Lexington, KY - Beezie Madden, of Cazenovia, N.Y., showed why she's one of the best show jumpers in the world in tonight's $60,000 Kentucky Cup Grand Prix at the Kentucky Horse Park. She guided Danny Boy to a jump-off time of 38.37 seconds to defeat the three other riders who qualified for the deciding round.
Canadian international star Beth Underhill, of King Township, Ont., grabbed second place on Top Gun (39.56), and Laura Teodori, of Tucson, Ariz., took third place on Kasoar D'Uxelles (39.99). Madden also finished fifth on Mademoiselle.
Madden, 47, led the U.S. team to the gold medal in the 2004 and the 2008 Olympics, where she also won the individual bronze medal. At the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, she led the U.S. team to the silver medal and earned the individual silver medal.
The Kentucky Cup Grand Prix was the show jumping test event for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park September 25 to October 10. On a windy and rainy evening, the lights and the footing were fully tested, along with many other organizational elements. The top riders enthusiastically praised the main arena and the footing, for which construction was completed in the spring of 2009.
"We're used to riding in inclement weather, and with the footing the rain doesn't matter," said Madden. "The arena's fantastic, and with the extra stands that will be here for the World Games, it should make the atmosphere even better."
Underhill, 48, is a veteran of Canadian teams at the Olympics and World Equestrian Games, but she'd never competed at the Kentucky Horse Park before. "I thought this was a perfect amount of atmosphere, and southern hospitality was definitely at its best here, so the World Games should be a spectacular sensation," she said.
Both of Madden's horses are candidates for the U.S. team at the World Games. Danny Boy finished tied for sixth in the selection trials held in Florida during the winter, while Mademoiselle finished ninth. Both horses will campaign in Europe this summer in preparation, along with Madden's Olympic medalist, Authentic.
Underhill hopes to make the Canadian team with Top Gun too, and she came to the Kentucky Cup to acquaint him with the ring, the stables and the environment.
Teodori, 20, is not a U.S. team candidate, but she came to the Kentucky Horse Park to gain international experience. She said she's owned Kasoar D'Uxelles for four years. "He's the horse I did my first grand prix on and my first everything with. He's the horse who's taken me where I am today," she said.
About The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championship of eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). The World Games are held every four years, and this will be the first time in the United States. The World Games will be broadcast on NBC Sports, which has marked the largest commitment to network coverage of equestrian sports in U.S. television history. The 2010 World Games are expected to have a statewide economic impact of more than $150 million, and current sponsors include Alltech, Rolex, John Deere, Ariat International Inc., Meydan and UK Healthcare.
For more information on the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, please visit www.alltechfeigames.com.
Photos by Diana DeRosa.