Lexington, Kentucky, USA – May 20, 2018 – The final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic concluded jumper competition in the Rolex Stadium with the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, to close out the spring horse show series. Course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) tested 31 athletes across his 16-efforts track, but Ireland’s Kevin Babington (IRL) was the only double-clear pathfinder with Mark Q to claim his second consecutive National Grand Prix victory of the series.
The technical track only saw four clear rounds consisting of just three different riders as Babington directed two mounts to the jump-off. Babington first entered the second round aboard his own Double O Seven 7, but with one rail the pair ended on four faults in a time of 43.260 seconds, to be overtaken and they finished in fourth place.
Alex Granato (USA)
Next in the ring, Alex Granato (USA) and Moyer Farm LLC’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Beorn, followed to better their time in 41.221 seconds, but with one rail down they still left room for improvement. The duo once again claimed the third place prize, repeating their finish in last week’s $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix.
Todd Minikus (USA) & Amex Z
Todd Minikus (USA) returned next aboard Amex Z, the 9-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by the Bit By Bit Group, to fly to the speediest time of 39.168 seconds, but also misplaced one unfortunate rail and the 4 fault total placed the pair into the second position.
The last to enter the jump-off round, Babington knew all he needed was a clear, conservative round aboard Mark Q and the duo delivered as the only horse-and-rider combination to produce the long-awaited double-clear effort in a time of 47.272 seconds. He and the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding claimed the win to repeat Babington’s victory in last week’s $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix with Super Chilled.
From the Winner’s Circle
Kevin Babington – $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix winner
On this weeks plan:
“I wasn’t planning on showing [Mark Q] this week, but my groom pointed out that he would be too fresh for Devon, so I should do him in the class. He’ll have next week off and then he’ll go to Devon. He didn’t do a lot when we were in Wellington, so he needs to get back up and running. He hadn’t jumped a jump since last week. He ended up being great today.”
On Sunday’s plan:
“I was glad that I got to see Sharn [Wordley] go first today because I thought he was quite timely, but he had a time fault. I was planning on doing nine [strides] from fence three to four, but think I ended up doing eight for time allowed. I also left a couple of strides out in certain places just for time and I probably wouldn’t have done that if I had gone early. In the jump-off on Double O Seven 7 I knew that both Alex [Granato] and Todd [Minikus] would be really fast so I wanted to do nine strides down the first line and I lost my footing a little bit on the first rollback and he laid on his shoulder. When I went again with Mark Q I knew that all I had to do was jump a clean round, which sometimes I don’t like, I’d almost rather chase. It was actually a really nice course to go jump a clean round on though.”
On Mark Q:
“He’s 16 years old now so I use him sparingly. But he’s a good old soul. He is heading to Devon next, which he has won twice, so we’re going to try one more time.”
$35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington
Place / Rider (Country) & Horse – R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Kevin Babington (IRL) & Mark Q – 0 | 73.636 / 0 | 47.272
2. Todd Minikus (USA) & Amex Z – 0 | 72.294 / 4 | 39.168
3. Alex Granato (USA) & Beorn – 0 | 74.973 / 4 | 41.221
4. Kevin Babington (IRL) & Double O Seven 7 – 0 | 75.069 / 4 | 43.260
5. Thomas Cerra (USA) & McGregor – 1 | 76.670
6. Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Casper – 1 | 76.991
7. Fabio Leivas da Costa (BRA) & Kalisto The Music – 3 | 78.841
8. Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Barnetta – 4 | 71.386
9. Aaron Vale (USA) & Stakko – 4 | 73.823
10. Eugenio Garza (MEX) & Pappa Ante Portas 2 – 4 | 74.593
11. Karl Cook (USA) & Caillou 24 – 5 | 76.644
12. Scott Keach (AUS) & Vitel Sourdin – 6 | 77.252
Source: Press Release by Rebecca Walton / Phelps Media Group for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Phelps Media Group / Barre Dukes