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.
“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,” said Minikus. “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.”
Minikus has been thrilled with the atmosphere at the Kentucky Horse Park so far. “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.”
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.
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