Kentucky Spring Horse Show Wrap-Up, May 5-10
RELEASE: May 12, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Mason Phelps
It was a beautiful, sunny day at the Kentucky Horse Park for Henri Kovacs' first grand prix victory gallop aboard Sassicaia II following the $55,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. The pair was faster than five other horse-and-rider combinations during Sunday's 10-horse jump-off in the main outdoor stadium. Rebecca Johanson Hofmann riding Corona, and Mario Deslauriers aboard Vicomte D both attempted to catch Kovacs' time, but were unable to do so and followed with second- and third-place honors during the class. Richard Jeffery designed Sunday's course, which featured 13 fences and 16 jumping efforts.
Kovacs and Sassicaia II, owned by Plain Bay Farm of Middleburg, VA, entered the ring to compete in the jump-off, picking up a gallop and soared over the first jump with ease. As they continued over the course their pace picked up and the crowd began to hold their breath as they left each jump standing. Kovacs and Sassicaia II raced through the finish line in a blistering 38.84 seconds to take over the lead and win the class.
Rebecca Johanson Hofmann competed next over the short course aboard Corona, owned by Blue Hill Farm of Salt Lake City, UT. The duo came very close to taking over Kovacs' lead as they raced through the turns while still leaving every rail in its cups. Hofmann and Corona tripped the timers in 39.27 seconds, a fraction slower than Kovacs', to earn to the second-place ribbon.
Next in the ring was Mario Deslauriers riding the always fast Vicomte D, owned by Jane F. Clark of New York, NY. They also posted a fault-free effort and crossed the finish line in 39.68 seconds after losing time to the last oxer and taking over the third-place position. The final horse-and-rider combination to compete during the jump-off was Michael Morrissey and Crelido, owned by Eugene Mische of Bradenton, FL. They also left all the fences standing, but their time of 39.91 seconds would not be fast enough to slip past the leaders, earning them the fourth-place honors and securing Kovacs victory.
"This is my first grand prix win. I can't explain how happy I feel," smiled Kovacs after leading the victory gallop. "I want to dedicate it to my grandfather, Sylvester Kovacs, whom I lost a few months ago; this is for him."
Sunday marked the final day of competition for the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, but next week the Kentucky Spring Classic will get under way beginning Wednesday, May 13. The Kentucky Spring Classic will feature the $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic on May 14, the second class in the Hagyard Challenge Series, which includes a $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus. The $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI**, sponsored by Air 51 and Audi of Lexington, will be held on Sunday, May 17. Jumper Highlights
Beezie Madden would not be stopped by rain during the opening of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show on Wednesday. The Olympic Gold medalist was victorious in two classes in the new outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. First, Madden competed with Prima in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper class and had a wire-to-wire victory. She then went on to ride in the $5,000 1.45m Open Jumper class where she was the last entry with Exclusive, who had the fastest double-clear round.
The 1.40m Open Jumper class was the first to compete in the new outdoor stadium, with Madden and Prima, owned by Neapoliton Holding of Naples, FL, at the top of the order. The pair would post a time that was unmatchable, slipping through the timers in 60.11 seconds, and leaving all the rails in their cups. Mario Deslauriers and Tigger, owned by Jane Clark of New York, NY, were the next duo to complete a clear round, but their time of 62.507 would fall just short of Madden and Prima, earning them the second-place position.
After her win with Prima in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper class Madden, of Cazenovia, NY, moved on to compete in the 1.45m Open Jumpe