Lexington, Kentucky, USA. – Aug. 17, 2018 – The first of two grand prix classes of the week at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show brought a lofty field of 50 entrants to the Rolex Stadium on Thursday, each pair hoping to lead the victory gallop as the quickest double clear of the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix. As the fifth jewel of seven in the Hagyard Challenge Series, the evening class offered competitors a chance to not only earn a share of the day’s prize money, but also to accrue points toward the season-ending $50,000 Leading Rider Award. On a recent hot streak, Jimmy Torano maneuvered Glasgow de Muze to the fastest of only two double clear rides of the evening, nabbing the tricolor as well as the largest share of the purse.
The $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix kicked off on a high note as three of the initial seven pairs in the order-of-go navigated their mounts to clean and clear first trips over designer Ken Krome’s 16-effort track to instigate a jump-off. Owner-rider Liza Finsness (USA) with Shiver, Alex Granato (USA) with the reins on Josh Dolan’s Honeycomb Van De Heffinck and Jimmy Torano (USA) in the irons aboard Ilan Ferder’s Glasgow de Muze each started strong, but a steady stream of dropped rails and time faults followed from their peers. The final oxer of the course, fence 12b, proved to be the bogey fence of the night, and a number of competitors fell victim to the tight 74-second time allowed. It was more than halfway through the class when Carlos Milthaler (CHI) and his own Con Top took to the ring, finally breaking the streak to add another contender to the tie-breaker round. Rodrigo Carrasco (CHI) aboard his own Acapulco FZ soon followed suit as the final duo of five to secure a slot over the short course.
Of the ten nations that were initially represented by the collection of exhibitors, only athletes from the United States and Chile made it past the first phase. The already small field of jump-off qualifiers grew even smaller before the first horse entered the ring, as Chile’s Milthaler elected not to partake in the final round of competition aboard Con Top. The three Americans were first to ride, with Finsness and Shiver commencing the jump-off. The partners made quick work of the abridged course and tripped the timers in a speedy 44.371 seconds, but unfortunately clipped the first rail to accrue 4 faults against them. Granato and Honeycomb Van de Heffinck fared no better, but Torano and Glasgow De Muze improved upon their countrymen’s performances with the first double clear ride of the evening, breaking the beam in 43.882 seconds and leaving the course intact.
Rodrigo Carrasco (CHI) & Acapulco FZ
Last to ride, Carrasco had the advantage of watching his competitors tackle the track before him, and the knowledge nearly won him the class, but the Chilean and his horse crossed the finish line in 43.900 seconds, just hundredths of a second slower than Torano and Glasgow De Muze.
Liza Finsness (USA) & Shiver
In the end, the winning pair edged out Carrasco and Acapulco FZ, followed by Finsness and Shiver in third place. Granato and Honeycomb Van de Heffinck clinched fourth position overall, while Milthaler and Con Top rounded out the top five.
Though Glasgow De Muze is a relatively new ride for Torano, the new partnership is clearly flourishing as the two have championed multiple grand prix and high-stakes classes in the last few months together, most recently at Lake Placid, the Kentucky Horse Park and the Tryon International Equestrian Center. As the lead pair in the victory gallop once again, the two have added another accolade to their growing list.
With Torano’s win, he adds himself to the fourth spot in the Hagyard Challenge Series standings, tied with Andy Kocher and Chris Ewanouski, each with 250 points apiece. Lorcan Gallagher still leads the rankings with 550 points, trailed by Darragh Kenny, who boasts 470 points, in second place. Thanks to Granato’s fourth place finish for the evening, he is closing in on Kenny’s status, just 10 points behind with a total 460 for the series thus far. The evening’s third place finisher, Finsness added 120 points to her tally to jump from 21st place to a tie for eighth position with two events still to take place in the coming weeks.
Jumper competition at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will continue through Sunday, with the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix sponsored by Audi of Lexington bringing elite show jumping competitors to the Rolex Stadium once again for their shot at the top prize.
From the Winer’s Circle
Jimmy Torano – $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix champion
On Glasgow de Muze:
“This horse has been terrific all summer. He is a brand new mount for me, as I’ve only had him a couple of months. A good friend of mine, Ilan Ferder, owns him and he called me and said he has a great horse for me to show. I won the first grand prix that I showed him in, and he has just been dynamite. This has been the fifth grand prix that I’ve won on him in the last two months. The horse is a real trier and he is really careful. He has proven week after week that he is a winner. He’s all business when he goes in the ring. He has won in every venue: Tyron, Lake Placid, Kentucky. He really doesn’t seem to mind the venue or its surroundings, he is very consistent.”
On Friday’s round:
“When I walked the course for the first round I thought that [Ken Krome] did a nice job. This Hagyard class has been pretty difficult and I think Ken did a really good job tonight. He got a good number into the jump-off and there were no disasters. When I walked my course I pretty much stuck to my plan. In the jump-off, I have to admit that I was in a real bind. The first horse that went had a rail down and the next was eliminated. I was third to go with one behind me, so I wasn’t sure if I should ride for the slow clear or go for it. I decided that I couldn’t go for the slow clear, so I went medium-fast and it paid off.”
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“Kentucky has been great to me this summer. I went great in the [International Hunter Derby] today and I won a grand prix here a few weeks ago. This venue is the best in the country. The footing is phenomenal. The maintenance and the entire management here, Hugh Kincannon, Robbie Murphy, Renie Murphy and just everyone involved is great. They go all out. This place is top-notch. My kid was at Pony Finals last week and it was one of the best events we’ve ever been to. I think that every horse show should take a page out of their book. It’s as good as it gets here.”
Results – $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / JO Faults / Time
1. Jimmy Torano (USA) & Glasgow de Muze – 0 / 0 / 43.882
2. Rodrigo Carrasco (CHI) & Acapulco FZ – 0 / 0 / 43.900
3. Liza Finsness (USA) & Shiver – 0 / 4 / 44.371
4. Alex Granato (USA) & Honeycomb van de Heffinck – 0 / EL
5. Carlos Milthaler (CHI) & Con Top – 0 / WD
6. Nicolas Imschenetzky (CHI) & Jeckle – 1 / 74.930
7. Pablo Barrios (VEN) & Le Vio – 4 / 71.076
8. Hardin Towell (USA) & Carlo Jack / Hardin Towell – 4 / 71.560
9. Kelly Arani (USA) & Esprit – 4 / 71.804
10. Kady Abrahamson (USA) & Boudika Ideal Home – 4 / 71.971
Source: Press Release by Elaine Wessel / Phelps Sports for Kentucky Horse Park
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Callie Clement