Lexington, Ky. – May 9, 2018 – The first day of competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show kicked off in exciting fashion at the Kentucky Horse Park where the Rolex Stadium highlighted the $35,000 Welcome Speed 1.45m CSI3* with 27 entries contesting Alan Wade’s (IRL) 15-effort track resulting in 11 clear rounds. Racing to an impressive and unbeatable clear round, Todd Minikus (USA) and the Quality Group’s Quality Girl claimed the lead by over three seconds with a time of 65.24 seconds to earn the victory.
With an extensive list of accolades to her name including the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties in 2014, the Elm Rock Farm Trophy at the inaugural Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach in 2015 and a clean sweep with three FEI victories at the Kentucky Spring Classic in 2016, Quality Girl is a proven winner. After nearly a year off, Minikus took his time bringing the 15-year-old Oldenburg mare back to the show ring and it paid off.
Second place was awarded to Samuel Parot (CHI) and his own 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Couscous Van Orti, with a clear round and a time of 68.85 seconds. Hot on Parot’s heels in 69.22 seconds was Kevin Babington (IRL) and his own Mark Q, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.
Jumper competition will continue in the Rolex Stadium on Thursday with the Open Jumper 1.35m at 8 a.m. and the day will highlight the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* beginning at 5:30 p.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Todd Minikus – $35,000 Welcome Speed 1.45m CSI3* winner
On Quality Girl:
“Quality Girl has been off for quite a while and she’s just come back and since she’s come back off close to a year layoff she’s been just awesome. Today was the kind of course where I could just let her gallop and if she’s on her game there’s probably not too many horses that are going to catch her. She’s won so much in her career, she’s just a good horse.”
On his round:
“I was pretty confident once I got on the pace just allowing her to stay on it and everything just came up nice off of that one rhythm. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
On the Kentucky Spring Horse Show:
“This is the horse capital of the world and I’ve been horse crazy since I’ve been a little kid, so just driving around here – life couldn’t be better.”
$35,000 Welcome Speed 1.45m CSI3*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Faults | Time
1. Quality Girl / Todd Minikus / USA / 0 | 65.24
2. Couscous Van Orti / Samuel Parot / CHI / 0 | 68.85
3. Mark Q / Kevin Babington / IRL / 0 | 69.22
4. Basimodo / Eric Navet / FRA / 0 | 70.30
5. Volage Du Val Henry / Jessica Springsteen / USA / 0 | 71.36
6. Finou 4 / Aaron Vale / USA / 0 | 71.92
7. Major / Aaron Vale / USA / 0 | 72.77
8. Caillou / Luis Biraben / ARG / 0 | 72.87
9. Super Chilled / Kevin Babington / IRL / 0 | 73.52
10. Thriller P / Samuel Parot / CHI / 0 | 73.90
11. Concept / Jack Hardin Towell / USA / 0 | 78.92
12. Button Sitte / Richie Moloney / IRL / 2 | 88.03
Scott Stewart Shines With Playbook in the Green Hunter Incentive Program
Earlier in the day, the Green Hunter Incentive Program took place in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park. Twenty-one horse and rider combinations competed in the 3’6’’ and 3’9’’ sections of the Green Hunters for top honors and it was Scott Stewart and Fashion Farm’s Playbook that executed a flawless round at the 3’6’’ fence height. Second place was claimed by another veteran hunter rider, Kelley Farmer and Exceptional, owned by Todd Minikus. Havens Schatt and Diatendro captured third place in the class.
Stewart is coming off of a successful season at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Fla. with consistent champion titles in the High Performance Hunters and the Green Conformation Hunters. Stewart has also had great success in the Green Incentive Program, having won the championship title three times, most recently in 2017 with Playbook.
The Green Hunter Incentive Program was created by the USHJA in the hopes of increasing participation at the Green level. This year, the program introduced the option for athletes to compete at the 3’6’’ and 3’9’’ height in order to attract even more entries. At the end of the year, the top placing horse and rider combinations will be invited to return to the Kentucky Horse Park to compete at the the Green Hunter Incentive Championships in August at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, which will include four fence height options upon adding the 3’6” and 3’9” to the existing 3’ and 3’3” fence heights.
Hunter competition will resume in the Stonelea Ring with the Green Hunter 3’6” at 8:00 a.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Scott Stewart – Green Hunter Incentive Program 3’6”/3’9” winner
“He is really laid back and easy and just such a beautiful horse. He hasn’t shown since Week 10 of the [Winter Equestrian Festival] in Florida, so this is his first time back in the ring. He felt really good today. We’re going to show him the rest of this week and then we are going to take him to Devon. We are definitely also planning on going back to the [Green Hunter Incentive Championship].”
On being at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show:
“It’s great to be back in Kentucky. It’s really nice here. This venue at the [Kentucky Horse Park] is just so nice; it’s nice to have the field here to ride in and just to be out in the country.”
Green Hunter Incentive Program 3’6”/3’9”
Place / Horse / Rider
1. Playbook / Scott Stewart
2. Exceptional / Kelley Farmer
3. Diatendro / Havens Schatt
4. Ovo / Christopher Payne
5. Arturo / Jeff Gogul
6. Perhaps / Tim Goguen
7. Cordolensky / Scott Stewart
8. Just A Cobbler / Tim Goguen
9. Status / Scott Stewart
10. Just Ask / Jeff Gogul
11. Shameless / Kelley Farmer
12. Sports Page / Scott Stewart
For more information about the Kentucky Horse Shows, please click here.