Wellington, Fla. — Jan. 11, 2019 — Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and his mount, Billy Dorito, bested a field of 68 entries to win the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge by a margin of more than three seconds on Friday, January 11, during the first week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
WEF continues with 12 consecutive weeks of world-class competition through March 31, 2019. The first week of competition at WEF is sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center and features the crowd favorite $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, during “Saturday Night Lights” on January 12 at 7 p.m. in the International Arena.
In Friday’s featured $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge, Kenny and Billy Dorito were the seventh entry to contest the Eric Hasbrouck-designed track, stopping the clock in a quick and clear 71.221 seconds. While 21 entries would jump clear throughout the class, none would catch the early time to beat set by Kenny and the nine-year-old bay Anglo European Studbook gelding (Billy Mexico x Vechta) owned by Vlock Show Stables LLC.
Coming the closest and ultimately taking second with a time of 74.482 seconds were James Chawke – also of Ireland – and Valentino D’Elte, a 10-year-old Selle Français gelding owned by Vanessa Mannix. Proving to be quick across the board, Kenny also finished in third with a time of 74.691 seconds aboard Kavalli di Magico, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Clear Ride LLC.
“I actually didn’t think I was going to be that fast!” said Kenny of his round with Billy Dorito. “He’s just a very quick horse. He’s very careful, so you can keep him going at the jumps very fast. The course suited very well to him. Eric does a great job with the courses here; he’s done a great job all week. I just started in a quick rhythm and then kept going, and the horse jumped super.”
Kenny has had the ride on Billy Dorito since the gelding was seven and has been bringing the horse along for young amateur competitor Teddy Vlock.
“I’ll probably ride him for another year, and then Teddy will ride him himself,” said Kenny of the gelding that he hopes to aim at 1.45m and 1.50m classes throughout the 12-week WEF circuit. “I think it’s a really talented horse. He’s really scopey, really careful, and really competitive. I think he should just get better and better as the circuit goes on.”
With an initial 2019 WEF victory under his belt, Kenny is looking forward to continuing a strong season – and to being in Wellington for the duration.
“I’m happy to be here in one place for a long period of time,” concluded Kenny. “I have a house here; we have a farm here, so it’s very nice. It’s easy to be here in one place. All of my clients are here; all of the sales horses are here, so we’re busy with that. WEF does a good job. The big jumping is very good as well as the management and everything else, so it’s enjoyable to be here.”
$6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Faults | Time
1. Billy Dorito / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 71.221
2. Valentino D’elte / James Chawke / IRL / 0 | 74.482
3. Kavalli Di Magico / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 74.691
4. Walnut / Juan Pablo Betancourt / COL / 0 | 74.765
5. Aletta / Maria Brugal / DOM / 0 | 74.839
6. Calumpi / Alberto Michan / ISR / 0 | 75.321
7. Tyrol D’anto / Alexa Lowe / USA / 0 | 75.508
8. HH Venice Beach / Ali Wolff / USA / 0 | 76.085
9. Innovation / Paige Johnson / USA / 0 | 76.209
10. Chablise / Beezie Madden / USA / 0 | 76.905
11. Fair Play / Aiden Killeen / IRL / 0 | 77.899
12. Un Soir De Sion / Rebecca Conway / USA / 0 | 78.119