honors throughout both divisions.
Goguen of Lexington, Kentucky has earned continual success in the hunter ring, particularly excelling in the High Performance Working Hunter division. Professional hunter riders will take to the Stonelea ring once again this Saturday for the greatly anticipated USHJA National Hunter Derby, the highlight of the week.
Lexington, KY (May 24, 2016) – Todd Minikus made sure that the second week of the 2016 Kentucky Spring Classic was a memorable one. After Minikus and his outstanding mare Quality Girl won the opening $35,000 Welcome Speed CSI3* class and $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix CSI3* during week one, they returned to claim first place in the show’s main event, the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy CSI3* Grand Prix, during week two. After earning these three wins, the veteran show jumper will head back to Europe, where he is making his bid to be a part of the United States Show Jumping Team that will compete in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer.
Minikus and Quality Girl have a long history of success together. The pair has won many Grand Prix classes, including several at the Kentucky Spring Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky in previous years. The 13-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quidams Rubin x Dobrock), owned by the Quality Group, has had a fairly light competition schedule this spring due to Minikus’ travel back and forth across the Atlantic for the Team USA Olympic Observation Trials held in Europe. In Europe, Minikus is working towards qualifying Babalou 41, owned by Two Swans Farm of Wellington, Florida. Meanwhile, he has left Quality Girl in the capable hands of his wife and manager, Amanda Minikus.
“I have got to thank my wife Amanda, who has been very diligent at working Quality Girl at home and giving her a couple of schools before we came to the Kentucky Spring Classic,” said Minikus.
There were 41 total entries in the Saturday night $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy CSI3* Grand Prix, held in the renowned Rolex Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. The course, designed by Olaf Petersen, was a challenging track with a tight time limit. Only three horse and rider combinations made it to the jump-off – Shane Sweetnam with Chaqui Z, Danielle Stransky with HH Donatella, and Minikus with Quality Girl.
“I was 19th in the original order and no one had gone clear. The course rode tricky between her and me, but we’re not short on experience. She went great and luckily for us it worked out in our favor,” commented Minikus.
Winning this particular Grand Prix also carried special significance for Minikus, as it was held in memory of the late Mary Rena Murphy, who was a strong supporter of Minikus during the early stages of his show jumping career. “Mary Rena was putting on shows at the Kentucky Horse Park when I first started coming here. She used to help me along quite a bit. She was an awesome lady and it makes me happy to win the Grand Prix with her name attached to it,” said Minikus.
Next, Minikus will catch a flight to Switzerland, where he will meet up with two more of his equine teammates, Babalou 41 and Vita 24, to compete in the CSIO5* St. Gallen horse show. Minikus and fellow American teammates, Margie Engle, Lucy Davis, Lauren Hough, and Reed Kessler, will all be vying for the opportunity to be a part of the Olympic team at the 2016 Summer Games. Quality Girl and Team Minikus’ American string of horses will meanwhile head to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, where they will compete in the $380,000 Tryon Grand Prix CSI5* when Minikus returns.
Minikus is quick to recognize that the success of his career is a team effort. “I want to thank my wonderful groom Shannon McDonald for all the care and effort she puts into making sure Quality Girl is always at her best,” said Minikus. “It really does take a village to make everything work like it should, and I am surrounded by an outstanding group of professionals who take top notch care of all of my horses.”
Todd Minikus Show Stables offers sales and training services just minutes from Wellington, Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) show grounds. To learn about the services Minikus offers or to follow the action as Team Minikus competes around the globe, check out Todd Minikus on Facebook and Instagram, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.
Lexington, Ky. – May 23, 2016 – Aaron Vale has widened his early lead in the 2016 Hagyard Challenge Series by claiming the second place prize for the second week in a row during Thursday’s $34,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*. Vale, who has been competing at the Kentucky Horse Shows for 28 years, piloted Quidam’s Good Luck to a double-clear round, finishing just shy of the winner, Todd Minikus and Quality Girl. The Kentucky Spring Classic also featured the second event for the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series, where Geoffrey Hesslink earned the second place prize to further his lead in the standings.
During the first event of the Hagyard Challenge Series Vale placed second and third to claim the early lead. Pablo Barrios of Venezuela continues to hold the second place position in the standings after claiming the victory in the first leg of the Series aboard ASD Farfala. Todd Minikus and Quality Girl are just 30 points behind Barrios after winning Thursday’s highlight event.
The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven grand prix classes to be held during the 2016 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series as well as a $10,000 prize for the reserve champion.
The series concludes with the $65,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic held during the Kentucky National Horse Show. Following that exciting competition, the winner of the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus will be announced and presented with the cash prize by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. New this year is the $200 Best Turned Out award, sponsored by Bob Mickler’s, which will go to a well-deserving groom following each grand prix. In addition, a Hagyard’s Handsomest Hound contest will also be held at each grand prix, sponsored by MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets.
Hagyard Equine Medical Institute is one of the oldest and largest equine veterinary practices in the world. Founded in 1876, the institute offers a staff with qualifications unparalleled by any single non-university veterinary group in the equine industry, and Hagyard veterinarians have dedicated themselves to the health and well-being of the horse.
The facility at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute offers 13 digital radiology systems, 1.5 Tesla Siemens MRI, nuclear scintigraphy, an on-site laboratory, an on-site pharmacy, full medical and surgical services, 24-hour emergency services and hyperbaric medicine. The practice has performed veterinary medicine for more than 137 years and is currently composed of over 50 experienced veterinarians, with 13 board certifications in specialty areas of medicine, surgery and theriogenology.
For more information on the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, please visit www.hagyard.com.
Several generous sponsors have helped m
ake this exciting series event happen. These gracious supporters include title sponsor MWI Animal Health and presenting sponsor Zoetis as well as Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PLLC, Hallway Feeds, Audi of Lexington, Pike & Preston, Sallee Horse Vans and Hagyard Pharmacy. Additional sponsors include Equine Therapy and FooteWorks.
The Kentucky Spring Classic also featured the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the second event in the 2016 Hallway Feeds series. Hesslink took home the second place honors with Esco, which was combined with his first and third place ribbons during the first week to take over the lead in the standings. Aaron Vale earned the victory during the Kentucky Spring Classic with Madewell to move into the second place position, while Hunter Holloway rounds out the top three and is the leading junior competitor.
The five-part series will feature a $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby throughout the spring and summer, and at the conclusion of the series the Leading Rider Bonus will be presented. The $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus will award a $10,000 cash prize to the professional rider accumulating the most points in the five classes that make up the 2016 Hallway Feeds series. The series-leading amateur and junior riders accumulating the most points will each receive a $2,500 cash prize. Riders will receive points only on their highest placed horse in each of the classes. The awards will be presented at the conclusion of the Hallway Feeds class at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show on August 21.
Hallway Feeds’ close proximity to the Kentucky Horse Park provides ample opportunity to utilize the freshest feed, manufactured with time-honored commitments to high standards of quality and the latest scientific advancements. Combining a premium nutrition package with a professional level of dedication in horsemen and women provides equine athletes with the formula for success.
The Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series would not be possible without many generous sponsors including Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Fenwick Equestrian Products, EquiVision, Inc., Caddel Equine Therapy Center, Bauer Hay & Straw, Alfagreen Supreme, Trouw Nutrition, The Andersons, Mark Fischer Inc., Double S Liquid Feed Services, Inc., Agri-Business Insurance Services and Sweet PDZ Horse Stall Refresher.
For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386 PhelpsMediaGroup.com
Smith and Chartier Conclude Kentucky Spring Classic with Wins in Children’s Hunter Division
Lexington, Ky. – May 22, 2016 – The Kentucky Spring Classic, the second week of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series, concluded on Sunday with Andrew Ramsay taking home the blue ribbon in the finale event, the $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, aboard a mount aptly named Winn Winn.
Ramsay has consistently finished with top placings on all of his mounts throughout the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series and placed second in the Kentucky Spring Horse Show’s $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, behind Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Eternal, with Cocq A Doodle.
“It’s very exciting,” said Ramsay. “I feel great. It’s really a wonderful way to finish. It’s nice, actually – all of the horses all had results. Throughout the two weeks they all had good placings, top three placings, so it’s really nice. Winn Winn was very consistent this week. She was fourth the first day in the speed class, and then with this placement today it’s a wonderful way to finish up!”
Ramsay, of Shalanno Farms, piloted the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, owned by the The Winn Winn Group, past a starting field of 36 and a jump-off field of nine to claim the top spot on the leaderboard. They tackled both Olaf Petersen-designed courses effortlessly and produced a double-clear finish in a jump-off time of 38.078 seconds.
“I’ve had Winn Winn for just under two years now,” said Ramsay. “She’s an eager competitor. In the first round she was rideable; we were able to get the lines we wanted and kind of stayed on plan. In the jump-off, I just tried to stay out of her way and keep her a little bit in check because she gets quite eager to get out there and play, but I was very pleased with the rounds. She gave some great efforts and everything just came up nice. It was a good jump-off for her.”
Ramsay also gave credit to his trainer, legendary horseman George Morris, for his win on Sunday.
“George gives me a lot of tips,” said Ramsay. “I get very good advice from him. He’s an amazing coach to have, and it’s a great opportunity to have his help here.
“The big thing in our plan was just, in the jump-off, that we start off with our pace, keep our eyes up and get to the next fence,” continued Ramsay. “It was just all about trying to get home and keep all the poles up and she did a good job of that! I can’t say I had too much to do with it. She did a good job.”
Following closely behind Ramsay, just 4/10ths of a second slower, was Ramiro Quintana and Whitney, owned by St. Bride’s Farm, who tripped the timers in 38.459 seconds. The pair went on to claim second place honors, while Andrew Bourns and his own Hyakari rounded out the top three of the class in 40.498 seconds.
Ramsay was thrilled to not only wrap up a stellar two weeks of showing at the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series, but also his first time ever competing at the Kentucky Horse Park with a win.
“It’s my first time showing here at the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Ramsay. “I came in 2010, when WEG was here, and that was my first time here to see a competition. When we made the summer schedule and decided to stay in the U.S. for the summer, it was either Old Salem or Kentucky and I wanted to come back here and we’ve had a great time.
“The facility is very unique,” continued Ramsay. “Unique is the best way to describe it. It’s huge and there are just so many wonderful places to ride. There are big facilities out there, but you can’t ride everywhere. Here I feel as though the oddity is where you can’t ride. Coming from California, which is very dry and you can’t really ride on grass like you have here, or Europe, which is very small, it’s such a unique experience where you can go and ride out on the hills in the grass. It’s fantastic. I don’t know if I enjoyed showing more or if I enjoyed riding out in the fields more, but it was really a great two weeks.”
Ramsay will remain in Kentucky through next week to compete at the Split Rock Jumping Tour and will head to Spruce Meadows in Calgary next.
“A big thank you to all of those who help out,” said Ramsay. “It’s a big team that makes it happen, and it’s wonderful to finish up these two weeks in this way.”
Earlier in the day, the Under 25 Grand Prix was held in the Rolex Stadium and the first place prize went to Tina Yates and High Point Farm’s Biallon. Yates had three different mounts entered in the class and qualified both Biallon and Zelote VDL for the jump-off before any other horse and rider combinations, out of the 20 starters, had also advanced to the jump-off.
“The first round I went second on Zelote and really my strategy was to go and have a nice round and just ride exactly what I walked,” said Yates. “On my second one, I had the exact same plan. I knew the time allowed was a bit tight so I had to keep going around the turns, but I think it definitely presented some challenges. It just required a little bit of smart riding and riding a smooth track.
“Zelote VDL I’ve had for about four years,” continued Yates. “I showed him a bit at WEF and he was double clear in the 5* there. I just thought here I’d build him up a bit before we go to Spruce Meadows for four weeks. He’s spunky – one of the spunkiest ones I’ve ever owned but he’s great, he’s like my child, so I have a great partnership with him. Biallon is one that I’ve had since she was 6 or 7. I’ve brought her up through the ranks and right now she’s just staying at this level. Maybe we will try to move up, but again I’m just trying to get them confident before we go to Spruce.”
Yates was almost going to be only competing against herself in the second round until Venezuela’s Emanuel Andrade and his own Natif Des Roches added themselves to the good list with a faultless effort.
The courses in Sunday’s competition, once again designed by Olaf Petersen, proved to be technical and tricky with only two riders moving on to the jump-off. Yates returned to the ring first in the second round aboard Zelote VDL, but had an unfortunate fall after a refusal. However, even after her unexpected dismount, Yates was up next in the jump-off again with Biallon.
Yates proved her resilience and completed the jump-off course with Biallon, finishing on a 4-fault effort of 44.913 seconds. Andrade was the only contender to challenge Yates’ top spot, but pulled two rails resulting in an 8-fault finish in 39.334 seconds, garnering them second place.
“When I came back on Biallon after my fall with Zelote, I wasn’t so much nervous as I was a bit upset,” said Yates. “I had a really good start, and I just had a little bit of a bad angle to the jump. I just needed to sit behind him and squeeze, and unfortunately it happens sometimes, but you just have to brush it off your shoulder and shake yourself off and go get on the next one.
“Biallon’s not super-fast so again I just wanted to try to give her a really confident, smooth ride,” continued Yates. “There were only three clears so of course I would like to win but it was more important that I got her confident before Spruce.”
The U25 Grand Prix series continues to be a popular class among young riders who have aspirations to be more competitive in the higher-level international competitions in the future. It’s chance for young riders to showcase their talent in the show jumping sport and give them their first experience to learn how to compete at the 1.45m level under FEI regulations.
“I’ve been competing in the U25 series since I’ve been in Florida, and I was fifth overall in the U25 series at WEF, and I did it on another horse, but it’s a great series,” said Yates. “It’s great for building up the horses, especially because I’m no longer an amateur, but I’m under 25, and it enables me to go in these classes and develop those younger up-and-coming horses instead of jumping in the 1.40m/1.45m divisions. It’s really great and I think it helps build the horses a lot.”
Similar to Ramsay, the Kentucky Spring Horse Show series is also Yates’ first time competing at the world-class Kentucky Horse Park facility.
“I was here once in 2004 and it was a lot different so this is my first time and I have to say it’s been fantastic,” said Yates. “I love the grounds. It’s amazing for the horses to go out on the grass and kind of clear their head and the footing is absolutely fantastic – probably one of the best in the world. I think the horses jump great and feel great and it’s a great ring.”
Perseverance Pays Off for Catherine Chartier in NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic
The Kentucky Spring Classic concluded with picture perfect weather for Children’s Hunter riders in the Stonelea Ring on Sunday. Alexandra Smith and Eclypse took home the championship in the Children’s 14 and Under Hunter division as well as the overall grand champion children’s hunter prize sponsored by Visse Wedell at Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Smith was thrilled with her rounds on Sunday aboard Eclypse, an 8-year-old Hanoverian mare.
“She was absolutely perfect,” Smith said. The addition of a brush fence used in Saturday’s $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby did not faze the pair at all. “She didn’t look at the brush fence at all, she made it easy,” Smith explained.
The pair swept the over fences classes, also winning an over fences class on Saturday, on their way to the grand champion award. Although Smith and Eclypse are a relatively new partnership, they already show a great deal of promise.
“I haven’t been riding her long, I’ve only shown her three times,” Smith said. “She’s a little bit of a princess, but she’s sweet. She’s nice to ride and she’s so fun.”
Smith was enthusiastic about her weekend at the Kentucky Spring Classic.
“We come here every year,” Smith said. “It’s so pretty and I like all of the rings, they’re really nice. I’ve been coming here forever and I love it.”
Wedell has been a great supporter of the Kentucky Horse Shows, sponsoring grand championship prizes in multiple divisions.
“I think that it’s fantastic to award the best of the best in each division,” said Wedell, who recently purchased a property nearby. “I love this facility so much. It’s such a pleasure to be here. I’ve officially decided to base myself here for the season so I’ve invested myself personally in the area because I love it here so much.”
Twelve-year-old Catherine Chartier and Notorious, an 18-year-old Warmblood gelding, captured the win in the NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic with an inauspicious beginning in the earlier first round of the Children’s 14 and Under Hunter over fences class. Chartier fell off after a refusal, but persevered to come back and score an 80 in the first round and an 81 in the second round for a final score of 161. Second place went to Vyla Carter and Skyfall with a score of 160.
“I fell off in my first round so I really didn’t expect to win after having such a rough weekend,” Chartier said.
Chartier showed impressive poise and maturity in analyzing what had gone wrong in the first round and coming back strong.
“I had to tell myself not to get mad at him,” Chartier said. “I had to remind myself that he is a horse and he is just as imperfect as I am – he’s not a machine. We’re going to have rough rounds like this and what’s one rough round out of hundreds of great rides.”
Chartier was happy with their two classic rounds.
“In the first classic round he was good,” Chartier said. “We went in again for the final round, and I was afraid after we were a little bit tight after one of the lines that the score wouldn’t be that great, but it ended up being really great in the end.”
Notorious is a seasoned partner for 12-year-old Chartier.
“He’s 18,” Chartier said. “He’s been doing this for a long time. His favorite treats are Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies. He’s just a really special and really great horse.”
With the conclusion of the Kentucky Spring Classic and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series, Kentucky Horse Shows LLC will now be gearing up for the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows series with the Kentucky Summer Horse Show running July 27-31 and the Kentucky Summer Classic running August 2-7.
For more information on the Kentucky Horse Shows and to find a Kentucky Summer Horse Shows series prize list, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386 PhelpsMediaGroup.com
Aaron Vale Demonstrates Skills in Hunter Ring with $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Win
Lexington, Ky. – May 21, 2016 – The Kentucky Spring Classic’s main event, the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, was an unforgettable one as Todd Minikus (USA) and Quality Girl pulled off their third FEI win for the week. The win was extra meaningful to Minikus as it honored his dear friend and horsewoman Mary Rena Murphy.
“I’ve been coming to the horse park since before it was cool to come to the horse park,” said Minikus. “Mary Rena was putting on the horse shows here and she used to give me a lot of grief. At the same time, she was very nice and helped me along quite a bit. She was an awesome lady and did a lot for the sport. It makes me very happy to win the grand prix with her name attached to it. Her entire family has been instrumental to the horse park and this whole facility for decades now.”
“Todd was one of my mom’s bad boys and she loved him,” said Renie Murphy, daughter of Mary Rena Murphy. “He’s been trying for 17 years since she died to win this grand prix so the family is really happy. It’s happy and sad, but we’re glad that Todd won it – for our family.”
Forty-one exhibitors went head-to-head over the challenging 14-fence first round course, designed by Olaf Petersen, where horses and riders were tested to their limits. Only three were able pass the test and jump clear to advance to the jump-off.
Minikus and Quality Girl, owned by the Quality Group, were nineteenth in the order-of-go and the first to jump clear.
“Tonight this was a proper course,” said Minikus. “You had the time tight and some of those lines were very sophisticated. The combination rode scopey, and I think it ended up being a great class for the crowd.”
Shane Sweetnam (IRL) piloted Chaqui Z, owned by Spy Coast Farm, to a faultless effort five rounds later to challenge Minikus in a jump-off.
“The course was jumping difficult, but I got to watch a few so I had a plan,” said Sweetnam. “I wasn’t sure if I’d be inside the time because there weren’t so many options, but he can turn very tight. He jumped really well. I thought he was a little fresh tonight, maybe fresher than normal, but he still jumped very well.
“Olaf did a great job,” continued Sweetnam. “Time definitely played a factor and then you had a few tricky options. The lines got very tight coming home. I think the course tripped up people everywhere, but it was definitely a difficult last line.”
It looked as if the two would go head-to-head for the top prize once again, after Sweetnam already placed second to Minikus in Thursday’s $35,000 Welcome Speed CSI3* with Cyklon 1083, but Daniela Stransky (VEN) added herself to the good list as the last contenders in the first round aboard Stransky’s Mission Farms’ HH Donnatella.
“I just wanted to take it jump by jump,” said Stransky. “It’s my first big class on her; I really wanted to take it slow, jump by jump and just have a nice, cool head – no emotions. It really paid off – every single ounce of effort this whole weekend. I love that mare, and she loves me, thank God!”
Minikus and Quality Girl entered the ring once again as the first to tackle the jump-off course. They set the pace for Sweetnam and Stransky, producing another double-clear round, in 40.70 seconds.
Sweetnam and Chaqui Z tried their luck next but pulled an unfortunate rail to earn them a 4-fault jump-off finish in 43.92 seconds, which would garner them second place honors.
“Luckily, or unfortunately, I got to see Todd go so I knew I really had to go,” said Sweetnam. “I think I did one less up the first line and then the second line it made me very flat and then that flattened the plank. I could maybe try all day to beat Todd’s time because that mare is very, very fast and he did everything right. He did a great job.”
“I was nineteenth in the original order and no one had gone clear,” said Minikus. “It rode tricky and, between her and me, we’re not short of experience. She went great and Shane is a very fast rider so I really thought I needed to go in the first part of that jump-off and put enough pressure on Shane. He tried to do the leave-out and got his horse undone just a little bit and had the plank down so it worked out for us.”
It was all up to Stransky to catch Minikus. However, the new pair could not match the seasoned partnership of Minikus and Quality Girl. They finished with a 4-fault effort in 44.66 seconds, claiming a very respectable third place.
“She’s a very new horse for me,” said Stransky. “I’ve had her for less than a year. This is my third grand prix on her ever – in my life, actually. I could not have been happier. I actually went against my favorite rider Todd Minikus, which is kind of funny, and I don’t like him anymore because he beat me. I’m beyond happy and – just wow!”
After winning both the $35,000 Welcome Speed CSI3* and the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*, Minikus and Quality Girl wrap up a phenomenal Kentucky Spring Classic with their third win in a row.
“My mare was awesome this week,” said Minikus. “I was in Europe for the past couple of weeks and I haven’t really ridden her since the Ocala million. For a couple of months, I really didn’t ride her. I’ve got to thank my wife, Amanda, who was very diligent at home working her and giving her a couple of schools before we came here to the horse show.”
Next week Minikus heads back to Europe, where he will represent the U.S. next at CSIO5* St. Gallen in Switzerland along with teammates Lucy Davis, Margie Engle, Lauren Hough and Reed Kessler as he continues to compete for a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team.
However, he will return to the U.S. in June to compete Quality Girl in the $380,000 Tryon Grand Prix CSI5*.
Aaron Vale Wins $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby
Hunter riders braved the rain Saturday in the Stonelea Ring to compete in the second leg of the $40,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series. Aaron Vale and Madewell were on top in the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, followed by last week’s winner Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco in second place and Ally Marrinan and At Last rounding out the top three.
The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is part of the $40,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series, which is returning for the fifth year in a row at the Kentucky Horse Park. The five-part series awards a $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus presented at the conclusion of the series.
Vale took the lead in the first round on Madewell, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, with a score of 90, taking all four high options on the Bobby Murphy-designed course.
“Last week I only took three high options,” Vale explained. “One option was ridiculously high last week so I skipped that. This week all the options were doable. It was just a nice, smooth course in spite of the weather. He was really settled and a bit more relaxed than last week so I was able to ride him around pretty smoothly. It was good fun.”
Vale returned in the handy round, again taking all four high options, scoring an 87.5 and a cumulative score of 177.5.
“My handy round plan was to take the inside turns, jump the high options and try not to get too greedy where you make a mistake,” Vale said. “I have to watch that. I want to get aggressive – I want to go fast. You have to just keep your patience, make the turns, be smooth and not try to overdo it.”
The derby course challenged horses and riders today even on fences that, at first glance, seemed inviting.
“It was kind of a hard turn to the brush on the end,” Vale said. “That was kind of tricky in both rounds. Even the first round horses didn’t jump this option fence really well. You’d think they would because it’s all brush and solid, but for whatever reason a few of them jumped a bit out of shape. Just being patient to that jump and making sure you got a distance so the horse didn’t make a mistake was important.”
Geoffrey Hesslink won last week’s $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby aboard Rookie, and he was the series’ leader coming into this week’s class with Esco, an 8-year-old Rhinelander gelding. Hesslink posted a score of 81 in the first round, taking all four of the handy options.
“I went second in the order and it was raining so I was a little conservative in round one,” Hesslink said.
Hesslink and Esco returned in the handy round to earn the score of 89, taking all four handy options again.
“For the handy course I thought he was on it,” Hesslink said. “I thought he executed it perfectly, and he did everything I asked him. We ended up second, and he was really good today. The rain didn’t bother him at all; I think it bothered me more than him.”
Hesslink was enthusiastic about continuing to compete in the $40,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series throughout the rest of the summer.
“That’s one of my goals for this year,” Hesslink said. “It wasn’t one that I was thinking, but after last week and this week, it is. I think it’s a great class and they do a great job with it so I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue with it because we are going to be here for all of the summer shows.”
Vale echoed Hesslink’s sentiments.
“Anything that has a bonus is nice,” said Vale. “Now we have more reasons to try to put Kentucky Horse Shows on our summer schedule because the Hallway shows are going to be the same shows that have the Hagyard classes, and I’m doing well in both of them.”
The Kentucky Spring Classic, running through May 22, features a FEI CSI3* rating. The featured national classes will be the $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, which counts towards the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List, and the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, May 22, in the Rolex Stadium.
EQSportsNet will be streaming live webcasts throughout the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows. EQSportsNet Full Access subscribers can watch all rounds of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series on demand at www.eqsports.net.
Annabel Revers and Quax Secure First Place in ASPCA Maclay for Second Year in a Row
Lexington, Ky. – May 20, 2016 – Hunter Holloway showed her skills in the Kentucky Spring Classic, bringing home wins in both the hunter and jumper rings.
In the Medium Junior Jumpers, Holloway took home the victory aboard Italia, a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, with a time of 51.098 seconds, a full four seconds faster than second place finishers Ashley Hartman and Clear Lady.
It was a meaningful win for Holloway, who has done the majority of the training on the home-bred Italia.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Holloway. “He is 7 years old and we bred him. “Lisa Oliver broke him when she worked for us, but since then I’ve been the one on him. I did his first jumps, his first courses – everything. It’s pretty special now to have him moving up into the Medium Juniors. We were planning on having a nice, fast, smooth round. He stepped up to the plate great.”
After her win in the jumper ring, Holloway headed over to the Stonelea Ring and brought home a win in the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase with Orion, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding.
“The plan was just to have a nice round,” said Holloway. “We want to keep getting qualified for finals here. Orion is amazing; I don’t think he gets enough credit. He’s kind of the horse that does all the work, and then we pull Sunny out for finals. Everyone knows Sunny and I as such a good pair, but no one ever realizes how good Orion is.”
She continued, “He’s the one that gets me qualified every year – that does all the work – and he’s for sale this year. He’s a great horse. He’s a blast to ride.”
Holloway was enthusiastic about her first trip to the Kentucky Spring Classic.
“This is actually my first time being here during the spring shows,” Holloway said. “It’s a beautiful facility. They do a great job with the show and the management is great. The weather could be better but it’s been great.”
The Kentucky Spring Horse Shows allowed for Holloway to spend more time in the jumper ring as well as continuing with the hunters.
“This year our focus is more on the jumpers,” Holloway explained. “Mom and I both will hopefully be doing more of the FEI classes. We’re trying to do more World Cup qualifiers and more big classes.”
Madison Dehaven and Chanel brought home the win in the Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers for the second week in a row with a time of 24.013 seconds, a full two seconds faster than second place Alexandra Duval and XM.
Dehaven was full of praise for Chanel, her 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare.
“I was very happy with her today,” Dehaven said. “Everything kind of came up like I wanted it to. I’m really learning to ride her on a nice rhythm. She wants to go forward and gallop, and for me that was really hard to get used to.”
From the start, Dehaven made a plan that paid off in time saved.
“I really liked the course,” said Dehaven. “There were a couple of challenging things for her. In the jump-off, there was a right rollback, and she’s a lot harder off the right. I would say that plank to the last fence was where I made up time. I had planned eight strides down the last line, but we were in a nice gallop and I caught the plank and the seven was just there. I left out to the last oxer and she was really good.”
The Kentucky Spring Classic, running through May 22, features a FEI CSI3* rating. On Saturday, May 21, riders will compete under the lights in the Rolex Stadium during the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix. All three FEI classes held during the Kentucky Spring Classic count for the Longines Ranking List and the Saturday classes will also count for the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List. In addition, the featured national classes will be the $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, which counts towards the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List, and the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, May 22, in the Rolex Stadium.
Annabel Revers and Quax Secure First Place in ASPCA Maclay for Second Year in a Row
Sixteen-year-old Annabel Revers of Weston, Massachusetts, rose to the top of 16 entries in Friday’s ASPCA Maclay horsemanship class in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Spring Classic aboard Beechwood Stables LLC’s Quax.
Revers and Quax are frequent blue ribbon holders in the equitation ring, and even won the same class together at the 2015 Kentucky Spring Classic.
“It was a really nice way to start the weekend and to start my first show back after the winter,” said Revers. “I just tried to ride it really smooth and relaxed. It wasn’t too technical.”
Revers piloted the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding around the equitation course, made up of 10 fences, under the guidance of trainer and Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde. The track consisted of challenging bending lines, single obstacles, an in-and-out and a large log wall fence leftover from the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
Despite the over fences test Revers was tasked to complete as well as the rainy weather seen during the class, she rode a flawless and fluid round that undoubtedly impressed the judges.
Revers’ equitation caught the judges’ attention once again during the flat portion of the class, where she secured the first place spot.
“I’ve had Quax for about a year and half now,” said Revers. “We got him as a jumper and over the past year and a half we’ve been turning him into an equitation horse. He was really good today. I was really happy that he stayed relaxed and was really good and did his job.
“The rain didn’t bother him at all,” continued Revers. “He was great and was super brave at the hunter derby fence; I was really happy with that.”
Revers has been coming to the Kentucky Horse Shows for years and always loves returning to the world-class facility at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“I love riding in the field when we’re not showing,” said Revers. “That’s one of my favorite parts about coming here. The grounds are really nice, and it’s just a really nice place to be!”
Second place honors went to 17-year-old Summer Hill and Poden Farm’ Aster De La Cense. Hill trains with Andrea Simpson and Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Farms.
This class was only the second time Hill had ever ridden and shown the 6-year-old Selle Français gelding, but the pair proved to be top contenders in the competitive junior equitation ring.
“I didn’t really have a plan,” said Hill. “I’ve only ridden the horse twice so it was just kind of however it goes. He’s only 6 years old so I had to make up my plan as I went, but he was really good. He really showed himself in the ring so I’m really happy with him.
“He’s very brave,” continued Hill. “He used to do the jumpers a couple of months ago. He gets a little bit upset with the rain, but he held through it pretty well.”
Hill also recently moved from California to the Bluegrass State and enjoys being in close proximity to the Kentucky Horse Park in order to compete at the Kentucky Horse Shows.
“I moved here in June,” said Hill. “We bought a farm like ten minutes from here. I love showing in the Rolex Stadium on my jumpers. This is a great place to come!”
The Kentucky Spring Classic will continue through May 22 with the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby in the Stonelea Ring on Saturday, May 21, while also offering WIHS and NAL qualifiers plus $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics.
Kentucky Horse Shows is also pleased to host a book signing with George H. Morris for his newly released autobiography, Unrelenting: The Real Story: Horses, Bright Lights and My Pursuit of Excellence.
The book signing will be held on Saturday, May 21, during the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Stonelea Ring.
Come and meet legendary horseman George Morris, take a photo and purchase a signed copy of George’s autobiography, which illustrates the story of his life, from the very public to the incredibly private, while also enjoying hunter derby action from the second leg of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series!
EQSportsNet will be streaming live webcasts of the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* during the Kentucky Spring Classic on Saturday, May 21. EQSportsNet Full Access subscribers can also watch all rounds of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series on demand at www.eqsports.net.
Lexington, KY (May 20, 2016) — Todd Minikus wasted no time making the most of his quick trip back to the United States from Europe while competing to qualify for the United States Show Jumping Team. During the first day of competition at the Kentucky Spring Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, Minikus won the $35,000 Welcome Speed class in the Rolex Stadium with Quality Girl. He also had top finishes with two of his other horses throughout the week. Thursday, he and Quality Girl once again took top honors in the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*.
Minikus and Quality Girl, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quidams Rubin x Dobrock) owned by the Quality Group, have a proven track record of success at the Kentucky Horse Park. Last year the pair won the $20,000 Blue Grass Classic at the show grounds, and went on to have several more impressive wins both nationally and internationally.
The $35,000 Welcome Speed course, designed by Olaf Petersen Jr., proved to be nothing the experienced pair couldn’t handle. Minikus said, “We had a fair course for a Welcome stakes, full of really fast horses, but I think where we won it was at the roll back to the vertical and the roll back to the oxer in the jump-off. Those two things made all the difference.”
In the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*, Minikus and Quality Girl blazed through the course in 38.24 seconds, pulling ahead of Aaron Vale and Quidam’s Good Luck’s time of 39 seconds. “Aaron looked quite fast as always, but Quality Girl’s an extremely fast horse,” said Minikus. “She’s been a winner her whole career and the one thing you know about her is that at any given moment she could be the winner. She generally tries hard every day. She’s a professional show horse and that’s what I love about her.
“Quality Girl really hasn’t shown since Week 11 at WEF, so she was a little fresh today but was definitely on the top of her game,” Minikus added after his victory. Quality Girl is leading Minikus’ American string of horses, while his European string of horses are traveling to Switzerland to compete in the St. Gallen CSI 5*, which Minikus will compete in as part of the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Observation Trials as soon as he returns to Europe from Kentucky.
Quality Girl wasn’t the only member of Team Minikus that was ready to win during the first week of showing in Kentucky. Spring Girl, a daughter of Minikus’ famous mount Oh Star, finished third in the YJC Six Year Old division in the Walnut Arena. The mare only recently started showing during this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival, but jumped an impressive double clear in Kentucky. “This is her first ‘away’ horse show and she handled it really well, so I am happy with her progress,” said Minikus.
Minikus also piloted William Upton’s WEC L’AMI NOIR to an impressive double clear and sixth place finish out of 100 other horses in the 1.35m class.
Despite logging long hours in an airplane and traveling from cold and rainy conditions in France to cold and rainy conditions in Kentucky, Minikus is looking forward to hopping back on a plane and preparing for the competitions ahead. After the second week of the Kentucky Spring Classic concludes, Minikus will jet off to Europe for the final leg of Olympic observation trials. The Pan American athlete will then meet up with Quality Girl and the rest of his American string at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina.
When not competing nationally and internationally, Todd Minikus offers sales and training services just minutes from Wellington, Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) show grounds. You can follow all the action from Team Minikus on Facebook and Instagram, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.