Lexington, KY - May 22, 2011 - Early this morning, riders gathered at the Rolex Stadium to compete in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic, as the Kentucky Spring Classic comes to a close. After late thunderstorms last night, the sun had come back out this morning at the Kentucky Horse Park, where four horse and rider combinations were able to advance to the jump-off. The fastest of the day proved to be Danielle Goldstein and Levistano 2, who notched a double clear effort just ahead of Paige Johnson and Kadena R. Rounding out the top three was Richie Moloney and Let's Go, who also had a perfect short course.
Thirty-one riders made their attempt over Richard Jeffery's first round course, which included a stonewall, open water, double combination, and triple combination. Only four of those riders were able to complete the course without fault and advance to the final test. Leo Paoli was able to leave all the fences standing with Country Boy, but crossed the timers just over the time allowed for three time faults and a fifth place finish. Wednesday and Friday winners, Quentin Judge and HH Sandor, had the fastest four-fault time for the sixth place award.
"When I walked it, I didn't think it was necessarily too big, but it had some technical lines, a couple questions, a lot of steady lines," noted eventual winner Danielle Goldstein. "I ended up having to fight a little bit for the clear."
For the jump-off, riders started over a single oxer and made a bending line to a plank fence that eliminated a number of riders during the first round. They then rolled back to a vertical-oxer double combination and galloping to the wall fence. This was followed by a sharp left turn to a single oxer, and finally, the riders made their way through the timers after jumping the final oxer.
Goldstein was the final rider to show over the short course with Levistano 2, owned by Starwyn Farms, and proved to be the best of the bunch. The duo held a steady pace throughout the course and never touched a rail, stopping the clock at 35.786 seconds, to go straight to the top of the leaderboard and lead the victory gallop.
"As I was walking in, a couple people told me I didn't need to run, but the horse is a little slow across the ground and has a bit of a hang time, so I knew I needed to keep moving a little bit," explained Goldstein. "It started out good, I didn't leave out a stride in the first line, but I was quick to the combination and down to the wall. I had a good turn back on the oxer and was able to keep coming forward. To the last, I think I probably could have done one less, but it still worked out, so I am happy."
Paige Johnson went in the ring just before Goldstein with Salamander Farm's Kadena R. The duo was slightly conservative when they rolled back to the oxer, but a kept a quick pace throughout the rest of the course, and included an excellent roll-back to the double combination. They eventually finished just behind Goldstein for second place with a fault-free time of 35.966 seconds.
Kadena R is a 16-year-old mare that just began showing late this winter after recovering from an injury, and Johnson has been thrilled with her performance over the last two weeks. "My plan was just to go neat, but be tidy; not run her off her feet, but just to go and have a solid round, go a little faster than Richie, since I knew there was one person left," she commented. "That's kind of the risk that you take without going crazy, just going fast enough. It was a really close time and I am very proud of my mare, she's been great!"
Richie Moloney was the second to show over the jump-off course with the Equinimity LLC entry of Let's Go. At that point, there had been no clear efforts over the challenging track, so Moloney chose to keep a conservative pace with his new mount. The pair was able to leave all the fences standing, but stopped the clock at 39.811 seconds, which, while two seconds off the winning pace, would hold up for third at the end of the class.
The fastest time of the day went to Christina Kelly and Camirage, owned by Diamond Edge Farm. They were the first to complete the first round without fault, but they were unable to mimic that effort during the jump-off. The duo's quick pace proved costly when a very sharp turn to the oxer after the wall caused them to pull down a rail. Kelly and Camirage broke the beam in a speedy 33.065 seconds, but their four-fault score earned the fourth place award.
Goldstein and her talented mount had a very solid effort to win today's top honors. "I have had the horse a little less than a year and it took awhile to get used to him," she said. "I've changed bridles a lot, but it finally seems like it coming together. He is a lot different than my other horses. I feel like I want to help him a little bit, but I think the more I leave him alone the better he goes. As long as I keep going forward and leave him alone at the jump he does well."
The Kentucky Spring Horse Shows are a favorite for Goldstein, who has been coming to compete at the Kentucky Horse Park for a number of years. "I love this horse show," she smiled. "The facility is beautiful, the footing is great, the ring is excellent, and the show is run well. I am very happy."
Today marked the conclusion of the Kentucky Spring Classic, but the exciting hunter/jumper action at the Kentucky Horse Park will continue later this year during the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows. Beginning on July 27, 2011, five weeks of competition will get underway, including the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, the NAJYRC, the Kentucky Summer Classic, the USEF Pony Finals, the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, and KHJA Horse Show.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
RESULTS: $20,000 Bluegrass Classic
1 414 LEVISTANO 2 DANIELLE GOLDSTEIN 0 0 0 35.786 0 0 0 0.000
2 139 KADENA R PAIGE JOHNSON 0 0 0 76.205 0 0 0 35.966
3 636 LET'S GO RICHIE MOLONEY 0 0 0 76.346 0 0 0 39.811
4 746 CAMIRAGE CHRISTINA KELLY 0 0 0 73.594 4 0 4 33.065
5 606 COUNTRY BOY LEO PAOLI 0 3 3 80.409 0 0 0 0.000
6 198 H H SANDOR QUENTIN JUDGE 4 0 4 68.698 0 0 0 0.000
7 368 FATALIS FATUM DANIEL BLUMAN 4 0 4 74.633 0 0 0 0.000
8 782 MARVELOUS 6 ELIZABETH BATES 4 0 4 75.896 0 0 0 0.000
9 396 VALHALLA KENT FARRINGTON 4 0 4 76.293 0 0 0 0.000
10 668 AD FUNDUM DONALD CHESKA 4 0 4 76.988 0 0 0 0.000
11 277 THE REAL DEAL ADAM PRUDENT 8 0 8 71.703 0 0 0 0.000
12 474 QUITO AARON VALE 8 0 8 74.342 0 0 0 0.000
Photo Credit: Danielle Goldstein and Levistano 2 won the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic at the Kentucky Spring Classic. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.