The second week of CSI3* competition at the Kentucky Horse Park kicked off during the Kentucky Spring Classic with the $35,000 1.45m Welcome Speed in the Rolex Stadium where 36 horse-and-rider combinations raced ahead of the rain, contesting Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) 14-effort track. The speed class saw eleven clear rounds, but Andy Kocher (USA) was uncatchable as he raced to the victory aboard Christian Rogge of Top Line Sporthorse International, LLC’s Kahlua with over two seconds separating him at the top.
“My plan was ruined a little because my plane got delayed from all of this weather,” Kocher shared. “I didn’t get to my hotel until around two in the morning and I had to get up around 6. I think a lot of people were training today in the speed class, so I thought I’ll just let [Kahlua] go around and if she has a pole down that would still be good training, but I’ll give it a go. She knows what she’s doing and then I was thinking to myself that I was going to go for it and then if she had one down I was going to slow up and try to work on rideability, but she just never touched any poles so I just kept going.”
Kocher intends to jump the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood in Saturday’s $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, so his initial plan was to use Wednesday’s class as training, but with identical prize money to Thursday night’s $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* and a careful mare, Kocher decided to go for it and his last-minute decision paid off. He flew through the timers with a quick, clear round in 61.11 seconds to capture and maintain the lead.
“Kahlua is a cool horse because I’ve had her since June or July and I’ve been bringing her along. She has jumped some 5* grand prix classes now, she won a speed 1.45m at WEF and she was second in another one, so she’s really starting to come up,” Kocher shared.
“She kind of looks like a big, heavy, cold horse, but she’s not. She has lots of blood and she’s the kind of horse, the more you show her, the better she jumps.Kahlua is just really coming into her own. I think people will see that horse winning a lot of classes this year and the cool part about her is that she can win a speed class and come right back the next day and jump clear in a jump-off class. She’s got a good brain like that, she’s super focused.”
Mexico’s Santiago Lambre and his own 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Doloris, chased Kocher’s time, but fell short, finishing a clear round in 63.68 seconds to settle for second place. Alejandro Karolyi (VEN) and Lincourt Gino, the 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Monica Carrera, captured the third place prize with a clear time of 64.07 seconds.
Jumper action continues Thursday at the Kentucky Spring Classic with the $5,000 1.45m Open Jumper beginning at 8:00 a.m. in the Rolex Stadium, followed by the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix. Scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., the highlight event is the second of the seven-part Hagyard Challenge Series at the Kentucky Horse Park.
$35,000 1.45m Welcome Speed CSI3*
Place / Horse / Ride / Country / Faults | Time
1. Kahlua / Andrew Kocher / USA / 0 | 61.11
2. Doloris / Santiago Lambre / MEX / 0 | 63.68
3. Lincourt Gino / Alejandro Karolyi / VEN / 0 | 64.07
4. Indigo / Margie Engle / USA / 0 | 64.36
5. Zantos II / Andrew Kocher / USA / 0 | 64.47
6. Caillou / Luis Biraben / ARG / 0 | 64.62
7. Silteplait De Circee / Darragh Kerins / IRL / 0 | 66.55
8. Quirie 2 / Ali Wolff / USA / 0 | 66.62
9. Balou Du Reventon / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 68.16
10. Barnetta / Sharn Wordley / NZL / 0 | 68.52
11. MTF Saint Simeon / Sloane Coles / USA / 0 | 69.91
12. Pappa Ante Portas 2 / Eugenio Garza / MEX / 1 | 81.53