Lexington, Ky. – May 12, 2018 – The evening awards ceremony of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show closed in a familiar fashion as the sun set on a victorious Darragh Kenny (IRL) who led the victory gallop around the Rolex Stadium aboard Babalou 41. On Saturday night, the pair claimed an exciting win in the $131,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3*, just after capturing Thursday’s $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* at the Kentucky Horse Park.
With a starting list of 36 horse-and-rider combinations, Alan Wade’s (IRL) technical 17-effort track only produced four clear rounds for a thrilling and competitive jump-off. Todd Minikus (USA) and Quality Girl also returned to Saturday night competition in top form, delivering the long-awaited first clear round to the delight of the audience. Minikus and the 15-year-old Oldenburg mare, owned by the Quality Group, returned first in the jump-off to set the pace with a blazing time of 36.050 seconds, but were just overtaken by Kenny in the end. However, Minikus and Quality Girl still managed another top award, finishing in second place and adding to Wednesday’s $35,000 Welcome Speed 1.45m CSI3* victory.
Eugenio Garza (MEX) and El Milagro’s Armani SL Z were the ones to guarantee a jump-off in round one as they produced the second clear effort of the evening. Garza and the 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding returned for a clean and careful jump-off in 40.160 seconds to earn the third place award. The team is no stranger to the winner’s circle at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show series upon claiming last year’s $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* at the 2017 Kentucky Spring Classic.
Once again though, it was Kenny and Jack Snyder’s Babalou 41 who claimed the fastest double-clear finish of the night, flying to a time of 35.500 seconds for the victory. Kenny and the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare are already on the fast track to success with notable FEI wins in this week’s Kentucky Spring Horse Show as well as top placings at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival.
The first week of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show series concludes Sunday with the $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix and the USHJA International and National Hunter Derbies. The Kentucky Spring Classic begins on Wednesday, May 16, and will feature FEI CSI3* competition highlighting the $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix on Saturday, May 19.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Darragh Kenny – $131,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3* winner
On his plan:
“It was a tough course, but [Babalou 41]’s jumping amazing at the moment and I just knew to walk my course, pick my plan and stick to it and it really worked out well. For the jump-off [my plan] was just run. Todd [Minikus] was unbelievably fast and just amazing. It was either win or die trying.”
On Babalou 41:
“She’s so fantastic. She’s so careful and tries so hard. She turns unbelievable and I think she’s going to be an incredible mare for the future. We’re really learning each other now and it feels so good and she’s jumping well, I’m just so happy with her.”
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“I’ve really enjoyed it this last week. This week has been lovely and I’m sure the next week will be too.”
Todd Minikus – second place
On Quality Girl:
“She’s been an awesome horse since the first time I ever showed her. She’s always been a winner. She had a little bit of a knee injury, so she had quite a bit of time off, but it seems like she has come back it super form so I’m really happy to have her back. She is such fighter. She definitely has an opinion on things, but she really is a pure fighter. In the barn she’s totally casual and nothing seems to bother her, but once she’s in the ring she’s a true fighter.”
On Kentucky Spring Horse Show:
“I’m going to show her here next week too. I love Kentucky. It’s the horse capital of the world and me being horse crazy, that suits me just fine. I’ve been coming to Kentucky shows here at the [Kentucky Horse Park] for years so I’ve been able to see it change over the years and it’s such a great facility. We’re lucky to have facilities like these to have these kinds of shows at, it’s great.”
$131,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Babalou 41 / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 82.270 / 0 | 35.500
2. Quality Girl / Todd Minikus / USA / 0 | 80.340 / 0 | 36.050
3. Armani SL Z / Eugenio Garza / MEX / 0 | 84.950 / 0 | 40.160
4. Chill R Z / Darragh Kerins / IRL / 0 | 84.440 / 0 | 41.130
5. Hunters Conlypso II / Lorcan Gallagher / IRL / 4 | 80.230
6. Tosca De L’esques / Fabio Leivas Da Costa / BRA / 4 | 81.120
7. Colorado 210 / Luis Biraben / ARG / 4 | 81.310
8. Carlchen W / Alex Granato / USA / 4 | 81.720
9. Cade / Abigail McArdle / USA / 4 | 81.930
10. Cetano Van Aspergem Z / Santiago Lambre / MEX / 4 | 82.300
11. Major / Aaron Vale / USA / 4 | 82.380
12. Casper / Sharn Wordley / NZL / 4 | 82.830
Stephanie Danhakl and Enough Said Steal the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion
The Amateur-Owner divisions wrapped up in the Stonelea Ring on Saturday with the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion being awarded to the rider who acquired the most points over the course of competition on Friday and Saturday. The divisions saw a high number of entries, but despite the tough competition, it was Stephanie Danhakl and Enough Said who captured the top award at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
Danhakl and Enough Said have been a team for five years and their experience showed during Friday and Saturday’s competition. The pair accumulated scores in the high eighties during Friday’s Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter division and they remained consistent in Saturday’s competition as well. During the first round of the division the pair were the only competitors to receive a score in the nineties, which put them in a good position to claim the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion title.
The Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion award is presented each year by Visse Wedell. Wedell has been a continuous great supporter of the Kentucky Horse Shows by sponsoring grand championship prizes in multiple divisions every year.
Hunter competition will continue in the Stonelea Ring on Sunday beginning at 7:45 a.m. with the Junior Hunters. The highlight of the day will be the USHJA National Hunter Derby and the USHJA International Hunter Derby immediately following.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Stephanie Danhakl – Amateur Owner Hunter Grand Champion
On Enough Said:
“I’ve had Enough Said for almost five years now. We just clicked right from the beginning. He really is the easiest horse in the world. He is such a sweetheart that really just loves his job. He always gives me 100%. He can sometimes get a little nervous in the schooling ring, but we have such a good relationship that I really know how to help him through it. When he goes in the ring though he is a total force to be reckoned with. Pretty much every time I’ve shown him he’s been champion. Overall he is just such a sweet horse.”
On winning Grand Hunter Champion at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show:
“We come to this show every year and it’s always one that I really look forward to, especially getting ready for Devon. The [Kentucky Horse Park] is such a beautiful venue and always really stiff competition with great horses and great riders so it’s a real honor for me to win Grand Hunter Champion at this horse show.”