Upset for Upchiqui in the $65,000 Budweiser Prix de Penn National
RELEASE: November 1, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Heidi Hill
Photo by Randi Muster (Kent Farrington and Upchique )
Riding early in the competition can be a disadvantage. Not for 26-year-old Kent Farrington on Upchiqui who won the $65,000 Budweiser Prix de Penn National going away. Eleven horses qualified for the jump-off from a field of 32. Farrington decided he wasn’t going to back off.
Full galloping the length of the arena from a high spread, he turned, taking another oxer of nearly 5’ at a surgically slim angle, wheeling around at the ring’s end to hurtle over a vertical and open gallop back down the ring to launch over the last oxer. It electrified the crowd. He stopped the clock at 37.24 seconds. Now the wait started, nine others were aiming at his time.
“McLain Ward with Larioso is always fast. So is Beezie Madden especially on Authentic, so I didn’t think my time would hold,” he said, “but Alex Warner and I decided to take a shot. If I took a rail down, then I took a rail, but at least I was going for it.”
Madden dropped a rail and became the fastest for the four-faulters. Ward riding last was definitely in the hunt. Charging round the ring, executing near pirouettes to cut corners, he opened up between the final two fences. Larioso’s ears were pinned and the crowd was cheering when Ward checked a couple of strides out from the fence. Whether he did it because he wanted Larioso’s full attention or if he saw the distance as slightly off, the price was steep. Larioso cleared the final jump, but the clock stopped at 38.17, 9/10ths of a second slower than Upchiqui.
The Guillerme Jorge’s course sorted the field clearly, despite the number of clean first rounds. Seven contestants retired before finishing the course. The middle vertical of the triple combination was lowered by an inch or so, which made a difference, according to Farrington.
“My horse is full of energy. He has a big heart and seems willing to jump as bigger and bigger fences. I have a great team behind me: my owners, Boone/Dobbs/McNerney/Bass as well as Alex Warner. It was just awesome. Another night it might have gone the other way, but not tonight.”
Farrington moves on to Syracuse with the Prix de Penn National, a World Cup Qualifier under his belt.
Pavarotti Sings in Open Jumper Speed Final
Pavarotti out shone an illustrious field to win the $25,000 NAL Open Jumper Speed Finals at the 62nd PA National Horse Show. Seventh on course, Todd Minikus had the advantage of watching other riders, and he used it. He and Pavarotti turned in the second clean round a whopping seven seconds faster than Overlook Farms’ Carnivale.
“I really didn’t think my time would hold,” said Minikus afterwards. “I really thought it might get us third or fourth. The course was good; for raw speed, it wasn’t big, but you had to extend your horse and bring them back several times and that takes a toll on the horses and riders. I actually didn’t think we executed some of the rollbacks very well.”
The Guilherme Jorge’s course featured an opening jump with a not-too-sharp left turn followed a strong left bend and a hairpin right to the fourth fence, a combination. Out of the combination was a gallop, bending left again to a vertical and left-hand hairpin to a narrow jump. Horses galloped on to the right for combination a of 4’9” high by 4’7” wide oxer and 4’9” vertical less than a stride away. Several horses made turns but arrived in front of the fences unprepared to jump, and so they didn’t. A refusal adds time to the score but two eliminate the rider.
Pavarotti handled it quite well enough considering the night before, he lost by a single stride to finish second. It was clearly satisfying, to Minikus, to come back on top. Pavarotti, a chestnut gelding is called “Super Runt,” because he is diminutive, a bit more than 15 hands. “But,” said Minikus, “he doesn’t notice. He knows he’s special. I’ve had him about a year and he did we