Kent Farrington Wins the $75,000 Fidelity Investments AGA Grand Prix Two Years in a Row
RELEASE: September 13, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Anne Wargo
Kent Farrington may have had a different horse in the $75,000 Fidelity Investments AGA Grand Prix this year but he still had the same magic touch conquering world renowned course designer Richard Jeffery's challenging course.
A field of 30 riders entered the grand prix with seven riders advancing to the jump-off. The Ultimate Resort skinny jump with a roll back to the Fidelity Investments triple combination proved the most challenging elements of the course coming down consistently throughout the day.
The lead for the grand prix would change hands several times during the jump-off leaving over the 10,000 spectators in attendance on the edge of their seats in anticipation. As threatening weather rolled in upon the field, riders were forced to step up their strategy with their equine partners. First, Christine McCrea aboard Promised Land set the tone and jumped clear. Their time would not be in first long as Peter Wylde and Esplanade quickly moved into the top spot.
Wylde's time would change hands in seconds when Mac Cone and Melinda had a clean and fast go around. Riders tried to catch Cone unsuccessfully until Farrington and Up Chiqui entered the ring. Farrington had a focused game face on and Up Chiqui returned with a spring in his step and several feisty swishes of the tail making it apparent that they both meant business. The pair raced to the finish line and were never caught again, leading them directly to the Adequan Winner's Circle for the second year in a row.
In 2006, Farrington won the Fidelity Investments Grand Prix aboard his American Grand Prix Association (AGA) Horse of the Year Madison. He also won the $7,500 Mohegan Sun Speed Stake aboard Woica that year. Up Chiqui is currently second in the AGA standings behind McLain Ward and Sapphire.
Farrington has been riding Up Chiqui, a 10-year-old chestnut BWP Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Alex Boone for the past year. "He's a top horse, and he's had a spectacular year," said Farrington. "This is his first year doing the grand prix, and he has won at least eight already, which is pretty amazing. It feels great to add another one to that list with the quality of horses and riders that competed today," he added.
Farrington and Up Chiqui have been a great team this year, posting several wins, including the $100,000 Upperville Jumper Classic and the $50,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix.Olympian Peter Wylde Gallops Into The Winner's Circle
Sixty-plus horses showed up to the post for the Turnabout Farm Welcome Stake with 16 qualifying for the jump-off. Schuyler Riley set the pace early with a clear round on Lapacco. Next 18-year-old Nick Dello Joio challenged the time and set the pace with gusto to take the lead. Leslie Howard, known for her lightning fast jump-offs, put the pedal to the medal to challenge the time but was just seconds shy of taking the lead, as was Chris Kappler aboard Via Veneto, also clear but missing the timer.
Dello Joio's time would hold up for several more challengers until Olympic Gold medalist Peter Wylde rode Esplanade aggressively through several hairpin turns shaving mere seconds of the clock and capturing the lead. Mac Cone on his consistent mare Melinda would give it a shot and slide into the second spot pushing Leslie Howard's second entry into the third slot.
"The horse is incredible; she is very careful and very fast," said Wlyde. "I know her here well, and I can really trust her, which allows me to be able to make those riskier turns. That is a quality that I look for in a top-level horse, and I have very high hopes for her and know that she can do some great things," he added.
New England's premier equestrian event will continue again next year at the 2008 Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic. For more information, please visit www.jumperclassic.com