Lexington, KY - May 14, 2011 - Rainy skies greeted exhibitors this Saturday at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, but that did not slow down the jumper action in the Rolex Stadium. The competition kicked off at 8 a.m. with the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic. At the end of the seven horse jump-off, it was Kent Farrington and Calvin Vanhet Wuttensenfof that accepted the winning honors after their double clear effort. Columbia's Daniel Bluman followed in second with Sancha La Silla, while Richie Moloney of Ireland took home the third place prize with Alsvid.
For today's event, Anthony D'Ambrosio designed a 1.45m course with 16 jumping efforts. The fences included open water, a triple bar, and three double combinations. Seven horse and rider combinations completed the first round without fault and advanced to the short course. The jump-off began with a single oxer followed by a skinny vertical, and then they made a right turn to a vertical-oxer double combination. Then, riders turned left towards the gate over a single oxer before taking a long gallop to a single vertical. Finally, the participants headed home over an oxer-vertical bending line and crossing through the timers.
"Anthony D'Ambrosio is a very intelligent course builder," noted Farrington. "I thought he asked a bunch of questions, related distances to both combinations, one coming after the water, the other a triple bar to a vertical-vertical, which is always a good test for a horse. I thought it was probably exactly what he wanted for a $20,000 1.45m Classic."
Daniel Bluman was the first rider to step into the ring for today's event with Sancha La Silla. The duo easily mastered the first round, and their clear effort qualified them for the jump-off. When they returned to the arena, Bluman and Sancha La Silla had a keen eye for the win. They had a quick pace to each obstacle and left each rail in its cups, crossing the finish line in 41.992 seconds. Their quick time and fault-free round would hold the lead until the very end of the jump-off, and the pair eventually settled for second.
"I think the jump-off course went really well," noted Bluman after the class. "I had to go first and I tried to go as fast as I could without risking too much, because I thought with a fast clear maybe I could have the win. From 1 to 2 I think I went as fast as I could and I did one less stride to the combination. I took my time a little bit at the liverpool, because the mare is only eight years old and a little green. I think I went as fast as I could, but Kent is just a really super fast rider and he got it from me."
Next to tackle the track was Mary Shirley and RMW New Day. They also managed to leave all the fences standing and stopped the clock at 43.994 seconds, which would be good enough for fourth place. Ian Millar and Dryden tried to mimic Shirley's effort, but their quick pace to the last vertical proved costly as the rail hit the ground. With a four-fault effort in 42.532 seconds, Millar and Dryden earned the seventh place award.
Yesterday's winner in the 1.45m Open Jumper class, Richie Moloney, was hungry for another win, this time aboard Alsvid. The pair had a very good round, leaving all the fences in tact, but they broke the beam slightly too slow in 42.585 seconds, earning the third place prize.
Amy Millar and Top Gun were also successful during the first round and advanced to the jump-off, but the pair had a rail the first portion of the double combination. Their four-fault round in 41.533 seconds would take home the sixth place prize. Lauren Tisbo and Vaillant S had today's fastest short course, as they clocked in at 40.697 seconds. Unfortunately, the duo's quick gallop across the ring to the single vertical proved to be too much and added four faults to the final tally, and they earned the fifth place honors.
Kent Farrington and Calvin Vanhet Wuttensenfof were the last to tackle the track and the final post proved to work to their advantage. Farrington pushed his horse quickly across the ground, and the talented mount wasted no time in the air as he made his way over each obstacle. With each rail in place, they blazed across the finish line in 40.941 seconds. The pair's excellent effort would take over the lead and earn them the winning paycheck.
"During the jump-off, I was just to trying to go fast," explained Farrington. "I was lucky I got to go at the end, that's always a big advantage. If I had to go first, maybe I wouldn't have gone as fast, so I think going at the end played into it for me."
Farrington added, "This is an incredibly fast horse; really fast foot speed across the ground, spends no time in the air. I thought I matched Daniel's round. I probably took more of a shot across the middle, he's very careful so I can just run at verticals with him like that. Any other places, I just matched his stride and thought I was on a faster horse."
Calvin Vanhet Wuttensenfof is a new mount for Farrington, which he recently began riding as part of a partnership. He is very pleased with the nine-year-olds progress and thinks he has a bright future. "I think he's a really competitive horse," he said. "He's very, very sensitive so he's a little bit funny to ride, but I think he has real ability its just a matter of fine tuning with him and being patient. I don't know whether he has scope to jump 1.60m World Cup Finals or something like that, but I think he will turn into a very nice grand prix horse, and whatever level he ends up doing, he's going to win because he's very fast."
The Kentucky Spring Horse Shows are always on Farrington schedule, and he always enjoys competing at the Kentucky Horse Park. "This is one of the best facilities we have in the United States," he noted. "It's a good management team and this is an excellent facility. It can rain like it did now, and the conditions are still great."
The competition in the Rolex Stadium will continue today with the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tomorrow, the jumper riders will return to vie for the winning title during the $55,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, which gets underway at 4:00 p.m. Next Wednesday will mark the start of the Kentucky Spring Classic, which runs through May 22, 2011.
For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
RESULTS: $20,000 Bluegrass Classic
1 388 CALVIN VANHET WUTTENSENFOF KENT FARRINGTON 0 0 0 78.295 0 0 0 40.941
2 370 SANCHA LA SILLA DANIEL BLUMAN 0 0 0 79.299 0 0 0 41.992
3 635 ALSVID RICHIE MOLONEY 0 0 0 80.966 0 0 0 42.585
4 174 RMW NEW DAY MARY SHIRLEY 0 0 0 78.449 0 0 0 43.994
5 540 VAILLANT S LAUREN TISBO 0 0 0 79.802 4 0 4 40.697
6 526 TOP GUN AMY MILLAR 0 0 0 80.883 4 0 4 41.533
7 571 DRYDEN IAN MILLAR 0 0 0 79.219 4 0 4 42.534
8 726 SOLERINA CONOR O'REGAN 4 0 4 78.800 0 0 0 0.000
9 242 MONSIEUR DU REVERDY VICTORIA COLVIN 4 0 4 79.707 0 0 0 0.000
10 746 CAMIRAGE CHRISTINA KELLY 4 0 4 80.720 0 0 0 0.000
11 832 JAMES T. KIRK ANGEL KAROLYI 4 0 4 80.745 0 0 0 0.000
12 268 WAMINKA KEN BERKLEY 4 0 4 82.317 0 0
Photo Credit: Kent Farrington and Calvin Vanhet Wuttensenfof won the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.