Lexington, KY – May 20, 2012 – Kent Farrington concluded the Kentucky Spring Classic on a great note, claiming first and second during this morning’s $20,000 Bluegrass Classic aboard Venus and Voyeur, respectively. With a baker’s dozen in the jump-off, Farrington completed the fastest two double-clear efforts with the talented mounts. Young rider Michael Murphy earned the third place award with his fault-free short course, following right on Farrington’s heels with Audi’s Allouette Van Het Lambroeck.
For today’s first round, Olaf Petersen Jr. created a track that included a triple bar, an oxer-vertical double combination, an oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination, and finished with an open water option. Thirteen of the 35 entries were able traverse the opening track without fault and advance to the jump-off, which began over the triple bar and winded through the Rolex Stadium to the double combination, and finished over a wide oxer at the far side of the ring.
Kent Farrington was the pathfinder during the first round with Voyeur, owned by Amalaya Investments of The Woodlands, TX, and as the first to return for the jump-off he set a pace that only he could catch. The pair left each rail in place and crossed the finish line in 40.042 seconds. Michael Murphy of Wellington, FL, was next in the ring with Audi’s Allouette Van Het Lambroeck, and they made an excellent effort to catch Farrington, knowing a number of fast riders would be following. They tripped the timers in 40.100 seconds, less than a 1/10th of a second behind Farrington, and eventually finished in third with no faults to their name.
The only other horse and rider combination to complete a double-clear effort was Alison Robitaille with Cover Girl, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone of Upperville, VA, who were also very quick across the ground but just short of the leaders in 40.573 seconds, which resulted in the fourth place honors.
Farrington completed the last clear short course riding his second mount Venus, owned by Raylyn Farm of Frederick, MD, and he was just barely able to best his first time breaking the beam in 40.030 seconds, just 1/100th of a second ahead of Voyeur. His wonderful effort over the track with Venus jumped to the top of the leader board, and they took home the winning title.
In an effort to catch the original leading time that Farrington posted with Voyeur, a number of riders added faults to their score. The last to go in the jump-off was Ashlee Bond riding Wistful, owned by Little Valley Farms of Hidden Hills, CA, and they were the only pair to clock in with a better time of 39.777 seconds, but a rail at the vertical moved them into fifth with four faults. Pan American Individual Gold medalist Christine McCrea of East Windsor, CT, was not able to back off Avenir’s gallop to the double combination, causing A to come down in 40.995 seconds to round out the top six.
“I hadn’t won anything big at this show yet, I was getting worried I was running out of time, but I saved it until the last minute,” laughed Farrington after his one-two finish during today’s Classic. “I just started riding Venus at this show, but he’s a great jumper, careful, fast, my type of show jumper. I really don’t know her that well, so for the jump-off I figured we’d just start out a little quick and see where it goes, see how she handles it. She handled it nicely, so we stayed on track.”
Farrington added, “I did basically the same track with both horses. I took a real shot at the last fence with Venus, and she really had to try hard. With Voyeur I was just trying to do a neat track, but not call on him too much, just work on him still riding nice, which is where I might have lost some time.”
Venus is trained by Benjamin Meredith at Raylyn Farm, and was originally purchased by his wife Meredith, who has now turned her focus to eventing. “We’ve had Venus since the end of last year,” explained Meredith. “We brought him up with Lauren Hough riding him at WEF. Then Lauren went to Europe, so I asked Kent to ride him here and it has turned out pretty good. Venus hasn’t had a rail in two weeks!”
Meredith continued, “Venus is ultra careful, extremely brave, and the back rail isn’t a problem. The only thing you have to take note on is her balance. When you control the balance you win. I ride her at home, but she’s not quite my type of ride. Kent handles him really well, and she will definitely go to Europe with him later this summer.”
Second place finisher Voyeur is the mount that Farrington has been partnered with since the beginning of the year, and they are continuing to improve as they prepare to compete at Spruce Meadows next month. “I’ve been playing around with Voyeur’s bridle, and unfortunately I put a bridle on him that he did not like last night,” noted Farrington. “I was trying to get him more rideable and he didn’t like that, so we had two down yesterday, which wasn’t very good. I thought I’d try something else and go today, and obviously he liked this better.”
The Kentucky Spring Horse Shows are always a stop for Farrington, and he once again notched a victory at the prestigious competition. He stated, “The footing is very good at the Kentucky Horse Park, they have a great facility and nice jumps, so you always come for that.”
Later in the day, the $10,000 High Junior Jumper Classic was held in the Rolex Stadium. Continuing her winning ways, last week’s champion and classic winner Abigail McArdle of St. Charles, IL, piloted Cosma 20 to the lone clear effort, earning another victory, the championship honors, and the $1,000 SSG Riding Gloves Bonus as part of the ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion.
“Today’s course was big and technical, but I am super happy with the way Cosma 20 went,” expressed McArdle. “She’s been so consistent here, winning three classes, so it’s a great feeling.”
Today marked the conclusion of the Kentucky Spring Classic, in July competition will continue at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Kentucky Summer Series. Throughout July and August, riders will have the opportunity to compete in top-notch hunter/jumper events, and also try to earn valuable points towards the $50,000 Hagyard Challenge Series’ Leading Rider Bonus, and the $15,000 Leading Rider Bonuses available during the Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby Series.