Hagyard Challenge Series Concludes: Kent Farrington Wins $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus for Second Consecutive Year
RELEASE: October 8, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jenny Ross
It was another successful Hagyard Challenge Series at the Kentucky National Horse Show in Lexington. Kent Farrington and his mount Up Chiqui mastered the $50,000 Hagyard Equine Medical Institute CSI-W Lexington Grand Prix on Friday, September 26, 2008, and added another victory to their impressive list of wins. Taking home the blue ribbon skyrocketed Farrington to the top of the Hagyard Challenge Series standings, securing him the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus for the second year in a row.
The 2008 Hagyard Challenge Series is a summer-long series of seven show jumping events at the Kentucky Horse Park. Featuring $215,000 in prize money, the series has attracted the very best grand prix horses and riders in the country. Going into the final event on Friday, a total of seven riders had a mathematical chance of winning the Hagyard Challenge Series' Leading Rider Bonus. These competitors included Margie Engle, Debbie Stephens, Danielle Torano, Christine McCrea, Kent Farrington, Michael Morrissey, and Alison Robitaille.
"Of these riders, five qualified for the jump-off," explained Hugh Kincannon, manager of the event and Kentucky Horse Shows LLC. Torano, Farrington, McCrea, Engle and Robitaille all jumped without penalty in the first round. "They all had a very real chance of winning the series," he said. "It was quite exciting."
"Danielle [Torano] went first and had four faults," he reported. "Kent [Farrington] was next and went clear. Christine was clear, but had a slower time than Kent. Margie went in on the last horse in the jump-off. If she went clean, she would have won the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus; she had to finish at least third in the prix to win it. Margie had three rails in the jump-off, giving the series win to Kent for the second year in a row. It was a very good class."
History repeats itself for Farrington, who won the same grand prix last year on Up Chiqui and captured the series' $30,000 Leading Rider Bonus. Up Chiqui is owned by Boone, Bass and McNerny. "It felt great to win the Leading Rider Bonus again," smiled Farrington. "The bonus money is always great, and winning a class like that two years in a row is exciting. The Boone family owns Up Chiqui, and I stay at their house when I do that show. So, it's kind of like winning at home."
With Engle going last in the class, the lead could have quickly changed hands; Farrington described how it felt to watch Engle compete in the jump-off. "It's always nerve wrecking," he revealed. "Margie is always such a competitor; she is a threat on anything that she rides. She is always going to try to win, and you are always nervous until it is over. I try to learn from everyone," he noted. "There are so many top riders surrounding you at all times. I think you need to slow down, open your eyes and watch because there is so much that can be learned."
After competing in the Hagyard Challenge Series and winning the Leading Rider Bonus for the second consecutive year, Farrington speaks highly of the series. "That kind of support at shows, especially from a local company, is a great thing. I definitely have plans to do it again next year!" He added, "In addition to the series, I love showing at the Kentucky Horse Park. I think even more so than before, with all of the changes they are making in the facility. The new footing outside is excellent. With the new stadium and new indoor ring they are building, it is only going to get better. I think, in this country, we are trying to define first-class show facilities, and I think that is what Kentucky is turning itself into."
After an exciting year of show jumping, Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC, will continue to dedicate its time to producing premiere equestrian events at the Kentucky Horse Park. In addition, they are helping to prepare the venue for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Kincannon concluded, "I would like to thank CEO Andy Clark and a