Daniel Bluman and Fatalis Fatum Lead the Way in $55,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix

Lexington, KY - It was all about speed during today's $55,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. There was a steady rain throughout the class in the Main Stadium, but that did not slow anyone down. Daniel Bluman was the first on course with Fatalis Fatum and advanced to the jump-off in the lead position. The pair set an incredible clear time that could not be beat.

Todd Minikus came very close with Pavarotti is second place, and Alexa Pessoa galloped to third place aboard Madison.

Richard Jeffery designed today's long and winding courses. The first round featured a triple bar-to-oxer double combination, a triple combination, a liverpool fence, and a scored open water. Six riders were able to complete clear efforts and advance to the jump-off. The faults that caught other riders were well spread-out through the course. For the short course, riders began over a large oxer followed by a single vertical. They then galloped to a single vertical on the right lead before going across the ring to the liverpool oxer. Riders then picked up another fast gallop to an oxer on the left lead in the far corner of the arena before turning towards the first portion of the triple combination.  Each pair then finished over oxer a single oxer next to the in-gate.

Daniel Bluman and Fatalis Fatum drew the top spot in today's order, but the skilled pair were able to complete the first round without fault and advance to the jump-off. They led the way over the short course as well and knew they would have put in an incredibly fast round to beat the world-class riders coming behind them. Bluman opened up a quick pace with Fatalis Fatum to the first fence and never let up. Each rail stayed in its cups and the pair was able to leave a stride out to the final fence, blazing across the finish line in 44.57 seconds. The duo's fast round would set the bar for today's jump-off and they eventually led the victory gallop.

"I am really happy," smiled Bluman after his victory. "It has been a good week and my horse has been jumping really well. I am glad I was able to take the blue today."

Todd Minikus was next on course with Pavarotti, and they were not about to let Bluman win without a fight. Minikus gave Pavarotti all the room he needed to run to the fences and they gave it their best shot. Pavarotti leapt over each fence without touching any of them and stopped the timers at 44.65 seconds. They were just 1/10th of a second away from Bluman's time and took home the second place prize.

"It was basically a wide open jump-off," commented Minikus.  "There were not many turns so everyone just went flat out.  Daniel's horse has a tremendously big stride, so he did seven strides in the last line where I had to do the eight strides. It ended up being a fun class because everybody went for it in the jump off."

Throughout this week Pablo Barrios has been dominating the competition with his amazing mounts. Today, he qualified G & C Blanchee Z, owned by G & C Farm, Gustavo & Carolina Mirabal, for the jump-off. Unfortunately, the luck was not with them today when they pulled down a rail coming out of the double combination, but their score held up for the fourth place honors.

Alexa Pessoa and Madison were next to compete over the short course. The pair almost had Bluman's time, but as they came to last fence Madison got too forward and Pessoa had to add a stride at the last minute. They did not have any faults, but their time of 45.40 seconds would put them in third place.

Margie Engle gave the jump-off a good try with Indigo, owned with Gladewinds Farm, Inc. Indigo is new to the grand prix ring and accrued faults at the third obstacle and the fifth obstacle. Engle chose not to push the pace with Indigo as the rails began to fall and tripped the timers at 48.81 seconds with eight faults for the sixth place ribbon.

Jonathan McCrea and Promised Land were the last to compete in the class and the crowd began to get excited when it looked like they were going to beat Bluman's time. They continued to yell for McCrea to go faster and the pair picked up the pace, even with McCrea having to adjust his hat after the liverpool because of the rain. Unfortunately, McCrea came in with too much horse to the double combination and had rails at both portions for eight faults. The duo did manage to have a faster time when they broke the beam at 45.85 seconds, but the unlucky rails would put them in fifth place for the final results and seal Bluman's victory.

"I knew I had to go as fast as I could during the jump-off," explained Bluman. "I've trained with Pablo and Todd, and both were coming after me. I knew it was going to be a really fast jump-off so I had to be as fast as I could and then hope all the rails to stayed up."

Bluman has been riding 15-year-old Fatalis Fatum for a year and a half and the pair have been very successful. "He hass been very good," noted Bluman. "He won three nice grand prix classes last year and he has placed in others. He needs a patient rider that understands him because he can be a little difficult and stiff. However, he is very scopey and very careful, and when he feels like winning he can win."

Next week, the pair will continue showing at the Kentucky Spring Classic before heading to Canada for the summer to compete at Spruce Meadows as well as a few World Cup Qualifiers.

Bluman enjoys competing at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, and especially appreciated the New OTTO Sport footing during today's rainy class. "This footing is perfect," he said. "I didn't use studs on my horse and we didn't have any slips. The facility is one of the best in the world. We are having the World Equestrian Games here so it has to be pretty amazing."

Today marked the final day of competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, but the exciting jumper action will continue next week during the Kentucky Spring Classic. Riders will have the opportunity to continue earning points for the Hagyard Leading Rider Award during the $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic on Thursday, May 20. On Saturday, May 22, the top show jumpers will compete for the winning title in the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, which will get underway at 6 p.m. in the Main Stadium.

For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

RESULTS: Class 232, Commonwealth Grand Prix CSI2* 1.50m

1  839  FATALIS FATUM   DANIEL BLUMAN  DANIEL BLUMAN    0    0    0    94.130    0    0    0    44.570    
2  943  PAVAROTTI   TODD MINIKUS  TODD MINIKUS LTD    0    0    0    91.550    0    0    0    44.650    
3  436  MADISON   ALEXA PESSOA    ALEXA PESSOA   0   0   0  91.550   0   0   0    45.400    
4  491  G & C BLANCHEE Z  PABLO BARRIOS  G & C FARM, GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL  0  0  0  89.020  4  0  4  45.120    
6  697  INDIGO    MARGIE ENGLE    GLADEWINDS FARM INC.    0    0    0    90.740    8    0    8    48.810    
7  623  SKARA GLEN'S DAVOS    CANDICE KING    SKARA GLEN STABLES    0    2    2    96.350    0    0    0.000    
8  340  BLUE CURACAO  MARILYN LITTLE-MEREDITH  MARY LOBER AND PAUL LOEBER  4   0   4   86.940   0   0  0.000    
9  444  CHIRON S   PAIGE JOHNSON    SALAMANDER FARM    4    0    4    88.810    0    0        0.000    
10 538  Q'S CHARM  RAMIRO QUINTANA    KATHRYN QUIRK    4    0    4    91.040    0    0     0.000    
11 529  HIDDEN CREEK'S CAMPELLA  MARGIE ENGLE  HIDDEN CREEK FARM, INC.   4   0   4   91.760   0   0   0.000    
12 605  KELLINE FONROY   CLEMENTINE GOUTAL   CLOVERLEAF FARM   4    0    4    93.450   0    0   0.000

Photo Credit: Daniel Bluman guided Fatalis Fatum to an exciting victory in the $55,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix at thhe Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.