Reed Kessler and Mika Gallop to 1.45m Open Jumper Victory


Lexington, KY - The skies were clear for the first day of the Kentucky Spring Classic at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park host of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. In the Main Stadium the top riders competed in the Open Jumper classes, where junior Reed Kessler vaulted to the top of the leader board with Mika in the 1.45m competition. Earlier in the day, Pablo Barrios had another top finish when he scored the first and second place ribbons in the 1.40m Open Jumper class with G & C Leroy and G & C Lepanto.

Conrad Homfeld designed today's course 1.45m course, which featured 14 jumping efforts. For the first round, riders had to show over a double combination, a triple combination and liverpool fence. Six riders advanced to the jump-off after completing a clear round. They began over an unfamiliar stone oxer before making a right turn to a single oxer. Riders then had to make an "S" as they wound their way over an oxer and a vertical, before turning to the double combination near the gate. Finally riders had to jump the liverpool and dash across the finish line as they jumped an oxer coming home.

Three riders were able to complete the jump-off with all the rails in their cups. Pablo Barrios was the first to do so aboard G & C Napoleon, owned by G & C Farm, Gustavo & Carolina Mirabal. The pair picked up a quick pace to the first fence and was able to maintain it throughout the course. They left all the fences standing and stopped the timers at 38.550 seconds, which held up for the third place honors.

When Reed Kessler entered the ring aboard Mika she was not planning to go for the win, but as they jumped through the first round with ease Kessler decided to pick up the pace.  They advanced to jump-off and Kessler stepped-it-up with her talented horse. They flew over each obstacle and galloped across the finish line in an exciting 37.819 seconds to take over the lead and eventually win the class.

"Initially I thought I was going to be schooling because he was kind of fresh, but he ended-up being so good that I just let him go fast," explained Kessler. "During the jump-off, he jumped the first fence and cut really well so I decided I might as well try. He was fantastic!"

Aaron Vale was the final rider to complete a double clear effort during today's class with Ubico- H, owned by Royal Farms, LLC. The duo made an excellent attempt to catch Kessler's time, but they unfortunately lost some ground through the winding course and broke the beam at 38.259 seconds to pick up the second place prize.

Fifteen-year-old Kessler was thrilled with her victory against such a difficult group of competitors during today's class. "I am really excited," she smiled. "Pablo has won basically everything here and he was in the jump-off so I was very concerned he would be faster than me. The course was perfect because it had a lot of long galloping and Mika has a really big stride."

"Mika is amazing, he just gets better and better," Kessler continued. "He is different than my other horses because he does not need me to push him. Mika just wants me to leave him alone and let him jump up. We have kind of been making each other up as we grow together and he is only 10 years old so it is very exciting."

Kessler bought Mika two winters ago and began showing him in the 1.40m jumper classes. The pair has quickly grown together and they have begun competing at the grand prix level. Last week, Kessler had an exciting fourth place finish in the $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic and they will compete in that class again tomorrow.

Earlier in the day the 1.40m Open Jumper class was held in the Main Stadium with Pablo Barrios taking the top two spots. Barrios was the first rider in the ring with G & C Lepanto, owned by Gustavo & Carolina Mirabal. The class was scored under Table II.1, a time first round. The pair picked up a quick gallop to the first fence and easily cleared the bending portion of the course. They were able to continue their long stride throughout the round without accruing any faults. The duo tripped the timers at 58.528 seconds to set a difficult pace.

Barrios was still in the lead when he entered the arena aboard G & C Leroy, owned by Gustavo & Carolina Mirabal, 22 horses later. The top rider still pushed his mount and they were able to complete a clear round in an even faster time of 57.829 seconds. Their amazing effort garnered them the first place ribbon, while Barrios' earlier attempt took second place.

"This is the fourth class in a row that Leroy has won," said Barrios. "He won the 1.35m Wednesday, the 1.40m Thursday, and he won the eight-year-olds. He's very fast and he's going to be a great speed horse."

Barrios continued, "Lepanto is another speed horse, and Gustavo owned him for a long time in Venezuela before bringing him here. He's very good at this height. It's weird the way he jumps, but he's very careful and very fast."

This year Barrios will represent Venezuela during the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, so the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows have offered an excellent opportunity to for his horses to get seasoned at the venue. "I have always had good results here, so I feel like I belong to this place in some way," he noted. "I have won some classes here and been successful so that is going to help because it is going to feel like home. We'll see what the result is, but I hope that is the feeling I'm going to have."

Tomorrow the Kentucky Spring Classic will continue with the second class in the Hagyard Challenge Series, the $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic. The event will be held at 6:30p.m. in the Main Stadium, and riders will have the opportunity to continue earning points towards the $50,000 Leading Rider Award.

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

RESULTS:
Class 226, Open Jumper II sec 2b, 1.45m

1   89  MIKA  REED KESSLER  REED KESSLER 0 0  0 0.000 0 0 0 37.819    
2  923  UBICO-H AARON VALE ROYAL FARMS, LLC 0 0 0 68.997 0 0 0 38.259    
3  490  G & C NAPOLEON  PABLO BARRIOS G & C FARM, GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL 0 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 38.550    
4  425  BALOUBET JUNIOR Z  CHRISTINE MCCREA CANDY TRIBBLE AND WINDSOR SHOW STABLES 0 0 0 0.000 4 0 4 39.155    
5  446  TRULLI  JAMES BENEDETTO  EQUINIMITY LLC 0 0 0 68.637 4 0 4 41.743    
6  481  G & C TROPI GOLD  PABLO BARRIOS  G & C FARM, GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL 0 0 0 65.299 4 6 10 51.221    
7  962  VASCO V  CHRISTINA KELLY  DIAMOND EDGE FARM  0  1  1  71.051                       
8  222  LAJANA  WIM JANSSEN  WIM JANSSEN  4  0  4  66.195                       
9   78  THE REAL DEAL  HENRI KOVACS  RACHEL CLINE  4  0  4  66.948                       
10 525  LORD G  CARA RAETHER  TRELAWNY FARM LLC  4  0  4  66.951                       
11 337  UDONNA  MARILYN LITTLE-MEREDITH  RAYLYN FARMS, INC. 4 0 4  7.979                       
12 633  VALHALLA  KENT FARRINGTON  HAITY MCNERNEY 4 0 4 68.530    

Class 225, Open Jumper II sec 1, 1.40m

1  484  G & C LEROY    PABLO BARRIOS    G & C FARM, GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL 0  0  0  57.829    
2  480  G & C LEPANTO  PABLO BARRIOS  G & C FARM, GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL  0  0  0  58.528    
3  639  GIEFHEBBERS TRANSAVIA    KENT FARRINGTON    HILARY MCNERNEY  0  0  0  59.453    
4  426  TWISTER  CHRISTINE MCCREA  CANDY TRIBBLE AND WINDSOR SHOW STABLES  0  0  0  61.052    
5  476  FLASH  PABLO BARRIOS  PABLO BARRIOS  0  0  0  64.514    
6  527  HIDDEN CREEK'S LONESOME BOY  MARGIE ENGLE  HIDDEN CREEK FARM, INC.  0  0  0  66.203    
7  968  UDIANA  DONALD CHESKA  CHLOE WORMSER 0  0  0  66.229    
8  818  CATARO ASK MARK BLUMAN  MARK BLUMAN  0  0  0  67.478    
9  695  GOWRAN PARK ANDREW BOURNS  ANDREW BOURNS 0  0  0  67.900    
10 611  SCARFACE NORMAN DELLO JOIO  TONY WEIGHT 0  0  0  69.477    
11 762  RMW NEW DAY   MARY SHIRLEY  JON SHIRLEY & ROCKY MT. WARMBLOODS LLC 0 0 0 73.625    
12 449  LET'S GO JAMES BENEDETTO  EQUINIMITY LLC  0  1  1  76.508

Photo Credit: Reed Kessler and Mika took home the top prize in the 1.45m Open Jumper class at Kenucky Spring Classic. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.




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