Lexington, KY - The fourth day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show opened with exciting jumper action in the Main Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, host of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. Beginning at 8 a.m., 34 of the top jumper riders competed in the $20,00 Bluegrass Classic. Eight riders advanced to the jump-off, and it was Marilyn Little-Meredith that jumped a clear round in the fastest time with Blue Curacao to lead the victory gallop.
Richard Jeffery designed an exciting first round course for the riders to show over. It included 16 jumping efforts and riders began over a large triple bar fence. The course also featured a water jump, a vertical-to-oxer double combination, and an oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination. For the jump-off riders had to begin over the triple bar once again, before making a bending line to a single vertical and making a right turn to a single oxer. They then had an option to take an inside turn to a single vertical before making a very sharp turn to a difficult vertical going away from the gate. Finally, riders picked up a fast gallop and made their way through the timers over a single oxer.
Marilyn Little-Meredith and Blue Curacao, owned by Mary and Paul Loeber, were the first pair to qualify for the jump-off and complete the short course without fault. They galloped to the second fence in a very quick six strides, and kept up their fast pace throughout the track. The duo would set an incredible time to beat, crossing the finish line in 31.194 seconds. They quickly jumped to the top of the leader board and their amazing score would eventually earn them the first place prize.
Clementine Goutal rode Wintina Deux, owned by Cloverleaf Farm, to the second double clear effort of the day. The pair had light rubs at the third and fourth fence, but they managed to leave all the rails in their cups. They stopped the timers at 33.384 seconds, which held up for the third place honors.
The third rider to complete the shortened course without fault was Reed Kessler aboard Mika. The duo had an efficient track but they did not go all out and tripped the timers at 33.595 seconds to take home the fourth place ribbon.
Scott Lenkart and Impulsive, owned by MacMillan Sport Horse, made a very good effort to catch Meredith's time. They jumped each fence effortlessly and sailed through the finish in 31.769 seconds. Many people in the crowd thought the pair had taken the lead, but Lenkart and Impuslive were just a few tenths of a second short, garnering the second place award and sealing Meredith's victory.
It was a great course early in the morning and good way to start a Saturday," smiled Meredith. "There were eight in the jump-off, so I think the course was perfectly built for the class; Richard Jeffery did a great job."
Meredith normally shows Blue Curacao in the grand prix classes, and is planning to compete with the mare again tomorrow during the $55,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix. Blue Curacao is just nine years old, but Meredith is thrilled with how she has progressed through the years.
"Blue Curacao is a huge talent, she is incredibly smart," Meredith noted. "She is young and she goes a little bit differently everyday, but she always gives 100%. The main thing is trying to be ready for her, and not get in her way."
During today's first round course Meredith was very focused on getting through the triple combination. "The triple was definitely big, and I think with young ones in a ring this size the triple is so far away that you can lose their attention on the way over there," she explained. "I think that happened to a lot of horses. The course was inviting coming in, but there were a lot of rails through the triple. The option water line was hard. There was no perfect choice so it really depended on the horse."
Blue Curacao proved her maturity as she easily answered all of the questions on the course. "She has just started the grand prix classes this year and she has been an incredibly good sport about jumping big tracks early on in her career," said Meredith. "Not a lot of horses can maintain that level and she is really doing a good job. I am just starting to go fast on her and hopefully we get to do it again tomorrow."
The highlight event of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show will be held tomorrow in the Main Stadium beginning at 4 p.m. The top jumper riders in the country will turnout to compete in the $55,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix. Riders will continue to compete next week during the Kentucky Spring Classic, when the $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic and the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, will be held.
For more information on the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows please go to www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
RESULTS:Class 229, Bluegrass Classic II sec 2a, 1.45m
1 340 BLUE CURACAO MARILYN LITTLE-MEREDITH MARY LOBER AND PAUL LOEBER 0 0 0 82.941 0 0 0 31.194
2 664 IMPULSIVE SCOTT LENKART MACMILLAN SPORT HORSE 0 0 0 80.934 0 0 0 31.769
3 606 WINTINA DEUXc CLEMENTINE GOUTAL CLOVERLEAF FARM 0 0 0 81.654 0 0 0 33.384
4 89 MIKA REED KESSLER REED KESSLER 0 0 0 85.374 0 0 0 33.595
5 490 G & C NAPOLEON PABLO BARRIOS G & C FARM, GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL 0 0 0 3.944 4 0 4 32.371
6 337 UDONNA MARILYN LITTLE-MEREDITH RAYLYN FARMS, INC. 0 0 0 84.505 4 0 4 32.510
7 962 VASCO V CHRISTINA KELLY DIAMOND EDGE FARM 0 0 0 85.258 8 6 14 49.463
8 78 THE REAL DEAL RACHEL CLINE RACHEL CLINE 0 0 0 86.294 0 0 Fell 0.000
9 426 TWISTER CHRISTINE MCCREA CANDY TRIBBLE AND WINDSOR SHOW STABLES 0 1 1 87.141 0 0 0.000
10 818 CATARO ASK MARK BLUMAN MARK BLUMAN 0 1 1 87.321 0 0 0.000
11 941 ROMY TODD MINIKUS DIAMOND GROUP 4 0 4 85.260 0 0 0.000
12 1009 ESO ABIGAIL BLANKENSHIP TREESDALE FARM 4 0 4 85.437 0 0 0.000
Photo Credit: Marilyn Little-Meredith rode Blue Curacao to the top prize in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.